A while back we returned to our old stomping grounds of Clyde, Ohio. While there, I told dear hubby I wanted to stroll through Spiegel Grove. The grounds, where the home of Rutherford B. Hayes’s, our 19th President, stands holds some wonderful memories for me. While we were dating, my husband and I loved to stroll through the big old trees, watching the squirrels dart from one to the other.
We were actually married in the rose garden of the Hayes home 28 years ago this month. Later, it became one of our favorite places to bring the kids to run and burn off their exuberant, boyish energies. Sometimes they mimicked the darting and dancing of the squirrels at play on the premise.
Not only do I have fond memories here, but I am in love with the architecture and history of this 31 room, brick mansion built by President Hayes’s uncle, Sardis Birchard. It was to be used as a family summer home. The original portion of the home was constructed during the American Civil war, when materials were hard to acquire, therefore it took five years to complete. (1859 and 1863)
Hayes loved the home, but had his own ideas for how he would live within it. I admiringly agree with the desires he stated in his diary in 1873, “The best part of the present house is the veranda. But I would enlarge it. I want a veranda with a house attached!”
He would eventually move his own family into the house. As described by the Hayes Memorial website;
“Hayes moved his family into the home in 1873 for two years before leaving to serve as Governor of Ohio and then President of the United States. In 1880 President Hayes prepared for his return to Fremont from the White House by building a substantial addition and remodeling the interior. The addition included a library to house his 12,000 books, a large reception room, three bedrooms, and indoor plumbing. The most spectacular improvement was a four-story walnut and butternut staircase leading to a rooftop lantern offering a 360-degree view of Spiegel Grove (the Hayes estate).”
The home would undergo renovations by Hayes for nearly 20 years. The last was a major renovation in 1889 to prepare more room for grandchildren and friends. Mrs. Hayes died at Spiegel Grove before this renovation was complete. President Hayes also died in his beloved home in 1893.
Here are a few photos taken during our visit:
When visiting Hayes Memorial you’ll be able to do much more than just wander the grounds. Tours are available for the Hayes home (tours every 30 minutes) and a museum (self –toured). See www.rbhayes.org for details.
Ten facts about Rutherford B. Hayes from the archives of the Hayes Presidential Center Library…
- Hayes was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House.
- Hayes was the only president whose election was decided by a congressional commission.
- Hayes was the first president to travel to the West Coast during his term as president.
- Hayes was the first president to have a telephone in the White House.
- Hayes was the first president to have a typewriter in the White House.
- Though other presidents served in the Civil War, Hayes was the only one to have been wounded – four times!
- Hayes began the “Easter Egg Roll” for children on the White House Lawn (1878) – a tradition which still continues on the Monday after Easter.
- Lucy Webb Hayes was the first wife of a president to graduate from college,
- Lucy Webb Hayes was the first wife of a president to be called “First Lady”.
- Hayes’ best known quotation – “he serves his party best who serves his country best.” Inaugural Address, 1877.
Interesting facts and summary were written by Nan Card, curator of manuscripts.
(Copied from www.rbhayes.org)