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kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 29 2014, 08:33

Presidential Places: The William Henry Harrison Monument

On the morning of August 22nd of last year, following a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, I set out in search of William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States, and the president with the shortest time in the chair. (He was president for an all too brief 31 days in 1841.) It was quite a search, between the fact that my rental car did not come with a GPS, and because I was taken off of the route I had mapped out on Google Maps due to road construction and detours. The site I was looking for was the William Henry Harrison Monument (and Tomb) located in North Bend, Ohio, about 30 miles north west of Cincinnati on a site overlooking the scenic Ohio River. I overshot the mark the first time, went back to Cincinnati and retraced my steps, reading the detour signs correctly the second time. Though Harrison has not yet had a significant museum built in his honor, the site was still quite impressive, and had quite a bit of information on the man affectionately known as "Old Tippecanoe."

Of course I snapped some pictures for you, which can be found behind the cut.

In Search of William Henry Harrison (and a creepy story too)Collapse )
I have subsequently learned that there is a museum in a nearby community that has a Harrison display indoors. Despite this oversight and despite lacking the time to cross the river to see Zachary Taylor's monument and tomb in nearby Kentucky, it was still a great trip. On the menu was a heaping helping of Taft, some Harrison, and a little bit of Garfield on the side, as well as some great additions to my potus_geeks library at the Ohio Book Company book store.
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 28 2014, 08:29

Presidential Places: The Rutherford Hayes Presidential Center

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center is a collection of several buildings paying tribute to the life and presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes. It is located in Fremont, Ohio, and it contains the Rutherford B. Hayes Museum and Library and Spiegel Grove, an estate encompassing the Hayes home. Opened in 1916, the Rutherford B. Hayes Center Library was the first presidential library to be opened for a 19th-century president. The Center is supported by the privately funded Ohio Historical Society and Hayes Presidential Center Inc.

rutherford_b_hayes_museum_library

The library holds the 12,000 volume personal library of Rutherford B. Hayes, as well as materials relating to his military and political career, expecially from his presidency from 1877 to 1881. It also contains 70,000 volumes plus newspapers and journals from the time of the Civil War to the eve of World War I. The library was built by the state of Ohio in 1916, and was expanded in 1922 and in 1968. Stephen A. Hayes, the great-great grandson of President Hayes, is the President of the Board of Trustees for the Presidential Center.

The library has a special interest in the history of the U.S. from 1850 to 1917, especially the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Spanish-American War, railroad, education, African-American history and relations between the government and First Nations. The history of Ohio and of the Sandusky River Valley and the Northwest are of interest. There is a large genealogical collection. The library contains history books on nearly every county of Ohio, but also on counties of many other states of the U.S. Some materials are also available online. Currently there is an exhibit about the War of 1812.

HayesCabinet

In 1996 the Associated Press humorously reported that a real estate company in Florida had sent a computerized letter to the Hayes Center, apparently inviting the former president to buy a condominium. It read: "Rutherford, we're excited for you!" The director of the center graciously turned down the offer on behalf of the late President.

Following is more information on this facility:

Website: http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/

Location: at the corner of Hayes and Buckland Avenues in Fremont, Ohio. As the webite states, "we have no house number, only 'Spiegel Grove,' which can be entered in a Google Maps search."

Hours of Operation: Closed on Mondays, 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. The Library is closed on Sundays.
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 27 2014, 09:48

Presidential Places: The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

In August of 2012 I spent a week at Galveston Beach, Texas, a beautiful spot east of Houston on the Gulf Coast. One day I gave in to my potus_geeks side and drove to College Station, Texas to see the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Because it's summer and I'm feeling a bit lazy, please permit me to repost what I wrote last year about this terrific Presidential Library dedicated to one of my favorite presidents.

Bush01

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on a 90-acre parcel of land on the west campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The facility was dedicated on November 6, 1997 and opened to the public shortly thereafter. It was designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum. The Bush Library and Museum is situated on a plaza adjoining the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center and the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum lists as its mission the goal of preserving and making available for research the official records, personal papers and artifacts of President George H.W. Bush, "to support democracy, promote civic education and increase historical understanding of our national experience through the life and times of George Bush." The archives contain more than 44 million pages of personal papers and official documents, as well as personal records from associates connected with President Bush's public career as Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Records are housed in acid-free storage (Hollinger) boxes in a balanced humidity and temperature atmosphere. The archival storage area houses 13,000 cubic feet of records and the library has a National Security vault holding 3,500 cubic feet of Presidential Records. In addition to memorabilia, speeches, and reports found in the textual collection, there is an extensive audio-visual and photographic archive that includes approximately 2 million photographs and thousands of hours of audio and video tape. The museum has almost 17,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and 3,000 square feet of temporary exhibit space.

Like many other presidential libraries, this facility contains a replica of the Oval Office. Unlike those presidential libraries, visitors can enter the office, sit behind the president's desk, and have a souvenir photo taken. Speaking of photos, behind the cut are some of ones I took on my visit there last August.

Going to the Bush 41 MuseumCollapse )

Following is more information on this most impressive facility:

Webpage: http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/

Location: 1000 George Bush Dr W, College Station, Texas

Hours of operation: Monday through Saturday - 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 noon - 5 p.m.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bushlibrary

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/thebushlibrary

Twitter: @BushLibrary
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 26 2014, 08:14

Presidential Places: The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

The legacy of President James Monroe is remembered in the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library. This facility is located on Charles Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is owned by the state of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington. It is home to the nation’s largest collection of artifacts and documents related to the fifth president. First opened in 1927 by Monroe descendants as a place to house their personal collections of Monroe memorabilia, the museum belongs to the American Association of Museums.

