Friday, July 29, 2011

U.S. Mint to Unveil Garfield Coin at Lawnfield on US Route 20 in Mentor

Press Release 
U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH)
July 26, 2011

U.S. Mint to unveil Garfield Coin at Lawnfield in Mentor

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) today announced that the U.S. Mint has produced a $1 coin bearing the image of the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield, and will unveil it at a special ceremony on November 17 at Lawnfield, Garfield's home in Mentor.

Officials from the U.S. Mint will come to Mentor and unveil the coin at Lawnfield, Garfield's home," LaTourette said. "It's an honor for the late President, Mentor, its residents and the caretakers of Lawnfield, a national historic site."

The ceremony will be at 10 a.m. on November 17, 2011.

The U.S. Mint issues four Presidential $1 coins each year in the order the presidents served in office. This year, coins will be issued for two Ohio natives, Rutherford B. Hayes and James A. Garfield. The other coins will honor Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant. The Garfield coin features the likeness of Garfield on the face, and the Statue of Liberty on the other side.

James Garfield was born in 1831 in a cabin in Orange Township, which is now Moreland Hills. A replica of the James A. Garfield Log Cabin can be found at the Village of Moreland Hills. Garfield graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) as a classics professor and later its president. He was elected to the Ohio state senate in 1859, and in 1862, he was elected to Congress and served 18 years.

Garfield purchased his Mentor home in 1876 while he was serving in Congress and added 11 rooms and a large from porch, where he conducted his 1880 presidential campaign. The home became Lawnfield because press members camped out in the lawn during Garfield's "front porch campaign."

On July 2, 1881, just four months into his term, Garfield was shot at a Washington railroad station. He died on September 19, 1881, having served just 200 days in office. He never returned to Lawnfield after he became president, but his widow, Lucretia Garfield, remained at Lawnfield. She added a library and carefully preserved documents and artifacts and is often credited with creating one of the first presidential libraries. President Garfield is buried in Cleveland's Lakeview Cemetery.

LaTourette said he's always felt a kinship to President Garfield, and has a portrait of his family displayed in his Washington office.

"We're both Republicans with beards and represent Mentor," LaTourette joked, "The beards alone make us a fairly small club."

The Garfield heirs sold the home to the Western Reserve Historical Society in the 1930s and the National Park Service (NPS) took over in 1980, designating Lawnfield a historic site. LaTourette and several other members of Congress secured funding for a multi-million restoration in the 1990s. The NPS took over full operations at Lawnfield in January 2008.

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