Presidential Roots

February 16, 2015

By Tab Byrum

Happy Monday and Happy President’s Day.  I thought today we might get political, well not real political, but look at the homes of Presidents, some are from their childhoods and some are where they lived as adults.  I recently found a website run by the National Park Service that gives you information about the homes of all the former U.S. Presidents.  Of course many of these homes are now museums or part of parks that have been set aside as American historical sites.  I’ve always been a big history buff, both American and European and have been fortunate enough to have visited a few historical sites having to do with the Commander and Chief, including President Johnson’s beloved ranch in Texas, the Kennedy Library in Boston and Woodrow Wilson’s home in our nation’s capitol.

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It’s on my bucket list to visit as many Presidential Libraries as I can as well as sites like their former homes, so I was very happy to find this site run by the NPS.  Let’s have look at some of the original homes of the Presidents of the United States, click on the President’s name in orange to visit the site and learn more.  Enjoy!!!

 

George Washington & Mount Vernon

 

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Washington’s Mount Vernon is the home he built on the banks of the Potomac River, it was here that he intended to retire and enjoy the fruits of his labors of fighting the Revolutionary War and being the first President of the United States, but he died in 1799, just 2 short years after finishing his second term as President.  

James Madison & Montpelier

 

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James Madison, fourth United States President, called Montpelier home for 76 years.  The property that became the Madison estate came into possession of the Madison family in 1723.  Today you can tour Montpelier following a 5 year restoration campaign that returned the house and grounds to the way they were when President and Mrs. Madison lived there in the late 18th Century. 

Andrew Jackson & The Hermitage

 

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This Greek Revival mansion was home to the 7th President of the United States for 41 years.  Jackson fought against the British in the Revolutionary War and following the Battle of New Orleans in 1812 Jackson was a national hero.  Andrew Jackson served two terms as President and died in 1845, he and his wife Rachel are buried at The Hermitage. 

Abraham Lincoln

 

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As we all know Abraham Lincoln came from very humble beginnings, born in a log cabin, this home in Springfield, Illinois was the home that Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd occupied while he was an attorney and before his political career took off.  Lincoln did most of his campaigning for the presidency from this home, he left here in 1861 to be sworn in as President and never returned to the home, Lincoln was assassinated in April of 1865 at the age of 56. 

Benjamin Harrison Home

 

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Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States, grandson of a former President and great-grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  Harrison moved into the 16 room house in the 1870’s and lived there until his death in 1901.  Today you can visit the house/museum and visit 10 of the 16 rooms that have been decorated to recreate the time of President Harrison’s occupancy. 

Theodore Roosevelt & Sagamore Hill

 

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Sagamore Hill is the home Teddy Roosevelt built on the north shore of Long Island, it’s where he raised his 6 children and was the center of political life.  The 23 room house is built in the Queen Anne Style, the house has been opened to the public since 1953 and full of Roosevelt family mementos and memorabilia. 

Woodrow Wilson House

 

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President Woodrow Wilson is one of if not the only President to stay in Washington D. C. after completing his term of office.  Wilson’s second wife, Edith, found the newly built home in 1920 and thought it would be perfect for their retirement, President Wilson surprised her with the deed to the house in December 1920.  The Wilsons both lived out the remainder of their lives here, with President Wilson dying in 1923 and Mrs. Wilson remaining in the house until her death in 1961.  I’ve visited this house and if you are Washington D. C. this is a great little side trip from the usual sites. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt & Springwood

 

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Springwood sits on the Hudson river and was the home FDR knew his whole life, it was there that he was born and it is here that he is buried.  Franklin Roosevelt is the leader who saw us through the Great Depression and World War II, and it was to Springwood that he would often escape, to find some calm in the storm.  Springwood is high on my list to visit in the future. 

Eisenhower National Historic Site

 

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The home on the Eisenhower National Historic Site is the only home President Eisenhower ever owned out right.  Following his military career General Eisenhower was elected President but this home in Pennsylvania had always served as the family weekend home and eventually their retirement home.  The grounds that the house sits on joins the battlefield at Gettysburg, President Eisenhower lived here until his death in 1968 at the age of 78 and Mamie Eisenhower lived here until her death in 1979.  The house and grounds were opened to the public in 1980. 

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home

 

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President Reagan lived in this home in Dixon, Illinois from 1920 to 1924.  The white frame house is a typical small town American home from the early 20th century, today you can visit the house that has been restored to reflect the 1920’s.  The house and grounds were dedicated in 1984 with both President Reagan and his older brother Neil present for the dedication. 

As you can see from the National Park Service website there are places to visit run by the park service for almost all of the former Presidents.  Let me know if you’ve visited any of them and what you thought, have a great President’s Day.  

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