MonroeMuseum

The museum includes a display of dresses worn by first lady Elizabeth Monroe. Outside there is a memorial garden to James Monroe, which features a bust of him sculpted by Margaret French Cresson. I haven't yet had the privilege of visiting this museum, but I plan to someday, because Monroe is included in my personal list of favorite presidents.

Here is more information about the museum:

Website: http://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/

Location: 908 Charles Street, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. During the months of December, January and February, the museum closes at 4 p.m. each day.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Monroe-Museum-and-Memorial-Library/177543148635

Twitter: @JMonroeMuseum
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 25 2014, 08:12

Presidential Places: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

In August of 2010, I had the privilege of visiting the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Dealey Plaza is of course the place where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. The museum at Dealey Plaza is located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building (formerly known as the Texas School Book Depository). The museum contains displays about the life, death, and legacy of President Kennedy. It is located on the same floor containing the very spot from which Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, according to the Warren Commission and three other government investigations.

2010KS044

The museum's exhibition area uses historic films, photographs, artifacts and interpretive displays to document the events of the assassination, the reports by government investigations that followed, and Kennedy's historical legacy. Visitors are provided with a head-set which contains a recording of a self-directed tour. I was disappointed to learn that picture-taking inside of the museum was not allowed. The museum is self-sufficient in funding. It relies solely on donations and ticket sales and it rents the space from the County of Dallas.

The museum opened its doors on February 20, 1989, which coincidentally was Presidents' Day.
In December 1999, the Zapruder family donated copyright to the Zapruder film to The Sixth Floor Museum, along with one of the first-generation copies made on November 22, 1963, and some other copies of the film. The Zapruder family no longer retains any copyrights to the film, which are now controlled entirely by the museum. I won't get into the subject of conspiracy theories, other than to say that it is the Zapruder film which leaves me personally convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone.

On February 19, 2007, previously unreleased 8 mm film footage of Kennedy's motorcade, which was donated to the museum by George Jefferies and his son-in-law, was shown publicly for the first time. The 40-second film is silent and in color. It shows the motorcade before the assassination, as well as part of Dealey Plaza the following day.

A museum webcam features a live view from the sniper spot.

Behind the cut is the journal entry I made in my own journal the day after my visit, along with some pictures that I took.

My visit to Dealey PlazaCollapse )

Following is more information about this venue:

Website: http://www.jfk.org/

Location: 411 Elm Street, Dallas, Texas

Hours of Operation: Monday: Noon to 6 p.m.
Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Last tickets are sold at 5:15 p.m.

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dallas-TX/The-Sixth-Floor-Museum-at-Dealey-Plaza/162271023873

Twitter: @SixthFlrMuseum
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 24 2014, 08:31

Remembering the Little Magician and the Martin Van Buren Historic Site

On July 24, 1862 (154 years ago today), Martin Van Buren, the 8th President of the United States and the first President from New York, died in the same community where he was born, Kinderhook, New York, at the age of 79.



Kinderhook is about 23 miles south of Albany, New York. Martin's father Abraham Van Buren was a farmer who had six slaves. Abraham was also a tavern-keeper in Kinderhook and supported the American Revolution and later the Jeffersonian Republicans. Martin Van Buren's mother was Maria Van Alen (née Hoes) Van Buren.

Van Buren was the first president born as a citizen of the United States, as all previous presidents were born before the American Revolution. His great-great-great-grandfather Cornelis Maessen van Buren had come to America in 1631 from the small city of Buren, Dutch Republic, in present day Netherlands. Van Buren grew up in a Dutch-speaking community. His native language was Dutch, and he was the only President who spoke English as a second language.

Van Buren became involved in politics at the age of 17, and was a supporter of Aaron Burr. He became a lawyer and served as Attorney General of New York from 1815 to 1819, a US Senator from New York from 1821 to 1828 and Governor of New York for 3 months in 1829 before being selected by President Andrew Jackson as his Secretary of State. Van Buren won Jackson's approval by his courtesy to Peggy Eaton, wife of Secretary of War John H. Eaton, with whom the wives of the cabinet officers (led by Vice President John C. Calhoun's wife, Floride Calhoun) had refused to associate, in what was known as "the Petticoat Affair." Jackson picked Van Buren as his Vice-President for his second term and then chose him as his successor in the election of 1836.

As President, VanBuren did not want the United States to annex Texas. His administration was mostly remembered for the severe economic recession of his time, known as "the Panic of 1837". Van Buren paid the price for his predecessor's war with the Bank of the United States and Jackson's decision to rescind the Bank's Charter. Van Buren was unfairly scapegoated for the depression and was pejoratively called "Martin Van Ruin" by his political opponents. Van Buren lost his bid for reelection to Whig candidate William Henry Harrison.

Upon leaving the White House, Van Buren returned to his estate, Lindenwald in Kinderhook, where he planned on a return to the White House. When the Democratic convention began in 1844, Van Buren was at first considered to be the front runner. But he sunk his changes with a famous letter of April 27, 1844, in which he opposed the immediate annexation of Texas. At the Democratic convention in Baltimore, he had a majority of the votes, but not the two-thirds which the convention required, and after eight ballots his name was withdrawn. James K. Polk received the nomination instead.

In 1848, Van Buren was nominated by two minor parties, first by the "Barnburner" faction of the Democrats, then by the Free Soilers, with whom the "Barnburners" later merged. He didn't win any electoral votes, but took enough votes in New York to give the state—and perhaps the election—to Zachary Taylor. In the election of 1860, he voted for the fusion ticket in New York which was opposed to Abraham Lincoln, but he was critical of President Buchanan's course in dealing with secession and eventually supported Lincoln.



