Skeleton key from 1890 still opens James Garfield’s tomb

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
The key to history is in the hands of Lake View Cemetery president Katharine Goss. With the 128-year-old skeleton key in hand, she will unlock the tomb of James A. Garfield, the nation's 20th president, for the 2018 season.

"Coincidentally, the tomb opens on Easter," Goss said earlier in the week as groundskeepers put in the last hours, and clean out every nook and cranny for the upcoming season.

The memorial to America's second president to be assassinated brings upwards of 40,000 visitors to Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery annually.

"This presidential site is one of the most elaborate Presidential burial sites in the United States," Goss said. "There isn't any other president who has something this elaborate," Goss added while standing in the tomb that contains a 17-foot tall white marble statue and a flag-draped casket.

The Garfield Monument stands 180 feet tall and is constructed of Berea Sandstone.

128-year-old skeleton key in hand she will unlock the tomb of James A. Garfield, the nation’s 20th president.

The Garfield Monument was designed by architect George Keller, the Garfield Monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1890.

The memorial to America’s second president to be assassinated brings upwards of 40,000 visitors to Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery annually.

17-foot tall white marble statue stands in the tomb sculpted by Alexander Doyle

Stained glass windows and window like panes represent the original 13 colonies, plus the state of Ohio, along with panels depicting War and Peace.

“This presidential site is one of the most elaborate Presidential burial sites in the United States,” Goss said. “There isn’t any other president who has something this elaborate,”

The American flag draped casket is the only Presidential casket on full display.

Mrs. Garfield’s casket is also located in the crypt. The remains of their daughter Mary (Molly), and her husband, Joseph Stanley Brown, are in the two urns located in front of the Garfield’s’ caskets.

The tomb was dedicated in 1890 and the key that opens the door is still in use.

Visitors can view the former president's casket in the crypt, tour the white marble statue on the ground floor or hike the 64 steps to the upstairs balcony which reportedly provides a view of Lake Erie on a clear day.

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