Tuesday, August 28, 2012

President Garfield's House & Clue #1

Mama here telling you about our visit to President Garfield's House in Mentor, OH.  Joey is still a little miffed that he was not able to go along on our adventures this weekend.

I have to admit that I really did not know anything about President Garfield.  Jeff admits that he did not either.  President Garfield was our 20th President and was shot four months into his term.  He was shot in his back and his arm. If the doctors had left him alone, he would have survived.  He was shot in a train station and doctors immediately laid him on the dirty floor and started sticking their fingers into his wounds.  Reports say that twelve doctors had their unsterilized fingers and instruments in his back searching for the bullet.  He died 80 days later of a body that was full of infection.  He weighed 210 pounds when he was shot and died weighing 130 pounds.  He never left the hospital after being shot.  We will never know what type of  President he would have become. He died at the age of 49.  He looked much older than that when he was elected President.

I just found an interesting fact that I would like to share.  Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was at the scene of the shooting.  According to this article, he was at the scene of three of the four presidents that have been assassinated.  Isn't that strange?

I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited about seeing his home.  I love looking at old homes, but I really didn't expect much.  There really wasn't much about his home on the National Parks Service website.  One of the reasons we decided to see it was so that we could get a "passport stamp". LOL   The Park Service really needs to add some photos of the home because it is beautiful!

When we arrived a the home, a large tour had just completed and there was no one else in line.  Jeff and I were given a personal tour. I probably asked too many questions, but I didn't want the tour guide to think we were not interested.

Pictures were allowed as long as a flash was not used. I took over 60 photos, so this is just a fraction of what I took.
Back of the house.  His wife, Lucretia, expanded the house after his death.

Front porch - he did campaigning here.

Wall paper on the ceiling - the wall paper has been replaced with an exact reproduction.

James & Lucretia's Bedroom



Dining Room - the plates were painted by Lucretia.  The tiles were painted by Lucretia and the children.

This tile was painted by Lucretia - She was quite artistic.

Dining room

After his death, Lucretia added onto the house.  I asked why she did so and the tour guide said she wanted a library built for her husband.  A family friend raised money for her and the family.  She was able to add onto the house and still had quite a bit of money left when she died 37 years later.

All the books belonged to President Garfield.  None are duplicates.

Look at the wood work on this ceiling!

More books.  Where did people get books back then?  It seems like it would be hard to collect them.

Fireplace in the library

This is the funeral wreath.  She had it dipped in wax and it still looks great.  It is in the "safe" that she built for his paperwork.  The safe is made of concrete, but there were windows (2nd floor) so not as secure as she thought.
Windmill that Lucretia had installed which pumped their water.

Front of house - it was hard to get a good picture without crossing what is now a busy street.

Another view of the back of the house.

Stables - this is now the visitor's center
I am not including all the bedroom photos.  They had five children as well as his mother and her father that lived in the house.  Her father helped run the farm.  I can't remember if it was his brother or her brother who lived on the third floor with his family.

The kitchen was dismantled before the National Park Service took over and since there are no pictures of it, they will not re-create it.  It's sad that the kitchen is no longer part of the house.

Lucretia was a very strong woman and it sounds as if she knew what she wanted and probably drove the contractors crazy.

I learned that a widows stationery showed how much they were mourning by the size of the black border around it.  It varied on how long the widows used it, but Lucretia used the thick black border for her remaining days, 37 years. The tour guide said that is the longest that he has heard.

This house is beautiful and is in such good shape.  The National Park Service is doing a wonderful job preserving this house for future generations.  The admission is $5 a person and I think it is well worth it, plus you can get your passport book stamped.  LOL

Ready for the clue of our next destination? Clue #1: We might see a bear.

Mama to Joey and Scout

Beach Life Is The Best

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