Van Buren then retired to his home in Kinderhook. After being bedridden with a case of pneumonia during the fall of 1861, Martin Van Buren died of bronchial asthma and heart failure at his Lindenwald estate in Kinderhook at 2:00 a.m. on July 24, 1862. He is buried in the Kinderhook Cemetery along with his wife Hannah, his parents, and his son Martin Van Buren, Jr. Van Buren outlived his four immediate successors as President (William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor).

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site is administered by the United States National Park Service and is located 20 miles south of Albany, New York, and two miles south of the village of Kinderhook, New York in Columbia County. The National Historic Site preserves the Van Buren estate and thirty-six room mansion. Van Buren purchased the estate, which he named Lindenwald, in 1839 during his one term as President and it became his home and farm during his retirement.

Van Buren ran two United States Presidential campaigns from Lindenwald. In 1844, he based his unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination at the estate, and in 1848, in opposition to the extension of slavery into territories captured from Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American War, Van Buren ran for President for the Free Soil Party, once again directing his campaign from Lindenwald. Many believe that Van Buren's campaign drew enough votes away from the Democratic nominee, Lewis Cass, to allow Whig candidate Zachary Taylor to prevail.

Van Buren named his estate Lindenwald, which is German for "linden wood", after the Linden trees lining the Albany-to-New York Post Road, which still runs past the front of the home. Van Buren passed away at Lindenwald.

Lindenwald

Following is more information about the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site:

Website: http://www.nps.gov/mava/index.htm

Location: 1013 Old Post Rd, Kinderhook, NY

Hours of Operation: seven days-a-week from mid-May to October 31. The Visitor Center is open daily from from 9:00am to 4:30pm.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Martin-Van-Buren-National-Historic-Site/143529559014119

Twitter: @OKKinderhookRG
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 23 2014, 08:13

Remembering Ulysses Grant/Grant's Tomb

On July 23, 1885 (129 years ago today) Ulysses Grant, the 18th President of the United States, died at Mount McGregor, New York, at the age of 63. His love of cigars had caught up with him and throat cancer had claimed another victim. He was born with the name Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822 at Point Pleasant, Ohio. When he was 17, Grant was nominated by Congressman Thomas L. Hamer for a position at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Hamer mistakenly nominated him as "Ulysses S. Grant of Ohio." At West Point, he adopted this name with a middle initial only. His nickname became "Sam" among army colleagues at the academy, since the initials "U.S." stood for "Uncle Sam". The "S", according to Grant, did not "stand for anything", though Hamer had used it to abbreviate Grant's mother's maiden name.



Grant fought in the Mexican War as a Lieutenant, but left the army after the war. He experienced a series of business failures and reluctantly went to work for his father. When the Civil War began, he accepted a position offered by Illinois Governor Richard Yates to recruit and train volunteer units, but what Grant really wanted was a field command in the regular Army. He made multiple efforts to acquire such a position with no success. Grant was promoted to Colonel by Governor Yates on June 14, 1861, and put in charge of the unruly Twenty-first Illinois Volunteer Regiment. A victory at the capture of Fort Donelson enhanced Grant's military reputation and he was ultimately put in command of the Union Army by President Abraham Lincoln, who said of Grant "I like this man, he fights." Under Grant, the Union Army defeated the Confederate army and effectively ended the war with the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army at Appomattox.

Grant was elected president in 1872 and he led the Radical Republicans in their effort to eliminate all vestiges of slavery. He waged a successful suppression of the Ku Klux Klan in 1871. As president, he enforced Reconstruction by enforcing civil rights laws and fighting Klan violence. Grant won passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, giving constitutional protection for African American voting rights. He used the army to build the Republican Party in the South by protecting the rights of freedmen. As a result, African Americans were represented in the U.S. Congress for the first time in American history in 1870.

Grant's reputation as president by 1873 was at an all time high. But his reputation was marred by his repeated defense of corrupt appointees, and by the deep economic depression (called the "Panic of 1873") that dominated his second term. Although his Republican Party split in 1872 with reformers denouncing him, Grant was easily reelected. By 1874 the opposition was gaining strength and when he left the White House in March 1877, federal troops were withdrawn from the south, and white southerners regained control of every state in the south as reconstruction ended on a note of failure with the civil rights of African-Americans left unprotected.

After leaving office, Grant embarked on a two-year world tour that included many enthusiastic royal receptions. In 1880, he made an unsuccessful bid for a third presidential term. The trip around the world, although successful, was costly. When Grant returned to America, he had depleted most of his savings from the long trip and needed to earn money. He became a principal in the establishment of the new Mexican Southern Railroad Co., which failed. In 1881, Grant purchased a house in New York City and at the suggestion of his son Buck, and he placed almost all of his financial assets into Grant & Ward, the investment banking partnership which his son had established with Ferdinand Ward. In 1884, Ward swindled Grant and other investors who had been encouraged by Grant, bankrupted the company, and fled. Although he was short on funds himself, Grant was compelled by a sense of personal honor and with a personal loan of $150,000 from William H. Vanderbilt, he repaid those swindled by Ward, and repaid the loan by selling his Civil War mementos. Although the market value did not completely cover the loan, Vanderbilt insisted the loan was paid in full. The matter left Grant financially destitute.

Grant learned in 1884 that he was suffering from throat cancer. He had forfeited his military pension when he assumed the Presidency, but Congress subsequently restored Grant to the rank of General of the Army with full retirement pay. At the suggestion of Robert Johnson, Grant wrote several articles on his Civil War campaigns for The Century Magazine at $500 each. The articles were well received by critics, and Johnson suggested Grant write a book of memoirs, as Sherman and others had successfully done. Grant took up the project. Century offered Grant a book contract, including a 10% royalty. When Grant shared this information with his friend Mark Twain, Twain suggested that Grant counter with a request for double the royalty; at the same time, he made his own offer to Grant for his memoirs, talking of a 75% royalty. Grant ultimately decided on Twain's company, Charles L. Webster and Co., as his publisher. His son Fred assisted primarily with references and proofing. Grant finished his memoir just a few days before his death. They sold 350,000 two-volume sets at prices from $3.50 to $12 (depending on the binding). Each copy contained what looked like a handwritten note from Grant himself. In the end, Grant's widow Julia received about $450,000.



