As we looked for adventures here in Ohio, we realized that 8 individuals that served as President of the United States were from Ohio. So our adventures took us on a quest to visit all of their homes or memorials and investigate their individual parts of history.
Today’s visit was to the home of President James Garfield. His home is located at 8695 Mentor Avenue, Mentor Ohio 44060. This is the home where he conducted his famous front porch campaign. (More about that later) He also has several other sites in this area where he lived and worked.
Born in 1831 in Cuyahoga County, he served in the Union Army, was elected to the House of Representatives, and served as President of Hiram College. He then served as the 20th President of the United States. Shortly after taking office, he was assassinated.
James purchased the original house in 1876. He moved here from Hiram Ohio, so he could maintain his seat in the House of Representatives. Yes, even in 1876, politicians moved around to meet gerrymandering issues.
Garfield was a compromise candidate in the 1880 Presidential race. As was the tradition at the time, candidates did not go out and campaign around the country. People would come to his home for advice and counsel. He literally campaigned from his front porch. Thousands came to visit, and he gave regular speeches from the porch.
He took the oath of office in March, 1881, then was assassinated in September of that year.
Garfield’s home was to become the first Presidential Library. Mrs. Garfield built the memorial library four years after his death, to house all the books and papers he had accumulated. He threw nothing away.
Mrs. Garfield continued to reside in the home until 1918. Her brother moved in and maintained the residence until 1934. The house was donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society, and was declared a National Historic Site in 1980. In addition to it being rich in history, it is a magnificent piece of property.
Because the family maintained control of the house until 1934, 80% of the items you will see in the home belonged to President Garfield. The home was carefully restored in the 1990’s to show the house as it was lived in while the Garfield’s resided there.
I am sharing several photos of the interior and exterior of the home. A guide will take you through the house and talk about the various artifacts. You will learn many interesting things about this president and it will make you wonder how the country would have been different, had he served his full term.
Although in office a short time, one thing he did accomplish was the development of the Civil Service System. This idea helped remove the patronage aspect of the presidential office to the development of professional bureaucrats.
There is so much more to this story; not just about Garfield, but also his wife, Lucretia. She has quite a story of her own to tell.
Take a trip to Mentor Ohio and learn of her adventures – and make one for your family, too. These trips will help you understand who we are today.
Happy Adventure Hunting!
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