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“Lovely Home of Good Man Who Became President”

James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Mentor
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The site is made up of a visitors' center, as well as the 20-room farmhouse Garfield lived in with his wife and five children.
Reviewed 29 July 2014

Lawnfield is the former home of President James A. Garfield, but is also interesting from a design and architectural standpoint.

The home currently sits on about 20 acres in the suburb of Mentor, only a mile or so from a large shopping area. Although residential developments have grown around it, the site still has the historic feel from its farm days.

Throughout our visit, I couldn't get over the sense of what might have been. A little history: Garfield came from poverty, but his mother spent her life savings to get him into school and he went on to attend seminary, graduate from what is now Hiram College, become the president of that college, serve honorably in the Civil War (rising to the rank of Major General and serving at Chickamauga, among other battles), and running for Congress at the request of Abraham Lincoln. He became the Republican nominee not by wanting the job but because of a deadlock between other candidates and basically getting the job by acclaim. Once nominated, Garfield threw himself into the campaign and changed the way in which candidates ran for president. After running a close campaign against Winfield Scott Hancock (himself a war hero at Gettysburg), he was elected president. His presidency was cut short after he was shot in the back by a deranged man only weeks into his term. After that, Garfield became the victim of 1880s medicine and died months later at the age of 49. One can only wonder what might have been if this good man had actually been able to serve his term.

They have a tourist center in the original carriage house. Admission is something like $5 (free for under 16s) and they have displays about Garfield's career, along with a 15-20 minutes video. The tours of the house itself are by volunteers, in our case a Kent State University political science professor who also loved history. Our group had only five people, and others seemed to have about 10 which is about right given the house's size.

Both the original home and the addition by Garfield's widow are well worth the visit. You enter on the porch where Garfield engaged in his porch front campaign. Inside is decorated much as it was in Garfield's day, essentially in the Victorian style. There is a wood carving motif on many of the doorways.

Our favorite room in the house was the large library, which was built after Garfield's death but has many historical artifacts relating to his career. The library includes a large vault built to house his papers. They allow you to walk into the vault and also to take pictures throughout the home.

They have events staged at the home throughout the summer. The weekend we visited they had a band playing John Philip Sousa patriotic music. The weekend before was civil war enactors. Apparently once a month they have "behind the scenes" tours where you can visit rarely seen parts of the home. I'd check the website before a visit.

Lawnfield is worth a visit not only for the home, but also to experience a time not that long ago when life and the presidential campaigns felt very different from those of today.

Thank ElaineAndGreg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"the national park service"
in 18 reviews
"civil war"
in 22 reviews
"behind the scenes"
in 17 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 14 reviews
"presidential library"
in 14 reviews
"front porch"
in 13 reviews
"his wife"
in 15 reviews
"his life"
in 12 reviews
"beautiful home"
in 12 reviews
"house tour"
in 10 reviews
"great tour"
in 12 reviews
"small museum"
in 11 reviews
"visitor center"
in 15 reviews
"short term"
in 7 reviews
"well worth the visit"
in 8 reviews
"love history"
in 5 reviews
"original furnishings"
in 5 reviews

194 - 198 of 265 reviews

Reviewed 16 July 2014

I was really surprised at how interesting and well done this site was. The movie was very interesting and the small museum was just right. The tour of the home was very interesting and our guide gave great insight into the life of the family and the time in history that this home and the area played in our country's history. The grounds were very nice. Staff - friendly and helpful. The museum ad grounds are free and there is a small fee for the tour of the home. Highly recommend!

2  Thank XerkUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2014

The James A Garfield home is a wonderful way to learn more about our 20th president. Lawnfield was his family home for many years and you get a feel for the man and his family. Much that you see is exactly as it was when he lived there. You can stand on the porch where he would sit and greet his visitors and well wishers. The museum is well done and located in the former carriage house. It's well worth the visit and the national park services does an excellent job of presenting his story.

3  Thank Jennifer S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2014

We recently visited the Garfield home for the first time in several years. It's a beautiful, well maintained site with an excellent introductory video and tour. From what we could tell, the tour guides differed greatly in their approach. Ours was cordial but a bit distant. She didn't seem to be personally interested in the topic at all, but she did a nice job of keeping the kids in our tour group focused and she answered all questions patiently and thoroughly. The biggest negative is the AC was way too cold. There are some stairs to navigate, but there are substantial railings. The house will close in September for HVAC renovations, which will take several months, so be sure the house will be open before you go. Cost is very reasonable at $5, and the displays teach a lot of interesting details about our 20th President. You come out feeling inspired by what a great man he was, as was his wife.

2  Thank Diane R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 June 2014

Tours are frequent and inexpensive, and the tour guides knowledgeable. Lots of historic memorabilia.

1  Thank Bigterguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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