Saturday, September 28, is National Public Lands Day and a fee-free day at most federally managed lands, including our National Parks and many National Historic Sites.
National Public Lands Day celebrates our nations’ 600 million acres plus of public lands, educates about our natural heritage, advocates for shared stewardship of these irreplaceable resources, and promotes partnerships to enhance, restore, and improve public lands. For more information and volunteer opportunities, explore http://www.publiclandsday.org.
In northeastern Ohio, this is a great opportunity to celebrate and visit our own James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio.
President Garfield, often referred to as one of our favorite sons, is near and dear to the hearts of many in northeastern Ohio. The last of our “Log Cabin Presidents,” he was born in 1831 in Orange Township (now S.O.M. Center Road in Moreland Hills), drove canal boat teams on the Ohio Canal, attended school at the Geauga Seminary in Chesterland, taught classics at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College), served in the Ohio Senate, led Ohio troops and rose to prominence as a Major General in the Civil War, represented Ohio in Congress, and was a frequent visitor, with his wife Lucretia, at the Lake Erie Female Seminary (now Lake Erie College in Painesville).
And all this before he launched his famous Front Porch Campaign for the U.S. Presidency from his home at the old Dickey Farm in Mentor! (Little wonder that the newspaper reporters of the time dubbed the property “Lawnfield” by which it is known today).
Garfield’s tenure as President was cut short when he was shot in 1881. Today he is interred in the Garfield Monument in Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery.
But his legacy lives on at his home in Mentor where our James A. Garfield National Historic Site features the beautifully and accurately restored Garfield home, a state of the art visitor center and museum in the restored 1894 Carriage House, a brief introductory film, a campaign headquarters, windmill, various outbuildings, and lovely park grounds.
Several free special events will be held on National Public Lands Day, including a presentation on the President’s last days and subsequent death as well as the public unveiling of a new portrait of Garfield during the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga by Ohio artist Amy Lindenberger. For more information, explore http://www.nps.gov/jaga/index.htm.
So join us on September 28 in celebrating the incredible legacy of preservation of public lands that we enjoy in the United States.