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President Garfield's Ohio Home Reopened

November 08, 1998|TIMES WIRES

After a four-year, $11.8-million renovation, the Mentor, Ohio home of James A. Garfield, the nation's 2Oth president, has reopened to the public in its full Victorian grandeur.

The painstaking renovation of the James A. Garfield Historic Site, near Lake Erie, was overseen by the National Park Service and the Western Reserve Historical Society. Because the house was occupied by Garfield's descendants until it was donated to the historical society in 1936, about 80% of the artifacts are original Garfield pieces. Garfield bought the house in 1876. He was assassinated during his first year as president in 1881.

Garfield's desk from his nine terms as a U.S. congressman sits in the library, as well as the floral wreath sent to his funeral by Queen Victoria. The house is lush with white oak, from doors and window frames to banisters and the ceilings of the library and its entrance hallway. Ornate and colorful wallpapers, re-created from original scraps and artists' renderings, cover many of the walls and ceilings. The 19th century was an era when presidential candidates typically stayed at home to greet visitors, so Garfield set up a campaign office, behind his house, that remains much as it appeared in 1880.

The Garfield house, about 25 miles east of Cleveland, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children 6-12. For information, telephone (440) 255-8722.

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