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James A. Garfield was president of the United States for less than a year, though his legacy lives on today at Lawnfield, his home in Mentor which is now preserved as the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Garfield purchased the home in 1876 and from it launched the first successful “front porch” campaign. The home was restored in the 1990s at a cost of $12.5 million; extensive research resulted in furnishing the home with authentic pieces and household items from the period.
Today, visitors can take a number of tours. The Behind the Scenes Tour explores seldom-seen parts of the home, including the basement and attic, while the Behind the Ropes Tour takes you behind the barriers which normally hold visitors back. Other tours include walking adventures, in-depth explanations of the 1880 presidential campaign, and strolls around the historic neighborhood.
Start your tour at the visitor’s center, where the museum chronicles the life of Garfield from canal boy to president. Walking the grounds allows you to explore the 160-acre farm and imagine where rows of wheat once grew, and orchards once produced apples and pears.
Nearby Mentor is also home to Headlands Beach State Park.