Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yep, that’s what I was thinking after we found the Garfield memorial in Cleveland. Seriously, it is so overdone and huge, I was just thinking – what is going on here? It was cool to see, but definitely overdone. James and Lucretia Garfield are buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio in this huge, almost castle-like, structure. We drove past it twice, thinking it was a church before we realized that this was the grave! The main part is a cylindrical tower:
The Garfield Monument is a 180-foot tall, cylindrical building, designed by architect George Keller. It was dedicated in 1890, two years after the President's death. It sits on a hill, overlooking the cemetery. The outside is adorned with five bas-relief panels, depicting scenes from Garfield's life.

The main floor of the interior is decorated with elaborate mosaic tiles, marble columns, and colorful leaded glass windows. The focal point on the main level is a larger-than-life statue of President Garfield.

Those leaded glass windows are amazing, but again – just so much! I mean, I know Garfield was assassinated, but he was only president for a few months! I found Lawnfield, while still huge, much more appropriate.

You can walk down to the bottom to see the caskets (there are also urns with the remains of their daughter Molly and her husband) or walk up to look down on the statue. Plus you can walk up to the top to look out for an awesome view of Cleveland and Lake Erie.

There are lots of other famous people buried in this cemetery, including John D. Rockefeller, so you can stroll through the entire cemetary if you wish and it really is a nice, quiet respite within Cleveland.

Some thing to remember when visiting:
  • Look for the huge structure and you can’t miss it.
  • Downtown Cleveland is a construction and one way nightmare so make sure you have directions IN and OUT. We live around here and didn’t get directions out – yep, lost for an hour!
  • This is NOT ADA accessible. There are tons of stairs to see EVERYTHING, so if you have a wheelchair (or even a stroller…see the picture below), you will have a hard time getting in. We ended up parking the stroller on the main level and carrying the baby. Not so easy, though, if you are wheel chair bound. The stairs are also very narrow and can be taxing if you aren't in the best of health.

  • The cemetery does close, so make sure to plan ahead.


M said...

The nation was shocked and stunned by Garfield's murder. They then overcompensated. I guess I can understand that. I visit Cleveland usually at least once a year. I am going to put this on my visit list. Thanks for the post.

Geoff Elliott said...

Also you need to remember the time era when Garfield was assassinated. It was at the height of Victorian architecture, which can be "gaudy" and overdone, to say the least. The McKinley Memorial in Canton (OH) is just as overdone in its own way, but is definitely understated compared to Garfield's memorial.