Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center | Midwest Living

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

Spiegel Grove
Fremont  Ohio  43420
United States
(419) 332-2081
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Midwest Living Review

Sarah Routh
Spiegel Grove, also known as the Rutherford B. Hayes estate, pulls double duty as a period home and presidential site.

At the parklike Spiegel Grove, visitors can immerse themselves in history by taking guided tours of the 31-room Rutherford B. Hayes mansion, exploring the museum that highlights the 19th president’s political and military careers and wandering the wooded grounds to see the graves of Hayes and his wife, Lucy.

Constructed between 1859 and 1863, the mansion is undergoing an extensive restoration; many rooms aren't complete, but docents rely on anecdotes and photographs to paint a vivid picture of what they should look like. Guests with interests in historic renovation or post-Civil War furniture and decor will be fascinated by Spiegel Grove. Check out the Fremont directory near the original house phone, and be sure to ask about the Hayes children's pets —Christopher Columbus (a goat) and Mrs. Richard Brown (a chicken). The basement holds fun stuff like an original presidential carriage, vintage toy trains and Fanny Hayes' dollhouses.

The museum and library are geared more toward political buffs with memorabilia and artifacts, including one whole hall dedicated to the presidents and another gallery devoted to Lucy Hayes’ regal gowns. The museum hosts temporary exhibits and family-friendly special events, such as Civil War battle reenactments and old-fashioned baseball games.

The site is open year-round, but closed Mondays. Adult admission to the home or museum is $7.50; see both for $13.

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