The second floor of Garfield’s former home is where the real gem is, the prototype of what we now know of as a Presidential Library, built by his widow to make sure Garfield’s 200 days in office before he died were not forgotten. Thick criss-crossing beams of light wood adorned the ceiling above the dusty collection of books on every topic he had referred to. A “Memory Room” – a fireproof vault of concrete and steel – was discretely hidden in one large room-sized corner, measuring 15 x 15 and now empty as his papers were donated to the Library of Congress. A flowered wreath remains though, a funeral decoration send by Queen Victoria, and preserved in wax for all eternity in this dimly lit vault.
Behind the main house sits a small house that acted as Garfield’s on-site campaign office, another first, where the media was hosted, and a telegraph line was installed More oddly, a windmill on a tower stands on the property between the house and the former stables that are now the visitor’s center. We find out that the windmill is actually a hidden water tank that provided running water to the mansion – a rare luxury in Garfield’s time.