Grant died of throat cancer at the age of 63 in Mount McGregor. His last words were, "I hope that nobody will be distressed on my account." After lying in state, Grant's body was placed on a funeral train and traveled via West Point to New York City. His body lies in New York City's Riverside Park, beside that of his wife, in Grant's Tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America. Grant is also honored by the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial at the base of Capitol Hill in Washington.

Grant's Tomb, or as Congress named it, the General Grant National Memorial, is located on the upper west side of Manhattan in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Grant's Tomb, is a mausoleum containing the remains of the Grants and a museum that recalls the career of the General/President. The tomb complex is a presidential memorial managed by the National Park Service. The structure is situated in a prominent location in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River. When Grant died, Mayor Grace of New York City wrote a letter to prominent New Yorkers to gather support for a National Monument in Grant’s honor. The letter read as follows:

Dear Sir:
In order that the City of New York, which is to be the last resting place of General Grant, should initiate a movement to provide for the erection of a National Monument to the memory of the great soldier, and that she should do well and thoroughly her part, I respectfully request you to as one of a Committee to consider ways and means for raising the quota to be subscribed by the citizens of New York City for this object, and beg that you will attend a meeting to be held at the Mayor’s office on Tuesday next, 28 inst., at three o’clock.


This meeting was attended by 85 New Yorkers, and a Committee on Organization was struck. The chairman of the Committee was former President Chester A. Arthur and the secretary was Richard T. Greener. This organization would come to be known as the Grant Monument Association (GMA).

The idea of a monument in Grant’s honor drew strong public support. Western Union donated $5,000 on July 29, 1885 when the committee announced its proposal. The GMA continued to receive donations. Early fundraising efforts were hampered by negative publicity from out of state press. This was partly the result of scandals which occurred during the Grant administration and partly because some thought that the monument should be in Washington D.C. Mayor Grace tried to calm the controversy by publicly releasing Mrs. Grant's letter favoring the New York site as the resting place for her husband. Mrs. Grant wrote:

"Riverside was selected by myself and my family as the burial place of my husband, General Grant. First, because I believed New York was his preference. Second, it is near the residence that I hope to occupy as long as I live, and where I will be able to visit his resting place often. Third, I have believed, and am now convinced, that the tomb will be visited by as many of his countrymen there as it would be at any other place. Fourth, the offer of a park in New York was the first which observed and unreservedly assented to the only condition imposed by General Grant himself, namely, that I should have a place by his side.”

Fundraising for the site was slow at first. On February 4, 1888, the GMA publicly announced the details of a design competition and the GMA cut the budget for the the cost of the monument in half, from $1,000,000 to $500,000. The deadline for all designs was rescheduled three times with a final date of January 10, 1889. The winner of the contest was architect John Hemenway Duncan. The structure was meant to be the epitome of reverence and respect. He estimated his design would cost between $496,000 and $900,000.

By 1890, the GMA had a defined design and architect. The debate over the location of the monument reopened in Congress and in October 1890 a U.S. senator introduced legislation to have the sarcophagi placed at a monument in Washington D.C. The legislation did not pass but the debate continued until June 1891 when it was finally decided that the monument would be built in New York City. The GMA hired a contractor named John T. Brady and construction began that summer. Construction proceeded on schedule until the GMA asked Duncan to alter his design in the spring of 1892 due to the GMA's inability to raise the sufficient funds. By 1896 all work on the outside of the tomb was close to complete. The monument was completed in time for the 75th anniversary ceremony of Grant’s birth on April 27, 1897.

In the 1930s maintenance of the tomb was funded from the Works Progress Administration. Toward the end of the 1930s a project began to restore a section of the monument with battle flags displayed in trophy cases, and murals of the wars Grant had fought in were painted on the walls. In 1938 the Federal Art Project selected artists William Mues and Jeno Juszko to design the busts of William T. Sherman, Phillip H. Sheridan, George H. Thomas, James B. McPherson, and Edward Ord. The WPA installed five busts in the crypt around the sarcophagi.

In 1958 the National Park Service (NPS) was granted authority to oversee the monument. When the NPS first assumed authority over the tomb, they had no program for the site, which led to negligent upkeep. By the 1970s the Tomb was marred by vandalism and graffiti. The abuse of the monument continued until renewed restoration efforts began in the early 1990s.

In 1994 the monument's poor condition caught the attention of two Illinois state lawmakers who sponsored a resolution to compel the National Park Service to meet their obligations in maintaining and restoring Grant's tomb, failing which, the tomb be transported to the state of Illinois. In 1994 the United States House of Representatives introduced legislation to, "restore, complete, and preserve in perpetuity the Grant's Tomb National Memorial and surrounding areas." The legislation set by the U.S. House of Representatives required that the restoration be completed by April 27, 1997, the Tomb's 100th anniversary and Grant's 175th birthday. On April 27, 1997, the restoration effort sanctioned by Congress was completed and the tomb rededicated.

I got a chance to visit Grant's Tomb on July 2, 2009, and found it to be a fascinating place. Following is more information about Grant's Tomb:

Website: http://www.nps.gov/gegr/index.htm

Location: General Grant National Memorial is in Riverside Park in Manhattan. The entrance of Grant's Tomb is near the intersection of Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street

Hours of Operation: Thursday through Monday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The mausoleum is open to visitors, Thursday through Monday, at the following times:

10:00 AM-11:00 AM
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
4:00 PM-5:00 PM


Free talks are available to the public at the visitor center, Thursday through Monday, at the following times:

11:15 AM, 1:15 PM, and 3:15 PM.

