Eight United States presidents have hailed from Ohio, including the 20th president, James A. Garfield. Born in the northeast Ohio community of Moreland Hills, Garfield bought a house in Mentor in 1876 for his large family. The property, managed by the National Park Service and Cleveland’s Western Reserve Historical Society, has been open to the public since 1936. It’s a great opportunity for young and not so young to see how Ohioans lived almost a century-and-a-half ago.
About the James A. Garfield Historic Site
The two story frame farmhouse, dubbed “Lawnfield” by the 19th century news media, sits about 25 miles from downtown Cleveland in the no-longer-rural suburb of Mentor. The 20-room home has been restored and is decorated with period furniture, some of which belonged to the Garfield family. After President Garfield’s death in office in 1881, his widow added a presidential library as an additional wing to the house. It was the first such library in the United States. Today, visitors can tour the house and library as well as the windmill-pumphouse, carriage house and barn.
The James A. Garfield historic site is open daily from May 1 to October 31 and on Saturdays and Sundays the rest of the year. Admission is $5 for anyone over 15 years of age (2011 prices.)
The Garfield home isn’t the only thing to see and do around Mentor, Ohio. The area boasts Headlands Beach State Park on Lake Erie with its mile-long beach, hiking trails and scenic lighthouse; Lake Farmpark, a working farm where families can interact with live animals and learn about farm life; and Holden Arboretum, a 3000-acre showcase for native Ohio plants, trees and shrubs.
Where to Stay
The Best Western Lawnfield is located just a half mile east of the James A. Garfield historic site on Route 20. The 50-room hotel is part century home and part modern, with a modern, sleeping wing extending behind a traditional Western Reserve, Victorian building. Amenities at the non-smoking property include an outdoor swimming pool (open seasonally), a fitness room, and complimentary, wireless Internet access.
Mentor offers the usual family-friendly chain restaurants, such as Applebee’s, Max and Erma’s and Red Lobster. For something a little more unique, try Potpourri, a fondue restaurant down the street from Lawnfield, or Yours Truly, part of a northeast Ohio chain of family-oriented restaurants with good American-style food, friendly service and affordable prices.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
8905 Mentor Avenue (Route 20) in Mentor
Headlands Beach State Park
9601 Headlands Road in Mentor
9500 Sperry Road in Kirtland
8800 Chardon Road in Kirtland
Best Western Lawnfield
8434 Mentor Avenue in Mentor
8885 Mentor Avenue in Mentor
7280 Center Street in Mentor