For history travel lovers, there is no better area in America than New England. From the Revolutionary War heroes of early Boston to the many historical sites dotted across the area, New England is a treasure trove of American history.
Once outside of Boston, visitors can find many interesting sites, particularly those associated with American presidents. One such destination is located in Hillsborough, New Hampshire in the south central part of the state. In addition to a wealth of scenic beauty, you can also explore the life of America’s 14th president, Franklin Pierce. His birthplace and boyhood home is located in this typical New Hampshire small town, located about an hour from both Manchester and Concord, the state’s capital.
President Franklin Pierce: An Overview
Franklin Pierce was born into a prominent family in 1804, and the home which visitors can tour was once a gathering place for writers, politicians, and philosophers of the day. Pierce, a lawyer by trade, was highly regarded as a statesman and public servant. He added to his rapidly growing national reputation with exemplary service in the Mexican-American war of 1846.
In the election of 1852, Pierce was chosen as a compromise candidate, favored by influential leaders from both northern and southern states. At age 48, he was at the time the youngest man ever to become president in 1853. Faced with a rapidly dividing nation, Pierce was able to stave off civil war, at least temporarily.
During his term as president, the nation experienced a tremendous amount of economic growth, despite growing political instabilities. Pierce oversaw the completion of the Gadsen Purchase, a key piece of legislation that acquired important land in the southwestern area of the country.
Sensing he could not win a second term as president, he traveled to Europe for several years after leaving office in 1857. He lived to witness the reemergence of the United States and the beginning of reconstruction after the Civil War. The former president passed away at age 65 in 1869.
Visiting The Pierce Homestead
The home where Franklin Pierce was born and spent his formative years is now beautifully restored to reflect the time period in which he lived. A large ballroom and spacious parlor are the centerpieces, as well as the gardens and grounds surrounding the home.
Guided tours of the home are given, or you can take a self guided tour. The homestead is only open seasonally, so plan your visit for summer months. The site is open daily in July and August, and weekends only in June and September. There is a nominal fee for adults, and admission is free for those under 18.
The surrounding area showcases the natural beauty of New England and New Hampshire. Both nearby cities of Concord and Manchester are interesting in their own right for shopping and leisure activities. Hillsborough is also a charming small town with several interesting shops and restaurants serving New England style cuisine.