Monument makeover: A look inside Lake View Cemetery’s James A. Garfield Memorial

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CLEVELAND-After more than a year and a half of extensive renovations, Fox 8 News is getting an exclusive look at the James A. Garfield Monument and tomb inside Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, and learning why America’s 20th president is so important to what’s happening today.

The monument, which was designed by architect George Keller, was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1890.

But years of harsh winters and industrial pollution had taken a toll, and water began seeping inside the grand structure.

Now the scaffolding is down, and the monument has been fully restored to its’ original glory.

“In my lifetime I never saw it any other color, it was always black,” said Kathy Goss, Lake View CEO, “It’s pretty shocking to see what happened after a good cleaning.”

Garfield was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and rose from extreme poverty, raised by a single mother after his father died to become a minister, teacher, head of a university, civil war hero, congressman and then president.

He was elected at a time when the nation was extremely divided post civil war, but he such a genuinely good person that his death united the country.

“He was the first president to appoint an African American to his cabinet, he was a very religious man and believed in equality,” said Goss.

The 180-ft tall monument cost $300,000 to build, but is worth $50-million today.

It is in fact one of the most elaborate memorials for any US President,” said Goss, “This is a result of that love for him.”

The monument is free to visit. Currently only the exterior is open, but tours inside will resume in March 2021.

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