Its history begins in the years before the Civil War, in a wilderness on the outskirts of a bustling river town.
A successful man with vision was its creator, intending it for use by an even more successful visionary. When Sardis Birchard built the first portion of a brick house in Spiegel Grove for his nephew, he could not have foreseen its future as a memorial to a United States President. Nor could he have imagined that his nephew would be that President.
The Hayes Home – the centerpiece of the Hayes Presidential Center – has undergone two additions, electrification and modernizations from air conditioning to indoor plumbing. Yet, its most incredible transformation may be its return to the 19th century.
A little more than four years after restoration work started, seven areas of the 31-room mansion of President Rutherford B. Hayes have been restored. The home’s interior has been painstakingly converted to the way President Hayes and his wife Lucy decorated and furnished it.
Funded by numerous businesses, individuals, the State of Ohio, and the federal government’s Save America’s Treasures program, the ambitious project is ready for its public unveiling.
Hayes Presidential Center officials invite the general public to join the celebration at the Hayes Home Open House 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 14. For this day only, admission to the house is free. Guides will escort groups of 15 at a time through the restored downstairs rooms. To accommodate the anticipated crowd, five minutes will be spent in each room before moving to the next.
The Center is located at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues, Fremont. For those who can’t make the open house, find complete hours and details about other special events by visiting www.rbhayes.org.