James Garfield

In 1830, James Garfield’s parents bought a 50-acre plot of land 12 miles from Cleveland for $100, and built a 20 x 30 foot cabin, in which their son James, the last of the “log cabin” presidents, was born the following year.
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Garfield returned here to visit in 1880, and was elected president later that year. He died in office in 1881, and the cabin burned down sometime after that. This replica was made in 1999, and sits next to the town hall in Moreland Hills, Ohio, near the actual site, which is in the woods behind the property.
Garfield served for 17 years in the House of Representatives, and moved into a house in Mentor, Ohio, 20 miles up the lake shore from Cleveland, in 1876. He taught his children to farm, and conducted agricultural experiments.
This is the property Garfield became most associated with, as here he campaigned for the presidency in 1880. Though in the countryside, railroad trains sometimes would stop at the path leading up to the house.
Garfield would conduct “front porch” speeches from the large veranda at his home, which was called Lawnfield by reporters who spent time camped out on the lawn waiting for speeches.
Over the years Garfield expanded the house from 9 to 20 rooms.
Garfield turned a small outbuilding into his campaign headquarters. His was the first presidency where the nominee was so directly involved in the campaign process. He left to assume the Executive Office in 1881, and never returned to Lawnfield.
Two months into his presidency, in 1881, Garfield was shot in the back by an assassin, and died two months later, likely due to infections created by doctors in the days before the importance of sterilization was understood.
His family continued to live at Lawnfield until 1936, and continued to improve and innovate, adding a windmill to pump water, and a gasholder building for gas collected from a well at the site.
Lawnfield is now managed by the National Park Service, which has a visitor center on the site, with life-size dioramas and other displays about his presidency.
An elaborate mausoleum in Cleveland, the James A. Garfield Memorial in Lake View Cemetery, was finished in 1890.
Three other presidents were at the dedication ceremony: current President Benjamin Harrison; former President Rutherford Hayes; and future President William McKinley, who would be felled by an assassin himself, eleven years later.
James Garfield and his wife Lucretia are interred inside, beside urns containing the remains of their only child, Mollie, and her husband Joseph Stanley-Brown, who served as Garfield’s private secretary.
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