|James A. Garfield Home in Mentor, Ohio
The first ever "front porch"
presidential campaign in American history was
conducted by James A. Garfield from this home at
8095 Mentor Avenue in Mentor, Ohio.
James and Lucretia Garfield moved their large
family (seven children) from Hiram to Mentor in
1876, while he was serving in the U.S. House of
Representatives. The couple had several reasons
for making the move, including: the need for a
larger house, his desire to teach his children
about farming, and the realignment by the State
Legislature of the district Garfield represented.
Between 1877 and 1880, the couple enlarged the
home from nine rooms to twenty, added a porch
across the front, and refurnished the interior.
Called simply "the Mentor Farm" by
the Garfields, the estate was dubbed
"Lawnfield" during Garfield's 1880
presidential campaign, by the many reporters who
camped out on the lawns around the house.
Garfield maintained an office in the main house,
which Lucretia called his "Snuggery,"
for private meetings and conversations, and
converted a small building formerly used as his
personal library into his campaign headquarters
and equipped it with a temporary telegraph to
send and receive messages, including the results
of the election. The Lake Shore and Michigan
Southern Railroad, whose tracks ran across the
farm, routed special excursions to Mentor and set
up a stop at Garfield Lane, the pathway leading
to the house.
Garfield never had the chance to return to the
house following his inauguration as President
because he was assassinated. Four years after his
death, Lucretia Garfield, using money donated by
the American public in memory of the martyred
president, transformed the house into a memorial
to her husband, adding a new wing to the house
that included a library and vault to protect his
Mrs. Garfield continued to live in the house
at least part of every year until her death in
1918. Her brother, Joseph Rudolph, lived there
until he died in 1934. In 1936, Garfield's
children donated the house and all of its
contents to the Western Reserve Historical
Society for use as a museum. The house was added
to the National Register of Historic Places on
October 15, 1966, and was officially proclaimed
the James A. Garfield National Historic Site on
December 28, 1980.
James Abram Garfield National Historic
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