The Hayes Home, Spiegel Grove, is a fabulous house tour, but it is in the midst of a major renovation so if you want to come, and have to travel for it, I recommend waiting a few years until they finish this. This house was originally built as a summer home for Rutherford Hayes and his family by his uncle, Sardis Birchard. There is also a museum on the same property. This is where the First Ladies exhibit was. This actually is a huge variety of things in this museum as Webb Hayes was in China during the Boxer Rebellion and brought back a lot of interesting memorabilia. You’ll notice this Chinese connection even in the house in some of the decorations in the rooms that Webb and his family used. Fanny’s dollhouses in the basement of the museum are well worth the time to investigate as well – so huge and intricate!
The day we went up the museum was picture perfect to see the grounds as it was lightly snowing. You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds (about 10 minutes and it is $3) and it was perfect to see the grounds that way. The Hayes on buried on the grounds and this takes you over to the graves.
From my earlier post on White House china, you might remember that the Hayes Presidential White House china is very distinctive and they have many pieces and it is really lot of fun to see.
This really is a great museum and house. Right now the tour at the house focuses too much on the renovation, but that will change, I’m sure, once they are finished.
On the website of the Hayes Center, you can access and search the diaries and letters, which is a great source in itself.
Things to Remember:
- The tours are guided so make sure to account for that in your schedule. There is plenty to see in the museum as you are waiting for the tour to begin.
- Make sure to have directions as while Fremont isn’t that large, I did find it somewhat hard to find the right roads. This one, as do most, needs more signs on the way!
- Tickets are reasonable, but make sure to realize there is two parts to the tickets – the home tour and the museum.
- Make sure to account for the renovation and you might want to put off your visit for a few years.