Lawnfield and Other Ohio Presidential Homes

Lawnfield and Other Ohio Presidential Homes
Lucretia Garfield: First Ladies' Lives

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Three class periods


In 1876, James A. Garfield bought the land and farmhouse later named “Lawnfield.” The much-remodeled house became the home of Lurcretia Garfield and her children after the President was assassinated, and remained in the family for 60 years.  Today, it belongs to the Western Reserve Historical Society, and is open to visitors during the week from May to October and on weekends from November to April.


Students who participate in this activity will learn about Lawnfield, as well as about several other homes and memorials dedicated to Ohio Presidents, through the creation of informational brochures about these sites.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet; access to print materials; art supplies and/or computer word processing and graphics programs.


Divide the class into groups of four students each.  Each student will assume one of the following roles: 
  • Geographer
  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Art Director

Using the websites listed below, the First Ladies Library Timeline, and any written materials that are available, students should explore the homes and memorials dedicated to Ohio Presidents.  Each group should select one Presidential home or memorial to be
the subject of a brochure describing the site and its attractions.  The work of designing and producing the brochure should be divided in the following way: 

The Geographer is responsible for at least one map, showing the location of the home or memorial; other maps may be drawn as needed.

  • The Historian is responsible for creating a timeline for the brochure, showing the purchase, development, and current status of the home or memorial.
  • The Journalist is responsible for writing the copy for the brochure, describing the home or memorial and its important features.
  • The Art Director is responsible for selecting the colors, placement of maps and illustrations, and overall layout of the copy used in the brochure.
Each group should be encouraged to develop their brochure in any way they see fit.  When all brochures are completed, time should be provided for sharing their work, and the class as a whole can (if desired) select the “best” brochure.  Or, a variety of “bests” can be voted on by the class, e.g., “best colors,” “best timeline,” “best layout,” etc.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson might be extended by exploring Presidential homes and memorials in other states, or by creating a map of the United States in which the homes or memorials of all Presidents are indicated.

Sources & Resources:

Ferris, Gary W.  Presidential Places: A Guide to the Historic Sites of U.S. Presidents. John F. Blair Publisher, 1999.
Hyland, Pat.  Presidential Libraries and Museums: An Illustrated Guide. Congressional Quarterly Books, 1995.
            Lawnfield: James A. Garfield Historic Site 

            National Park Service: Lawnfield 

            R. B. Hayes Presidential Center 

            The Ohio Presidential Circuit 

            Ohio Presidential Homes 

            Presidential Libraries

This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.