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.
©Library of Congress
James A. Garfield was president for just four months before
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
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:
- National Monuments: Learn more about America's national monuments.
- National Memorials: Discover national memorials in the U.S.
- National Historic Sites: Read about American national historic sites.
- Ohio State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Ohio as well as other recreational activities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.