Ohio Historic Sites

James Garfield National Historic Site

James Garfield National Historic Site

History and Historical Significance

Visit the home and library of America's second assasinated president.

Situated in the picturesque countryside of Mentor, Ohio, the James A. Garfield Historic Site is a revered testament to the life and legacy of the 20th President of the United States, James Abram Garfield. This historic site, often referred to as 'Lawnfield,' served as Garfield's beloved family home and the backdrop for many of his most significant political moments. The beautifully preserved estate offers visitors a chance to step into the world of this remarkable statesman. The main attraction is the Garfield home, a stunning example of Victorian architecture, which has been meticulously restored to its 1880s splendor. Touring the home provides a unique opportunity to explore the very rooms where Garfield entertained dignitaries and crafted his vision for a united nation. The site also features the Garfield Monument, which houses the final resting place of President Garfield and his wife, Lucretia.

Beyond its architectural and historical significance, the James A. Garfield Historic Site offers visitors a glimpse into the rich tapestry of 19th-century American life. The surrounding gardens and grounds, designed by Lucretia Garfield herself, showcase the beauty and tranquility of the era. Various exhibits and educational programs delve into Garfield's impressive career, from his early years as a teacher and Civil War general to his rise to the presidency. The site also hosts events, lectures, and reenactments, bringing history to life for visitors of all ages. As a designated National Historic Landmark, the James A. Garfield Historic Site stands as a place of reflection, inspiration, and appreciation for the enduring contributions of President Garfield to the United States.

The Presidency of James A Garfield

James A. Garfield's presidency, albeit brief, left a significant mark on American history. Elected as the 20th President of the United States in 1880, Garfield was a scholar, orator, and military veteran. During his presidency, he championed civil service reform, advocating for a merit-based system of government employment. Unfortunately, his term was tragically cut short when he was assassinated in July 1881, just months into office. Despite its brevity, Garfield's presidency set the stage for subsequent civil service reforms and underscored the importance of transparency and fairness in American government. His legacy as a dedicated public servant and advocate for reform endures as an integral part of the nation's political history.

The Assasination of James A Garfield

The assassination of President James A. Garfield in July 1881 was a shocking and tragic event in American history. Garfield, who had been in office for only a few months, was shot twice by Charles J. Guiteau, a disgruntled office-seeker who believed he deserved a government position. The first bullet merely grazed Garfield, but the second lodged in his back, causing significant internal injuries. Garfield's fight for survival was closely followed by the nation, and medical professionals, including Alexander Graham Bell, attempted to locate and remove the bullet. Despite their efforts, Garfield's condition deteriorated due to infections and complications from the medical procedures. He ultimately succumbed to his injuries and passed away on September 19, 1881. Garfield's assassination highlighted the need for improved security measures for the President and spurred discussions about the treatment of gunshot wounds and medical practices of the time.

The Garfield Library

The restoration efforts at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, including the Garfield home and library, have been a labor of love and historical preservation. The James A. Garfield Library, located within the historic site, holds a vast collection of books and documents that provide invaluable insights into President Garfield's life and era. Restoration initiatives have focused on preserving the library's architectural grandeur and ensuring the longevity of its priceless contents. Meticulous work has gone into repairing and restoring the library's ornate woodwork, original furnishings, and the meticulously curated collection of books that Garfield himself accumulated over the years. These restoration endeavors not only honor the memory of President Garfield but also offer visitors a glimpse into the intellectual world of a remarkable statesman and scholar, making the library a cherished destination for those seeking to connect with Garfield's legacy and the history of the United States.

Visit the James Garfield Historic Site

Guided tours of the Garfied house 10:00 a.m. and occur throughout the day. Our final tour is at 3:00 p.m.


James Garfield was afraid of animals and, in respect to his memory, pets are forbidden from the grounds.

Site Hours

Visitor Center and grounds are open 10am - 5pm seven days a week.

Closed all federal holidays.