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

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.

Presidential Sites – Visiting the Home of America’s Forgotten President

He served as president of the United States from 1921 to 1923, until his premature death cut short his term in office. In a small central Ohio town, the home where he conducted a front porch campaign for president is sometimes open for tours which chronicle the life of America’s forgotten president…

About 40 miles north of Columbus, Ohio in the central part of the state sits the town of Marion. It is the home and final resting place for the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding.

A Quick Overview Of Our 29th President

Warren G. Harding was elected in 1920, succeeding the popular Woodrow Wilson, who has served two terms in office. Harding served only two and a half years in office before suddenly passing away in August, 1923.

His administration was initially known for the scandals perpetrated by members of his cabinet, which surfaced mainly after his death. History in general has not been kind to Harding, with many scholars ranking his presidency as one of the worst. However, new information and biographies have recently been published, painting a more positive reflection. Few recall, for instance, that Harding was one of the earliest champions of the civil rights movement.

Visiting Marion And The Harding Sites

Although it looks like a typical middle America town, Marion has certainly carved a place for itself in history. In 1920, native son Warren Harding conducted his campaign for president here, largely from the front porch of his home. It is now a museum, open for visitors Thursdays through Sundays in summers and weekends in winter.

Located not far from the historic downtown area, the Harding home is a handsome Victorian built in 1891 by the future president. Inside are original furnishings from Harding’s time, along with a beautiful restoration of the many rooms. Of particular note is the wrap around porch and spacious grounds surrounding the home. This is where Harding conducted a front porch campaign for president, delivering speeches to thousands of onlookers camped literally on his front lawn.

Next door to the home is a smaller structure that was built in early 1920. It was specifically constructed for the press covering Harding’s ascent to the presidency. Now it’s a museum, with memorabilia and personal items from Harding’s life and career. As you visit the quiet and peaceful site, imagine the crowds of thousands on the grounds as they listened to Harding deliver campaign speeches.

Within walking distance is downtown Marion, with its many local shops and restaurants. It’s ideal for a stroll, particularly to the Wyandot popcorn museum, where popcorn is served amidst popcorn machines from the past. Local art walks are conducted on select Fridays and the downtown area is alive with activity.

While in town, attend a performance at the historic Palace Theater, built in 1928 and restored in the 1970’s. And if you like a taste of the vine, visit Shamrock Vineyards, a local winery producing all manners of wine styles from grapes grown here in their vineyard.

Summary

America’s forgotten president, Warren G. Harding, is commemorated in Marion, Ohio with a museum and beautifully restored Victorian home. Marion is a pleasant small community with several unique attractions, and is just a short drive from Ohio’s capital city, Columbus. It is a perfect destination for a day trip from Columbus or for history lovers traveling through Ohio.

Presidential Historic Sites – Visiting the Shores of Lake Erie and America’s 20th President

Welcome to another in a series of travelogue articles spotlighting presidential historic sites and presidential museums. Situated near the southern shores of Lake Erie in picturesque northeast Ohio is the home of America’s 20th president, James Garfield…

Mentor And Northeast Ohio: An Overview

About thirty miles east of downtown Cleveland, you’ll find a number of small lakeside communities that hug the southern shore of Lake Erie. Dotted with historic architecture and awash in delightful lake breezes, these communities provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

There is kind of a New England ambiance here. Summer is delightful, spring and autumn are generally crisp and cool. Outdoor activities are in season no matter what time of year, and winter is popular for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and other snow sports.

This area is also the heart of Ohio’s wine country. The temperate effect of Lake Erie, along with fertile soil, make this an ideal terrain for grape growing. Wines from this region are garnering national attention, with numerous wineries welcoming visitors for tastings.

Shopping is another major draw. Many of the small towns have appealing and walkable downtown areas with specialty shops, antique stores, and fashionable outlets. For foodies, you’ll find no shortage of welcoming restaurants serving the freshest local fish and other inventive cuisine.

Of course, the star of the show in this area is Lake Erie itself. Numerous charters will take you out into the lake for fishing expeditions, sunset sails, or charter trips. Several beaches beckon families and sun lovers alike.

While the area is well known as a day trip destination from Cleveland, it is also a great family vacation spot or for couples looking to relax and unwind for a few days.

President Garfield’s Historic Home

James Garfield, a prominent Civil War general, bought this large farm house in 1876 to accommodate his large family. At the time, he was serving in the House of Representatives. He was also an enthusiastic farmer, planting many crops on the grounds.

Rather unexpectedly, Garfield won the nomination for president in 1880 and conducted his campaign largely from the front porch of this home. He won by less than 10,000 votes, the narrowest margin in history. Sadly, after he left for Washington to assume office, he never returned to Ohio. He was shot after just a few months in office and died two months later, in September, 1881.

Today, the restored home is a popular spot for visitors, not only for presidential historians, but those who appreciate seeing a restored 19th century home. Guided tours are given daily and last about 35 minutes. Visitors will see Garfield’s study and election headquarters, and a room where he monitored election results via telegraph service.

You can also explore the visitors center, a restored carriage house near the main home. It is here that you can learn about Garfield’s life and career, and view a short film about his ascent to the presidency and untimely death.

Many visitors come here to enjoy the peaceful, expansive grounds and the invigorating lake breeze. It is a perfect spot for a family picnic, or to simply relax and savor the fresh air.

Located between Cleveland and Buffalo, this part of north east Ohio is particularly attractive. It is a perfect place to stop for lunch and an afternoon visit before heading in either direction. We recommend an overnight stay in the area to truly experience the many charms and relaxed pace along the southern shores of Lake Erie.