Monday, October 30, 2006

Lucretia’s Dream


As part of the Western Reserve’s website, they have information on Lawnfield, the James Garfield National Historic Site, and there is also some information on Lucretia Garfield.

Lucretia Garfield was instrumental in the construction of the windmill at Lawnfield. There were problems during the constructions and Mrs. Garfield took great interest in the details. In a letter to her son about the construction she wrote:
This tank 11 ft. in diameter and twenty-feet high holds between four and five hundred barrels. You must know just how high your cascade closets are above the level of the well that no mistake be made. I have estimated for twenty feet.

She was also involved with the finances. In another letter to her son, she wrote:
Can you explain why a tank 15 ft. by 15 ft. and holding 600 barrels costs not half as much as one 11 ft. by 20 ft...and holding less than 500 barrels? The former would be put up for $195.00, the latter with only a few steel beams and window guards added, for $440.00. Again, is not Mr. Reough's estimate too large? I really cannot see how he can make such a simple structure cost more than or as much as, he would build a summer cottage for...I can not afford to build an expensive tower, either will I consent to put up a stupid, inconvenient unsightly thing !! Everything you wrote about yourself and the home affairs made me happy, except the estimates for the tower. They were simply ridiculous. Architects and contractors all seem to conspire to get the most money for the least work. I think I will go home and oversee the whole thing myself. I built a home once, bought all material and hired the workmen and although it was in wartime, I have never done anything so cheaply since, nor ever had anything better done.

The windwill stood until 1930 and was finally rebuilt in 1998.

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