The site is closed every Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25).
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 22 2014, 08:20

Presidential Places: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of President Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. The library is located in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. It is the largest of the thirteen federally operated presidential libraries. The street address is 40 Presidential Drive, numbered in honor of Reagan's place as the 40th President. I visited this library on April 30, 2006, and was highly impressed with this site.



Originally, the plan was to build the Reagan Library at Stanford University, and an agreement was reached with the university in 1984. Those plans were canceled in 1987, and the freestanding site in Simi Valley was chosen in place of Stanford the same year. Construction of the library began in 1988, and the center was dedicated on November 4, 1991. The dedication ceremonies were the first time in United States history that five United States Presidents gathered together in the same place: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan himself, and George H. W. Bush. Six First Ladies also attended: Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush. Only Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did not attend.

At the time when the Reagan Library opened, it was the largest of the presidential libraries, with approximately 153,000 sq ft. It held that ranking until the dedication of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 18, 2004. But when the 90,000-square-foot Air Force One Pavilion opened in October 2005, the Reagan Library reclaimed the title in terms of physical size, although the Clinton Library remains the largest presidential library in terms of materials (documents, artifacts, photographs, etc.).

 photo 04_Five-Presidents-copy.jpg

Like all presidential libraries since that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Reagan Library was built entirely with private donations, at a cost of US$60 million. Major donors included Walter Annenberg, Lew Wasserman, Lodwrick Cook, Joe Albritton, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Sills, and John P. McGovern.

The Reagan Library is the repository of presidential records for Reagan’s administration. Holdings include 50 million pages of presidential documents, over 1.6 million photographs, a half million feet of motion picture film and tens of thousands of audio and video tapes. The Library also houses personal papers collections including documents from Reagan’s eight years as Governor of California.

The museum exhibits begin during Reagan's childhood in Dixon, Illinois and follows his life through his film career and military service, marriage to Nancy Davis Reagan, and political career. His 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns are also highlighted, as well as his inauguration suit and a table from the White House Situation Room is on display. News footage of the 1981 assassination attempt on his life is shown, and information about the proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, colloquially known as "Star Wars") is also included. A full-scale replica of Reagan's Oval Office is included as well.

The hilltop grounds provide expansive views of the area and contains a piece of the Berlin Wall. An F-14 Tomcat is also located on the grounds. President Reagan's final resting place is located overlooking this view.

A 90,000-square-foot exhibit hangar serves as the setting for the permanent display of the Boeing 707 aircraft utilized as Air Force One during Reagan's administration. The aircraft, SAM 27000, was also used by six other presidents in its active service life from 1973–2001, including Richard Nixon during his second term, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. The aircraft was flown to San Bernardino International Airport in September 2001, where it was presented to the Reagan Foundation. Boeing, the plane's manufacturer, disassembled the plane and transported it to the library in pieces. After the construction of the foundation of the pavilion itself, the plane was reassembled and restored to museum quality. The pavilion was dedicated on October 24, 2005, by Nancy Reagan, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The plane is part of a comprehensive display about presidential travel that also includes a Johnson-era Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King helicopter, call sign Marine One, and a presidential motorcade — Reagan's 1984 presidential parade limousine, a 1982 Los Angeles Police Department police car (as well as two 1980s police motorcycles), and a 1986 Secret Service vehicle used in one of President Reagan's motorcades in Los Angeles.

The pavilion is also home to the original O'Farrell's pub from Ballyporeen in the Republic of Ireland that President and Mrs. Reagan visited in June 1984, now called the "Ronald Reagan Pub." The pavilion has been used on several occasions as the venue for televised Republican Party primary-related debates.

Following is more information about the Reagan Library:

Website: http://www.reaganfoundation.org/

Address: 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, California

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week. Closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RonaldReagan

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/reaganfoundation

Twitter: @RonaldReagan40
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 21 2014, 08:21

Presidential Places: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Last fall when I was at a conference in San Diego, I had planned a day to drive to Yorba Linda to see the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Unfortunately it was during the government shutdown, so I didn't go. I visited it once before in 2006, but was disappointed that they would not permit picture taking inside. I don't know if that has changed or not, but someday I will go back and visit it again.

entrance_NL

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is both the presidential library as well as the final resting place of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. It is located in Yorba Linda, California, and is one of 13 administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It was officially opened in 1990, and it became a federal facility on July 11, 2007. Previously, the library and museum were operated by the Richard Nixon Foundation. The 9-acre campus is located at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard in Yorba Linda and incorporates the Richard Nixon Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark where Nixon was born in 1913 and spent his childhood.

In September 1974, Richard Nixon made an agreement with the head of the General Services Administration, Arthur F. Sampson, to turn over most materials from his presidency, including tape recordings of conversations he had made in the White House. However, under the agreement, the recordings were to be destroyed after September 1, 1979, if directed by Nixon or upon his death. Congress abrogated the agreement by passing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, which was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in December 1974. It allowed the National Archives and Records Administration to take ownership of the materials and process them as quickly as possible. Private materials were to be returned to Nixon. As a result of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act, President Nixon's White House papers and tapes were held by the National Archives.

Funding to build the Nixon Library came from private sources. The estimated cost to build the institution was $25 million. Ground was broken by Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Nixon's daughter, in December 1988.

The original library and birthplace was officially dedicated on July 19, 1990. Former President Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were present, as were President George H. W. Bush, former President Gerald Ford, former President Ronald Reagan, and first ladies Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan. A crowd of 50,000 attended the ceremony. At the dedication, Nixon said, "Nothing we have ever seen matches this moment, to be welcomed home again."

