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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?