Southeast Vacation: William Howard Taft National Historic Site

William Howard Taft house

welcome to Ohio sign

We’re just back from a week of vacation. Did you know that years ago, I thought it would be fun to be a tour guide? So, how about if I am a tour guide for you now. Sit back and enjoy, and I’ll take you on a trip to all the places we visited.

We crossed over into Ohio. Let the adventures begin! First stop: Cincinnati, and the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site

Okay, you know William Howard Taft was President once upon a time, right? But what can you tell me about him?

Honestly, pretty much all the came to mind for me was that he was fat.

“Isn’t he the fat one?” one of the girls asked. “The one that got stuck in the bathtub?” another added.

I’m thinking we saw his grave at Arlington Cemetery. Other than that … I got nothin’.

So, let’s go in.

William Howard Taft National Historic SiteHere is William Howard Taft as a toddler. Cute, huh? And yes, it’s him, even though it looks like a girl. He was born in this house and grew up here.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site

It was a nice house of the time (see the piano on the right side here?). Taft’s grandpa moved his family to the Cincinnati area from the East Coast, calling this neighborhood “a beautiful high, airy place” when they moved here in 1885. Taft was born in 1887. His nurse called him “the beautifullest boy” she had ever seen. He was outgoing and good-natured.

Taft bathtub

There were several displays in the house — I always enjoy these and learn a lot from them. Such as — apparently there might be some truth to the bathtub rumors. And I love that the Tafts had a cow on the White House lawn.

I learned that Taft’s wife, Helen, had a stroke two months after they moved to the White House, at the age of 47. She never fully recovered from this, although she went on to live to be 81. She had the idea to plant cherry trees in Washington, D.C., and arranged for this to happen.

Taft was good friends with Theodore Roosevelt, who was President prior to him. However, Roosevelt was not pleased with Taft’s policies once Taft was in office. In fact, he opposed them so much that he ran against his friend for the Republican nomination in 1912.

Taft Roosevelt comic

Taft and Roosevelt ended up splitting the Republican vote, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson was elected (sounds like the more recent Ross Perot situation).

Taft went on to be nominated to the Supreme Court and became its Chief Justice — the only person to serve as both President and Supreme Court judge as well.

What came across in the home was his jolly good nature and his easy way with people.

William Howard Taft house

It was a pleasant place to visit. No crowds, and it was … free! When we left, an attendant even offered us ice cream left over from the July 4 celebration a few days back.

On to another state and more adventures …

Have you visited the home of any President? Which one? What do you remember about it?

6 thoughts on “Southeast Vacation: William Howard Taft National Historic Site

  1. I have visited Mount Vernon a couple times. We went to Montiello and the Hermitage. I went to the home of William Henry Harrison and also a home James Whitcomb Riley lived in, in Indianapolis with our sixth graders. Yes, I know James Whitcomb Riley was not a President.
    My Grandpa, George Schulte, was living in Cincinnati at the time of Taft’s birth. Grandpa lived in the German “Over the Rhine” part of the city. It would be fun to figure out how near that area is to Taft’s home.
    My travels with you will be my summer vacation, this year. When will we be stopping for lunch, anyway?

  2. Hi Susan, I loved finding out more about President Taft. I certainly am going to enjoy my “trip” with you and your family. I’ve been to Mount Vernon so many times, I’ve lost track of the number. We lived within 3 miles of it for over 25 years so you know where all of our visitors wanted to go and we gladly took them. The last house we lived in before moving to Florida was built on land that George Washington owned at one time. So much history there. I’m also ready for lunch!!!

  3. I think I visited Eisenhower’s house, or maybe it was his library. I’ve also visited Monticello. Aside from that, I don’t know that I’ve visited any presidential homes. I’m looking forward to the rest of the trip.

  4. I learned even more than I thought I might from your interesting narration! Thanks to his wife for all of those beautiful cherry trees in Washington, D.C. They were in bloom when I was on my senior trip in high school. So far I have visited Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the summer home of Harry Truman, but I hope to see George W. Bush’s library some day.

  5. Thanks for sharing your pictures! Will Taft didn’t want to be president as much as his wife wanted him to be. He always wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice, and finally got his wish. I’ve visited the homes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. All are fascinating.

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