LibraryOpening

The President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter is on permanent display at this facility. Richard Nixon's birthplace as well as the graves of President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon are also located on the library grounds. The museum, contained in a 52,000-square-foot building, offers a narrative of Nixon's life and career. Behind the museum is his birthplace, which was constructed by Nixon's father using a homebuilding kit, and restored to appear as it was in the 1910s. President Nixon and Pat Nixon are buried on the grounds, just a few feet from the birthplace.

The Nixon Library compound also contains the Katharine B. Loker Center and Annenberg Court, a 38,000-square-foot wing built in 2004, which includes a special exhibit room and an exact replica of the East Room of the White House. The Nixon Foundation leases the East Room for events such as weddings and business meetings.

There is an extensive collection of memorabilia, artifacts, formal clothing, and photographs of the Nixons and their children. This collection includes an assortment of bronze figures of world leaders who had important relations with Nixon as president or during his service as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. The leaders have been accurately recreated in lightweight bronze over a papier-mâché frame. The U.S. government limousine used by President Nixon throughout his presidency, a customized 1969 Lincoln Continental, is also on display in the domestic affairs gallery. A 12 feet piece of the Berlin Wall is exhibited in the expansive foreign affairs gallery, which also includes statues of Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and pages of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I signed by Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972.

Lieutenant Colonel Gene Boyer, President Nixon's chief helicopter pilot, secured the President's VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter, tail number 150617, to be on permanent display on the library grounds. The helicopter was in the presidential fleet from 1961 to 1976, transporting Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, and many foreign heads of state and government. Boyer flew President Nixon dozens of times to Camp David, over the pyramids in Egypt, and on his final flight from the White House in this aircraft.

In January 2004, the United States Congress passed legislation that provided for the establishment of a federally operated Nixon Presidential Library. The legislation amended the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974. Under this new legislation, over 30,000 presidential gifts as well as millions of presidential records were moved to Yorba Linda.

In March 2005, the Nixon Foundation invited the National Archives to jointly operate the Nixon Library, and the Nixon Library became the twelfth federally funded presidential library. It is operated and staffed by National Archives and Records Administration in conjunction with the Nixon Foundation. In April 2006, Timothy Naftali was appointed director of the Library. On July 11, 2007, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum was officially welcomed into the federal presidential library system. Before the National Archives took over its management, the Nixon Library had been accused by several media outlets of glossing over Nixon's 1974 resignation with "whitewashed" exhibits. In 2007, the National Archives removed the Watergate exhibit that had been in place for 17 years and, after three years of empty exhibit space, announced that the new exhibit was scheduled to open in July 2010. The Nixon Foundation objected to the proposed exhibit because it felt that it was not properly consulted. The exhibit opened on March 31, 2011. In November 2011, the director of the library, Tim Naftali, resigned his position. As of last month, there is still no library director.

The archives, which opened in March 1994, house approximately 46 million pages of official White House records from the Nixon Administration. The Nixon Library now holds all of President Nixon's presidential as well as his pre- and post-presidential papers. As of 2012, all processed Nixon presidential materials are available for research use at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. The National Archives in College Park maintains a small number of reference copies of Nixon White House tapes and White House Communications Agency (WHCA) videotapes. These are duplicates of material available for research in Yorba Linda.

Following is more information on this venue:

Website: http://www.nixonlibrary.gov/

Location: 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, California

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NixonPresidentialLibrary

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RichardNixonLibrary
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 20 2014, 08:52

Presidential Places: The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

Two years ago in late August I visited the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, located in Canton, Ohio. The library is owned and operated by the Stark County Historical Society. Canton is where McKinley built his career as lawyer, prosecuting attorney, congressman, governor and president.

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The library is adjacent to the McKinley Monument, where the William and Ida McKinley are entombed. The library contains a large collection of McKinley artifacts and chronicles McKinley's life and career from his birth to his death at the hands of an assassin. The exhibit also explores the construction of the McKinley National Memorial and the unfortunate fate of the McKinley’s Canton home, destroyed by fire in 1937.

As for the Museum itself it boasts a science center with some wildlife and fossils. The museum has a temporary exhibit space called the Keller gallery. The museum also has an planetarium show. The museum largely relies on volunteer staff for its operations. The current curator is Kimberly Kenney.

Behind the cut are some of the pictures I took on my visit there last summer.

The William McKinley Monument, Library and MuseumCollapse )

Following is more information about this venue:

Website: http://www.mckinleymuseum.org/

Location: 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, Ohio

Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 12:00 Noon to 4:00 p.m. Sunday

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/McKinley-Presidential-Library-Museum-Canton-Ohio/122618678228

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/McKMus

Twitter: @MckinleyMuseum
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 19 2014, 08:25

Presidential Places: The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum is, as you might expect, dedicated to the Presidency of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. It is located in West Branch, Iowa, next to the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. It is one of thirteen presidential libraries run by the National Archives and Records Administration.

HooverLib

The Hoover Library contains 32,000 square feet. It was officially opened to the public on August 10, 1962, which was Hoover's 88th birthday. Former President Hoover and Former President Harry Truman were present at the dedication. At the opening, Hoover spoke. he told the audience:

"When the members of the Congress created these presidential libraries they did a great public service. They made available for research the records of vital periods in American history, and they planted these records in the countryside instead of allowing their concentration on the seaboard. Already the three libraries of President Roosevelt, President Truman, and President Eisenhower, by their unique documentation, serve this purpose, and today we dedicate a fourth, my own. Within them are thrilling records of supreme action by the American people, their devotion and sacrifice to their ideals. Santayana rightly said: 'Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.' These institutions are the repositories of such experience, hot off the griddle. In these records there are no doubt, unfavorable remarks made by our political opponents, as well as expressions of appreciation and affection by our friends. We may hope that future students will rely upon our friends. In any event, when they become sleepy they may be awakened by the lightning flashes of American political humor."

