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Month: October 2018

US Presidents Sites – Visiting the William McKinley Presidential Museum in Canton, Ohio

Posted on October 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is unlike any other presidential museum. Originally intended solely as the final resting place for our 25th president, it has effectively reinvented itself as a museum campus of sorts. The site appeals to not only those interested in McKinley and presidential history, but students of other scientific disciplines as well.

Located not far from Interstate 77 in Canton, Ohio, the towering memorial can be seen for miles. McKinley was tragically assassinated in September, 1901 and was laid to rest in a temporary tomb until a suitable memorial could be planned and built. Six years later, the McKinley Memorial was dedicated, and it is where the president and his family are entombed.

Today, fitness enthusiasts walk or jog the 108 steps leading to the entrance of the memorial, and it is a popular gathering place for school groups, continuing education classes, and visitors. On site, the visitor will find an active planetarium, exhibit space dedicated to McKinley memorabilia, and rotating exhibits focused on various aspects of American history.

One of the more popular attractions is the Street of Shops, a museum like exhibit of shops circa 1900. Various artifacts from that time period are displayed, like early model fire engines and machinery used in that era. There is also a museum shop on site which carries a wide variety of items appealing to all interest levels.

The site is open daily and there is a nominal admission charge. Visitors should allow about an hour to see all the various exhibits, which rotate frequently and often feature items from the Smithsonian and other presidential museums.

While McKinley and his family once owned a home in Canton and planned to return here after his second term as president, the home was not preserved and no longer exists. The home of his wife, also located in Canton, is now the First Ladies Library, dedicated to America’s first ladies. The building is where the McKinley family lived when the future president and his wife were first married.

Canton is also known for several popular local restaurants in the nearby downtown area, any of which make a perfect stop for lunch or dinner. The city is probably best known for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located a short five minute drive from the McKinley memorial museum.

If you are traveling to or from Cleveland, we highly recommend a stop in Canton. For sports fans, the Football Hall of Fame is a must see, while anyone with even a passing interest in history will enjoy a visit to the McKinley museum campus.

US Presidents Sites – Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Sites in Springfield Illinois

Posted on October 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is another in a series of travelogue articles about historical sites dedicated to American presidents. Join us as we visit Springfield, Illinois to visit the sites of arguably America’s most well known and popular president, Abraham Lincoln…

An Overview Of Springfield’s Lincoln Sites

Located in central Illinois along Interstate 55, Springfield is the home of three distinct sites relating to America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Anyone traveling on I-55 to Chicago or St. Louis should take a half day at minimum to explore the life and presidency of Lincoln and learn about his influence that is still felt today.

The three sites are located fairly close to one another in the general area of downtown Springfield. They are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, and Lincoln’s Tomb. Even if you only have a couple of hours to spend, you can easily see all three sites. Let’s take a closer look at each.

The Museum And Library

Open for just a few years, the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is a fascinating portrayal of the presidents life, political career, and ongoing legacy. Here you will find the most comprehensive collection of Lincoln artifacts and memorabilia anywhere. There is an introductory multi media presentation which provides a general overview, and numerous permanent and temporary galleries depicting life during the Civil War and the many challenges during his administration.

The Museum also explores the presidency in general. Many exhibits are rotated from other presidential libraries, so expect to see something different each time you visit.

The Lincoln Home

About eight blocks from the museum is the small two story house where the family lived immediately before Lincoln assumed the presidency in 1861. It is administered by the National Park Service and guided tours are given throughout the day. The home has been restored to its original appearance and quite a few of the furnishings are original.

The tours are free, but you must obtain an admission ticket at the adjacent visitors center. Tours of the immediate historic neighborhood are also available, where you can literally trace the footsteps of Lincoln when he lived here.

Final Resting Place

After the longest funeral procession in American history, before or since, the president was laid to rest in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. The cemetery is about a mile from downtown, and you will see the 117 foot tall granite monument as you enter. The president is interred here along with many of his family members.

Visitors from around the world continually visit all three sites. While in Springfield, you should also visit the downtown shopping district with many unique, independent shops. Other sites worthy of a visit are also downtown, including Lincoln’s law office, the former Illinois capitol building, and the current capitol.

A great place for lunch is the popular Boone’s Uptown Grill, just a block from the current state capitol building. Try the famous horseshoe sandwich, a hearty concoction of toast points, ham, turkey, cheese, and french fries. It’s a Springfield original!

Summary

A visit to Springfield, Illinois to see the Lincoln sites is an ideal trip for those interested in presidential and American history. The three main sites are within a mile or so of one another and can be easily visited in a half day. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy the shopping in downtown Springfield and lunch or dinner at one of the convenient independent restaurants.

Presidential Sites – Visiting Indianapolis and the Home of America’s 23rd President

Posted on October 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

This is another in a series of travelogue articles highlighting presidential sites, museums, and homes across America. Join us as we visit Indianapolis and the home of our 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison…

Indianapolis: An Overview

Indianapolis is literally at the crossroads of America. Three major interstates converge here, and the city is easily accessible from anywhere in the country.

A visit to Indianapolis will undoubtedly include several must see sites. The first is the famous Indianapolis Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. Tours of the track are available year around, and you will enjoy traveling by bus around the steeply banked 2.5 mile oval track.

Downtown Indianapolis is a hub of activity, especially with two major sports stadiums in the immediate area. Bars and restaurants sit side by side with office and government buildings. Many of the city’s best restaurants are located downtown, like the famous St. Elmo Steak House, a landmark here since 1902.

For shopping, there’s the walkable Broad Ripple district, located about 20 minutes north of downtown. Here you’ll find a unique array of specialty shops, along with bike and walking trails and many restaurants when you are finally done exploring.

Interestingly, the city and surrounding area is also known for several wineries that are open for visitors. Indiana is a large grape growing state, and local grapes are made into a wide variety of award winning wines by Indiana vintners.

Visiting The Harrison Home

The stately home of America’s 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, is located about a mile from downtown Indianapolis. The classic three story Italianate style mansion was Harrison’s home from when it was built in 1875 until his death in 1901.

Recently, the home underwent a lengthy restoration to bring its look back to the time Harrison and his family lived here. Most of the sixteen rooms where decorated with period wallpaper and fixtures representative of the late 1800’s.

Tours are available of the combination home and museum Monday through Saturday. In June and July, the home is also open on Sundays. Tours are guided and last approximately one hour.

Of particular interest are the gardens surrounding the home. Cared for by area volunteers, these expansive gardens are visited by over 25,000 people annually. On the north side of the home is our favorite, the Elizabeth Harrison rose garden, named after the presidents wife, who enjoyed tending to roses. All told, there are fourteen different theme gardens to explore on the grounds.

Summary

No matter your passion or interest, it is likely you will find something you enjoy in Indianapolis. Any season is ideal for a visit, but we particularly recommend spring and fall, especially to see the Harrison home gardens. For those who appreciate American and presidential history, a visit to the Harrison home and museum will provide insight into President Harrison’s many accomplishments in his career and administration.

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