James Abram Garfield served as our twentieth President. The Garfield home, known as Lawnfield, was purchased by then Congressman Garfield in 1876. The home is located in Mentor, Ohio, just 30 minutes east of Cleveland.
Two historic firsts are associated with the home. One, from his home he conducted the first front porch campaign. People (farmers, businessmen, suffragettes, Civil War veterans) would come and stand outside the Garfield home where he would speak with them and listen to their concerns from his front porch. Sometimes we even invited a few of them into the home for further discussion.
Second, the home contained a special room, made of steel and concrete that housed his writings and presidential papers. This was added by hi wife, Lucretia, after his death and it is considered the first Presidential library. Today most of those papers are a part of the Library of Congress but the room still exists within the house.
The Home Today
The site today is run by the National Park Service and the house has reopened for tours as of June 1, 2021. The house remained in the Garfield family until they donated it to the Western Reserve Historical Society in 1936. Many of the furnishings and books are original to the home.
The house contains some interesting pieces, such as a wreath that has been coated in wax to preserve it. This wreath had been given to his wife, Lucretia, from Queen Victoria at the time of his death and laid on his casket in Washington, DC. The fireplace in the dining room is surrounded with painted tiles that Lucretia and their children all painted. The wallpaper (restored based off photographs) reflects a Japanese them with spider webs, meant as a sign of good fortune, throughout.
On the grounds there is a windmill that once supplied the house with water. The old carriage house is now the visitor’s center and museum. To plan your visit to the James A. Garfield National Historic Site check out their website. Don’t forget the Garfield Memorial at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland as well.
Tours of Cleveland, LLC offers guided walking tours of beautiful and historic downtown Cleveland. Explore the great city of Cleveland on foot and learn about its amazing history. Visit our website to learn more about our tours, see our schedule and book your tour. www.toursofcleveland.com.