Seven U.S. presidents were born in Ohio, and thanks to the efforts of volunteers, private foundations and the Ohio Historical Society, many of their homes are still intact and operate as museums.
Rutherford B. Hayes chose Fremont, Ohio as the spot for Spiegel Grove, his rural retreat. Spiegel Grove’s 31-room mansion has been on my “Places to see in Ohio” bucket list for years. Mostly, I was interested in the traditional Easter Egg roll.
President Rutherford B. Hayes moved the Easter Egg roll to the South Lawn of the White House in 1878 when he was in office. When Andrew Johnson was president, he started the egg roll tradition on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.
The Egg Roll at Speigel Grove is an annual event in honor of Rutherford B. Hayes and this beloved American tradition. It’s a terrific way to celebrate spring besides.
Last year, I was able to cross Spiegel Grove off my bucket list when my family and I headed there so my son could participate in the Egg Roll. At age 10, it was his last chance.
Along with the Egg Roll that included other contests and a parade around the grounds, we took a tour of Spiegel Grove and visited the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, a museum that traces the life and accomplishments of the 19th president of the United States. His wife Lucy Webb Hayes and his children are also prominently featured in the exhibits.
Because Hayes’s presidency was during a pivotal time in both the United States and elsewhere, a visit to the museum is a wonderful history lesson that takes in Reconstruction after the Civil War, the Panama Canal, Nez Perce, Ponca and Sioux Indians, and the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
The tour of Hayes’s and Lucy’s mansion is also a wonderful trip back in time where workmanship and innovation made this house a masterpiece that was added onto as the Hayes’ family’s needs changed. Hayes and his family returned to Spiegel Grove after his presidency.
Whether you visit Spiegel Grove for the Easter Egg roll or at another time, the trip to this is worth it. Check Spiegel Grove’s website for special events and activities that happen throughout the year.
The egg roll typically happens on Saturday around Easter. The event is free.
If you go:
Tours of both the mansion and the Presidential Center are available year-round. Visitors can tour one or both.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday
9 a.m.-5 p.m. (HOME tours are on the half hour; the last at 4 p.m)
Sundays & holidays noon-5 p.m. (HOME tours are on the half hour; Library closed )
Closed on Monday, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Admission – Adult admission to both museums, $13. For just one: $7.50; children, 6-12 are $5 for both and $3 for just one. There is discount admission for AAA members, senior citizens, and active military and their families.
Admission to the Hayes Research Library is free.
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420-2796
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of the Midwest Travel Writers’ Association