On August 8, 1992, former President Ronald Reagan rededicated the Hoover Library. The rededication came on the heels of a massive renovation project which expanded the library to 44,500 square feet . Among the additions to the library were a 180-seat auditorium, a multi-purpose room accommodating 60, a conference room that seats 30, and a private meeting room designed for 15 people. The $8-million facelift was a public-private partnership, with Washington supplying $5 million, and the remaining $3 million being raised by the Hoover Presidential Library Association for new exhibits and educational programming.

In addition to the papers of Herbert Hoover, the manuscript holdings include those of Lewis Strauss, Gerald P. Nye, Felix Morley, Clark Mollenhoff, Robert E. Wood, Westbrook Pegler, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, among others. The Library is considered to be a center for the study of conservative journalistic thought, agricultural economics, famine relief, atomic energy, and governmental reorganization.

Located several hundred feet behind the Library are the flat white marble gravestones of President Herbert Hoover and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The Hoovers rest in a large green area, with the backing semicircle constructed of a high hedgerow. Lou Henry Hoover was originally buried in Palo Alto, California, after her death from a heart attack at only 69, but following her husband's death in 1964, she was re-interred at the Library

HSTL-dedication

The Hoover Library is located within the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, which contains Hoover's birth house and Hoover's father's blacksmith shop, and the West Branch Commercial Historic District which preserves aspects of West Branch's Main Street.

Following is more information about this venue:

Website: http://www.hoover.archives.gov/

Location: 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, Iowa

Hours of Operation: The Museum is open 7 days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the exception of New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Hoover Museum Gift Shop is open from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily. The Research Room is open from 8:45 a.m. to noon and 12:30 - 4:45 p.m. and is closed on weekends and federal holidays.
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 18 2014, 08:11

Presidential Places: Warren G. Harding House

Warren G. Harding House, also known as Harding Home, in located in Marion, Ohio and contains a museum dedicated to President Harding. It was the residence of Warren G. Harding, who was the twenty-ninth president of the United States. Harding and his future wife, Florence, designed the Queen Anne Style house in 1890, a year before their marriage. They were married there and lived there for 30 years before his election to the presidency.

HardingPorch

Following the example of James Garfield, an earlier Republican president from Ohio, Harding conducted his election campaign mainly from the house's expansive front porch. During the 3 month front porch campaign, over 600,000 people traveled to the Harding Home to listen to Warren Harding speak. Harding paid $1,000 dollars to have a Sears catalog house built behind his home so newspaper reporters had a place to type their stories. George Christian, who was Harding's next door neighbor and Press Secretary, allowed his home to be used as Republican Headquarters for the campaign.

The house is surrounded by an expansive and elaborately detailed porch. One enters the house through a reception hall, with a parlor on the left. There is also a dining room as well as Harding's office on the first floor. There are four bedrooms on the second floor along with a bathroom.

After Harding died in 1923, Florence Harding bequeathed the house to the Harding Memorial Association. The Ohio Historical Society now operates the home as a historic house museum and a memorial. The restored house contains almost all original furnishings owned by President Harding and his wife. The adjacent press house features exhibits about the lives of President and Mrs. Harding. The collection at the Harding Home contains over 5,000 original artifacts that belonged to Warren and Florence Harding.

HardingHouse

Here is more information about this venue:

Website: http://www.hardinghome.org/

Location: 380 Mount Vernon Ave. in Marion, Ohio

Hours of Operation: Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Wednesday-Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm. In September and October the home is open on the weekends from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. In November through May tours are available by advance appointment. An admission fee is charged: Adults $7, Seniors (60+) $6, Students (12-17) $4, Children (6-11) $3.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harding-Home/138207222861242
smofbabe posted to weirdjews July 17 2014, 23:58

If You're Looking for Ways to Help

Yashar Lachayal is an organization that provides supplies directly to soldiers in addition to helping needy and lone soldiers. They have been getting phone calls from commanders asking for supplies of basic items such as shirts, socks, and underwear. You can donate to their Gaza Operation Emergency Fund at https://www.yasharlachayal.org/campaigns/gaza-operation-emergency-fund/


שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם Pray for the peace of Jerusalem
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 17 2014, 08:37

Presidential Places: Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, from 1885 until his death in 1919. It is located in the Village of Cove Neck, New York, near Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island, 25 miles east of Manhattan. It's official name is now the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, which includes the Theodore Roosevelt Museum.

sagamore-hill-018

Roosevelt was a native of New York City. He was born and raised in a home still located at 28 East 20th Street in Manhattan. (In an earlier post, found here, I journalled about my visit there.) But he had a second home on Long Island. Roosevelt spent many summers of his youth on vacations with his family in the Oyster Bay area. In 1880, at the age of 22, Roosevelt purchased 155 acres of land on Cove Neck, a small peninsula roughly 2 miles northeast of the village of Oyster Bay, for the sum of $30,000. The following year, his uncle James A. Roosevelt had designed his estate home several hundred feet west of the Sagamore Hill property. In 1884 Theodore Roosevelt hired the New York architectural firm Lamb & Rich to design a shingle-style, Queen Anne home for the property.

The twenty-two room home was completed in 1886 at a cost of $16,975. Roosevelt moved into the house in 1887. Roosevelt originally planned to name the house "Leeholm" after his wife Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt. However, she died in 1884 and Roosevelt remarried in 1887, so he decided to change the name to "Sagamore Hill". Sagamore was the title of the head of an Indian tribe on Long Island.

In 1905 Roosevelt decided to expand the house, adding the largest room, called the "North Room" at a cost of $19,000. The home now has twenty-three rooms. The house and its surrounding farmland became the primary residence of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt for the rest of their lives. Sagamore Hill became known as the "Summer White House" during the seven summers that Roosevelt spent there as President. Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill in January 1919.

