Take a look inside these six presidential homes
Take a look inside these six presidential homes
While 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington may be the most notable presidential address, it isn't the only residence our presidents have occupied. Many of the homes and estates of U.S. presidents are open to the public today. They offer a glimpse into the lives of these men and their families when they stepped outside the public eye.
Here are six presidential homes that you can tour now.
Harry S. Truman Little White House, Key West, Florida
As soon as the first hint of a winter chill swept through the nation's capital, President Truman and key members of his staff would head south to what has come to be known as the "Little White House." It is a short distance from a beach on Key West. Truman's winter retreat was built in 1890 as officers' quarters for the local naval base. In 1911, it was converted into a private residence. For a time, it served as a home for inventor Thomas Edison. He conducted experiments there during the First World War.
From 1946 until 1952, Truman spent 175 days of his presidency at this southern getaway. After his death in 1972, the home played host as a respite for a number of subsequent presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. It also served as the site of the international peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2011.
Today visitors can explore the bleached-white home. It has nearly all of its original furnishings (including the famous "The Buck Stops Here" sign on Truman's desk). You also can stroll through the home's botanical gardens.
Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
A mere stone's throw from the Gettysburg battlefield, where one of the most significant battles of the American Civil War unfolded, you'll find former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 189-acre farm and retreat. Eisenhower purchased the property in 1950 as a retirement home. But he and wife Mamie wouldn't stay in retirement for long. In 1953, the five-star general became the country's 34th president. The couple would only see their homestead on weekends and holidays, as well as a brief period in 1955 while Ike recuperated from a heart attack. He was fond of inviting fellow politicians and foreign dignitaries to the "Temporary White House" to show off his herd of Angus cattle. He liked to relax on the front porch.
A herd of cattle still grazes at the site. Visitors can walk along the farm lanes and trails. The onsite museum houses a collection of approximately 48,000 artifacts that includes everything from military paraphernalia to awards for Ike's livestock, in addition to many photos.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln's home has been a popular spot for visitors since it opened to the public in 1887, 22 years after his assassination. While it was built in 1839, Lincoln purchased the 12-room Greek revival, located 200 miles south of Chicago, in 1844. It was restored in 1860. For 17 years, it served as his home, which he shared with his wife, Mary Todd, until their move to Washington. Lincoln would serve as the country's 16th president.
Today, thousands of visitors flock to this property each year, experiencing park ranger-led tours that explore the couple's separate bedrooms, children's rooms, kitchen, formal parlor, sitting rooms and various outbuildings.
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, Missouri
After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) in 1843, the Army stationed Grant to the Jefferson Barracks, on the outskirts of St. Louis. There, he met Julia Dent, the sister of Frederick Dent, one of his former roommates. The couple married in 1848. Over the next four decades, White Haven, the Dent family's homestead, would serve as the couple's on-again-off-again home, where they resided until his death in 1885.
Now, more than 130 years after his passing, the main house, outbuildings and stables remain a popular draw for visitors. Tours of the property, as well as a screening of the 22-minute film, "Ulysses S. Grant: A Legacy of Freedom", are available.
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, New York, New York
Living in New York City has been a rite of passage for many a U.S. president. But few can actually say they were born there. On Oct. 27, 1858, Roosevelt was born there. He was raised at 28 E. 20th Street. It's in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. In 1872, the family moved Uptown. Eventually, the original brownstone was demolished as the neighborhood transitioned from residential to commercial.
However, in 1919 the Women's Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the lot and built a replica of the home. It has served as a national historic site since 1962. That is when the National Park Service assumed management of the property. Today the home's rooms are decorated with period furnishings and family-owned possessions. Visitors will find ranger-guided tours available.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Johnson City, Texas
An hour's drive west of Austin sits Johnson's famed ranch, which the 36th president occupied with his family as a boy beginning in 1913. At the time, many residents living in this rural corner of Texas didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing in their homes, which later compelled Johnson to introduce programs designed to help fellow U.S. citizens who were living in similar circumstances. This includes his famous "war on poverty" legislation, which he discussed during his State of the Union Address in 1964.
Visitors can experience the 1,570-acre property, which includes Johnson's boyhood home, stockyards, farmhouse and the family gravesites for LBJ and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.
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