Best Ways To Learn About Presidential And American History In Cleveland

February 18, 2013 6:00 AM

There are lots of little gems of museums and historical sites in Cleveland if you take the time to search for them. From historic buildings and museums to old cemeteries, celebrate Presidents Day by learning about the history of our area, our country and our leaders.

Spend a day searching out the Who's Who of Cleveland's past plus a climb to the top of the Garfield Memorial for a great view of the city and Lake Erie. (Photo By Mark Horning)

(photo credit: Mark Horning)

Lakeview Cemetery

12316 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 421-2665

Lakeview Cemetery was founded in 1869 and modeled after the great garden cemeteries of Victorian England and France.The most prominent memorial of Lakeview Cemetery is the James A. Garfield Memorial which is the final resting place of our 20th President and his family. Other notables that have been interned here include Eliot Ness John D. Rockefeller and Carl B. Stokes, Civil War generals and Revolutionary War soldiers, members of President Lincoln’s cabinet and twenty-two Cleveland mayors. Even with over 104,000 people interred on the present 285 acre area there still remains 65 acres available for future development (enough area to continue burials for the next 100 years). Tour information can be found be calling the cemetery or by visiting the website.

dsc 9704 Best Ways To Learn About Presidential And American History In Cleveland

(photo credit: Mark Horning)

Gray’s Armory
1234 Bolivar Road
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 621-5938
Gray’s Armory was built in 1893 as a permanent home to Cleveland’s independent volunteer militia company, which was originally called The Cleveland City Guards and later changed its name to the Cleveland Grays. The current mission of Grays Armory is to share its historical legacy with the public, preserving the traditions and rich heritage of those who serve their country and community. On a historic note, the first concert of the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland’s first automobile show and performances by the Metropolitan Opera and John Philip Sousa and his band were held at Grays Armory. Continuing this tradition, the Armory still sponsors open-house events and tours designed to reach a diverse audience. Each year on Veterans Day, Grays Armory presents programs honoring veterans of past conflicts with orchestra concerts and special tours. Admission is free but you must call ahead for tour schedules. The building is also available for rent for such diverse occasions as private parties, weddings, receptions, family gatherings and proms.

Plan on spending an entire day touring the mansion, museum, library and Crawford car and aviation collection. (Photo By Mark Horning)

(photo credit: Mark Horning)

Western Reserve Historical Society Museum

10825 East Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 721-5722

Price: $8.50 / adults; $7.50 / seniors; $5 / students; $5 / parking

The Western Reserve Historical Society Museum actually consists of the Bingham-Hanna House, the Hay McKinney House and the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum. Along with the Chisholm Halle Costume Collection and an extensive library, the mansions are filled with a variety of fascinating exhibits, original furnishings and decorative pieces that recall Cleveland’s rich history dating all the way back to Moses Cleaveland.

Guided tours are available most days with the highlights being the extensive kitchen, back stairs area and beautiful dining room of the Hay-McKinney mansion. The Crawford Museum houses the enormous collection of  cars, planes and other means of transportation originally collected by Frederick Crawford (original founder of TRW) and includes such rarities as a 1897 Panhard Levasor (the world’s first enclosed automobile), the first DeLorean and Bobby Rahal’s 1982 Indy car that won the first Cleveland 500 race.

The Library (which is open to the public) houses a complete archive of anything to do with Cleveland’s history. From photos, scanned documents and book, visitors are welcomed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with much of the material available online.

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Plan on spending an entire day touring the mansion, museum, library and Crawford car and aviation collection. (Photo By Mark Horning)

(photo credit: Mark Horning)

Clague House Museum

1371 Clague Road
Westlake, OH 44145
(440) 808-1961

Price: Free

Operated by the Westlake Historical Society, Clague House Museum houses an extensive collection of local artifacts highlighting the Westlake community. The museum continues to build on its collection of photographs, books, paper-related items, prints, maps, manuscripts, artifacts and memorabilia of the Dover-Westlake area. The Clague Museum is the location for the Westlake Summer Antique and Craft Show. The Historical Society offers a variety of special events and programs over the course of the year.

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Bedford Historical Society

1874 Town Hall
30 S. Park St.
Bedford, OH 44146
(440) 232-0796

Price: Free

Constructed in the Second Empire Style, the 1874 Town Hall of Bedford is a treasure trove of interesting artifacts including historic home, farm and business tools, home furnishings, military uniforms, small arms, office equipment, clothing and more. The building is home to the Town Hall Museum housing the major collections, library, archives and general offices of the Historical Society. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. The building also houses an extensive 12,000-volume library with special emphasis on Ohio history as well as 1,000 books on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War as well as the official archives of Bedford and the surrounding area. Lastly, the Genealogy section houses numerous published books on local families, local newspaper obituaries and death notices and military records of residents who served during the Civil War, War with Spain, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict.

Mark Horning is a freelance writer covering all things Cleveland. His work can be found on

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