In 1880, more than 17,000 people from around the country traveled by train to Mentor, Ohio, to hear James A. Garfield campaign for the presidency from the front porch of his home. The 30-room mansion, known as Lawnfield, is now preserved as the James A. Garfield National Historic Site.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site
©Library of Congress
James A. Garfield was president for just four months before
his assassination.

Garfield bought the home in 1876 for his large family, which included five children and his mother. The home has been restored to its 1870-1890 appearance. Original furniture and memorabilia are featured throughout, including Garfield's Civil War equipment, his Congressional desk, the Garfield Presidential China, and a waxed funeral wreath sent by Queen Victoria.

The twentieth President was shot at the train station in Washington, D.C., on July 2, 1881, just four months after his inauguration. Because his tenure as President was so short, he is perhaps better known as a Civil War hero and U.S. congressman. Garfield, like Lincoln, was born in a log cabin and worked his way up to the highest office in the country.

Four years after his assassination, Garfield's wife Lucretia added a wing to the house to accommodate the Memorial Library, the first presidential library. Rather than the usual display of presidential documents, the library contains Garfield's extensive book collection, and in the study is the chair where he would spend nights reading, his leg slung over the arm.

Visitors can explore the visitor center's exhibits, take a guided tour, or watch an 18-minute video on Garfield's life.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site Information

Address: 8095 Mentor Avenue
Mentor, OH 44060
Phone: 216/255-8722
Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theater National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

Find out more about travel destinations in North America:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.