Visiting President Garfield’s tomb

I’ll be sharing some writings from the past few years over the next few weeks. I did that recently in sharing notes/commentary from the 2013 “Dignitatis Humanae” conference, and am doing that again now with something I wrote in May 2013 after visiting President Garfield’s tomb:

I’ve been spending this weekend in Cleveland, visiting for the first time. It’s a beautiful city well deserving of its title “The Forest City.” City tree proponents should figure out what’s been done here and replicate it.

A friend is living in Cleveland’s historic Little Italy for the summer, which is right on the city border and near the campus of Case Western Reserve University. Directly behind his house is Lakeview Cemetery, home to President Garfield’s crypt and monument. Assassinated in 1881, the building was privately financed to honor this Union Civil War hero and completed in 1886. It’s a beautiful and fascinating monument; a distinctly 19th century American symbol radiating a civic and religious enthusiasm for a fallen president.

Each of the thirteen colonies has its own stained glass window encircling President Garfield’s statue. Pennsylvania’s is depicted in the photo with this post. Both caskets lie in the crypt space below the main floor, as well as the ashes of his daughter and son-in-law. His daughter died at age 80 in 1947.

We didn’t know about this until we drove into town on Friday, but it was a great way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon after Mass and coffee at Corbo’s, the local bakery. From The Barking Spider on Friday on campus to Great Lakes Brewery to visiting The Christmas Story house to a visit to Cedar Point to home in Little Italy, it seems like a great city with a distinct character worth experiencing.