Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and LCAAssociates for the preservation and restoration of the Rutherford B. Hayes House at Spiegel Grove in Fremont
Spiegel Grove is the family home of Rutherford B. Hayes the 19th President of the United States. In 1916 the children of the President established The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center at Spiegel Grove. The Center includes the home, presidential museum and library, and the tombs of the President and Mrs. Hayes. Hayes family members continued to live in the home until 1965. The rambling Victorian residence with its large veranda was built in 1863 and was expanded and redecorated often by the President and Mrs. Hayes and their descendants over the years.
In the early 1990’s the Hayes Center staff began discussing plans for a major restoration of the home to give visitors a more authentic picture of the lives of President and Mrs. Hayes. The decision was made to restore the first floor of the home to the 1880’s, the period during which the President left office and retired to Spiegel Grove. The second floor would be restored to the 1960’s home used by the later generations of the Hayes family. This allows for the interpretation not only of the President’s family life but also of the multi-generational history of the residence and the contribution of his descendants in the development and preservation of the Presidential Center.
As the property records and the President’s and family papers had been preserved by the family the staff had access to a wealth of primary sources for recreating the home the President would recognize. While the modern fixtures were removed and structural stabilization completed, an expert team began the research necessary for the authentic restoration. Pictures of the rooms from the 1880s to early 1900s where used to determine patterns and placement of furniture and decoration. Original bits of wallpaper, carpet and fabric were uncovered during the restoration or discovered in storage and used to reproduce items that had not survived. With the furnishing plan complete the fundraising began. The State of Ohio and Federal Save America’s Treasures program contributed 60% of the $1.5M with the remaining 40% coming from private sources. In 2008 the physical restoration and installation began.
Throughout the restoration, with the exception of 2 months during the winter of 2012, the home was open to visitors promoting a greater understanding of historic preservation as well as of President Hayes and his interests. The meticulous restoration of the Hayes House interior has taken nearly 20 years from conception to completion but the results are spectacular.
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