Friday, June 18, 2010

James A. Garfield slept here

Thomas Garfield residence

I knew there was something interesting about this house, at 4400 Turney Road, in Cleveland, Ohio, but I couldn't quite place what it was. I came across the answer in Recollections: A Collection of Histories and Memories of Garfield Heights, published by the Garfield Heights Historical Society in 2003.

This house, built c. 1850. was the residence of Thomas Garfield from 1850 and 1873. Garfield was the uncle of president James A. Garfield. In Recollections (page 10), Dan Ostrowski states "James Garfield spent a great deal of time at his uncles home during his studies at Hiram [College] and most likely during his one season job on the Ohio and Erie Canal." Garfield was a student at Hiram College from 1851-1854.

Thomas Garfield residence

This historic photograph, published on page 10 of Recollections, gives us a way to visualize how the house has changed over time.

It was common for a house to have two front doors. The one closer to the street, now covered by vinyl siding, might still be present. Likewise, the missing window to the rear of the house might just be hidden under the vinyl siding. If so, this would provide a future owner the information that they need to replicate the missing windows.

It's things like this that firmly cement my belief that history isn't something that happens elsewhere, on grand avenues and in great buildings. History is something that happens right here, in our neighborhoods, on the streets that we walk every day.


  1. do you know anything about clarence waltz that lived in that house back in 1940 4400 turney road

  2. he was my neighbor I lived right next door to him and my family still leaves there. he passed away many years ago a very nice man. and his sister Florence was a very special lady who really knew how to bake desserts. yum, grape kugheon the best