On July 25, 1962, Congress established Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to preserve the house as part of the National Park Service. Sagamore Hill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The home is normally open to the public by guided tour, but is currently closed for renovation until 2015. Almost all the furnishings are original. Also on the site is the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, which chronicles the life and career of the President. The museum is housed in the 1938 house called "Old Orchard", the former residence of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his family.

TRatSagamore

The grounds are presently open for visitation seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The visitors' center and museum are open Wednesday through Sunday and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Since December 5, 2011, the house closed for a $6.2 million renovation, but it is expected to open in either December of this year or sometime next year. The visitors center, museum, and adjoining grounds remain open, and tours of the grounds are still conducted.

Following is more information about Sagamore Hill"

Website: http://www.nps.gov/sahi/index.htm

Location: 12 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, NY

Hours of Operation: the house is currently closed for renovations, but the grounds and museum are open. The Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission to the building is free. The Park grounds are open every day from sunrise to sunset.
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 16 2014, 08:35

Presidential Places: The Grover Cleveland Birthdplace

Grover Cleveland (who was both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States) was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey. His parents were Richard Falley Cleveland, a Presbyterian Minister from Connecticut, and Ann Neal Cleveland from Baltimore, the daughter of a bookseller. Today the Grover Cleveland Birthplace is a New Jersey State Historic Site and National Historic Place located in Caldwell, New Jersey. It is the only house museum dedicated to Grover Cleveland.

Cleveland_Birthplace

The building is also known as the Caldwell Presbyterian Church Manse and served as a Presbyterian church parsonage for the Cleveland family while Grover's father served as a pastor of the local church. Cleveland was originally named Stephen Grover in honor of the first pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell, but he did not use the name Stephen in his adult life. The family moved to New York in 1841. A group of private citizens purchased the house in the early twentieth century to open it as a museum. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Originally, the house had a two-story main section with a one-story kitchen to the east and a one-story lean-to at the rear. It was enlarged several times between 1848-1870 to meet the growing needs of the Presbyterian clergy. The historical significance of the Manse was first noted in 1881 when Cleveland was running for Governor of New York. As his political star ascended, so did the interest in preserving his birthplace as a museum. A group of Cleveland’s friends and admirers began negotiations to purchase the Manse in 1907. Their efforts culminated in the opening of the house to the public on March 18, 1913.

Most of the first floor rooms portray the Manse as it was in 1837, the year Grover Cleveland was born. Among the artifacts on display from Cleveland’s early years are his cradle and original family portraits. The exhibit gallery features a number of artifacts from Cleveland's life during the last quarter of the 19th century. The campaign of 1884, the public’s interest in his wife and children, and America’s political climate during the "golden age" are explored.

The Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site is the only house museum in the country dedicated to the interpretation of President Cleveland’s life. It is the nation’s leading repository of Cleveland artifacts and political memorabilia. The Grover Cleveland Birthplace is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places.



Behind the Birthplace is a small Carriage House. The Grover Cleveland Memorial Association is working with architects, foundations and individuals to expand the Carriage House into a visitos center.

Following is more information about this venue:

Website: http://www.presidentcleveland.org/

Location: 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, New Jersey

Hours of Operation: Closed Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 12pm, 1pm to 4pm, Sunday 1pm to 4pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClevelandBirthplaceAssociation

Twitter: @GCBMA
kensmind posted to potus_geeks July 15 2014, 09:06

Presidential Places: Chester Alan Arthur Historic Sites

For some reason, just prior to his death, Chester Alan Arthur had all of his personal and political papers burned. This presents a challenge both to potential biographers and to those wanting to remember the man with some sort of historical sites. In spite of this, those jonesing for their fix of Chester A. Arthur memorabililia have a couple of options.

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The State of Vermont operates the Chester Alan Arthur Historic Site at Fairfield, Vermont. The site is only open for tourists from July 4 through Octotober 13, this year, and then it's only open on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and Monday holidays, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The good news is that admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The site is located at 4588 Chester Arthur Road in Fairfield, a small village that can be reached from the west by taking Route 36 from St. Albans and traveling about seven miles to Fairfield. At the small village of Fairfield, one heads north and bear right after approximately one mile and then continues five miles to the Historic Site on a road that becomes a gravel road. To reach the site from the east, one takes Route 108 and approximately 4 miles from either Bakersfield or Enosburg, one proceeds west on a gravel road approximately two miles to the Historic Site.

chester-alan-arthur-historic

The site contains Arthur's birthplace, as well as the Fairfield Baptist Church where Arthur's father William was a Minister. It featuring an interpretive center on Arthur in a recreation of the second house in which he lived as an infant.

If you happen to be in Manhattan, you can always visit Chester Arthur House, located at 123 Lexington Avenue. is privately owned. Only the commercial space on the first floor is open to the public. The house has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

In 1853, Arthur moved to New York City, passed the bar, and joined a law firm. At about this time, he moved into his Lexington Avenue residence. After President James Garfield's death, Arthur privately took the oath of office in his New York home in the early hours of the morning. He repeated the oath two days later at the United States Capitol. In 1885, after leaving the Presidency, Chester Arthur retired to this residence. He planned to resume his legal practice, but soon became ill and never recovered his strength. He died at his home in November 1886.

ArthurNYHome

Subsequent owners have made many changes to the Lexington Avenue house after Arthur’s death. They moved the original main entrance on the first floor down to what had been the basement level, converted the first two floors into commercial space, and divided the upper floors into apartments. The front elevation has been stripped down to bare brick. On January 16, 1964, on the 81st anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Service Act by Chester Alan Arthur, the Native New Yorkers Historical Association and the New York Life Insurance Company recognized the historic significance of the house by placing a bronze plaque on the building.

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