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The city of Mentor, Ohio in Lake County was settled in 1797. At that time, Charles Parker, a surveyor with the Connecticut Land Company, built himself a log cabin on the marsh paving there in the Western Reserve Territory. In 1811, Parker moved to Milan, Ohio, where he settled that town, but his younger brother Clark Parker, would be a lifelong resident there. He and his wife, Margaret Jordan, whose family settled Concord Township, raised 12 children and left part of their land to the Mentor Methodist Church. In 1876, future President James A. Garfield bought a home in Mentor. That home is now the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Garfield conducted the first successful so-called front porch campaign from that home, setting the pace for the campaigns of Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley in 1888 and 1896 respectively. People from Mentor are known as "Mentorite," which was a word coined by Garfield during that time. It was named for Mentor, who, in Greek literature, became the guardian and tutor Odysseus's son Telemachus while Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War. Mentor was, in the beginning, a farming community as it became populated by pioneers and it soon became a community of horticulturalists and florists. In fact, there were so many floral businesses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that by the early 1930s, it was nicknamed the "Rose Capital of the Nation." Around that time, Mentor became a popular tourist attraction, with people coming people who wanted to escape Ohio's industrial cities. Mentor is also the home to Headlands Beach State Park, which consists of the longest swimming beach in the state.

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