Chicken Coop

a small beige barn building that has two windows and a door on the front
Chicken Coop at James A. Garfield National Historic Site

National Park Service

Quick Facts
James A. Garfield Mational Historic Site
1893 structure

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

On May 2, 1877 James noted that oldest son, Harry, had "made a hen-house inside the old woodshed which we had moved into the orchard." What happened to that original chicken coop was never documented, but in 1893 Mrs. Garfield constructed a new building which was located near the horse barn and granary.  

Rudolph Stanley-Brown, son of Mollie Garfield and Joseph Stanley-Brown, wrote this about the chicken coop to his father in 1893:

"The chicken house is partly made and the shingles all put on the roof, and its (sic) painted... You ought to have seen the chicken-house. Once it was brown and the other paint was light and they painted it blue(?) on the corners. The doors and windows are in on the new chicken-house, but they aren't in the old chicken-house."

Construction of the new coop was complete by November of 1893 and it was outfitted with 40-pound galvanized metal chicken troughs. The building and area around was surrounded by a six-foot net and there was an incubator, possibly from the original coop, installed as well.

In 1896, Mrs. Garfield decided again to increase the number of chickens on the farm. "I have sent off a letter to Mr. Stohl telling him to send the new Incubator and Brooder. If we are to try for chicks again, we will need two or three roosters..."

In the 1930s three of the grandson's, Jimmy, Bobby and Dick, wanted to know if chickens could float. So, the three boys decided to fill the coop with water and the chickens floated out of the coop.  

Today, remnants of the chicken coop can be seen in the concrete block remains adjacent to the parking lot.  The chicken yard was paved over for the parking lot. The original brick “patio” was recently uncovered.

To learn more about this building please listen to the site's two cell phone tours. Click here to listen to these tours.

James A Garfield National Historic Site

Last updated: January 29, 2021