Monday, September 12, 2011

Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford Museum is in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit. It has quite a bit of stuff on display other than cars, trucks, and other thing that you think of when you think Henry Ford. What drew me there was the amazing collection of Presidential cars that they have. Most famous is the car in which John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated.

This is the chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot

Rosa Parks bus. The bus that she was sitting in when she refused to move to the back of the the bus.

The seat in which Rosa Parks refused to give up.

Actual signature of Abraham Lincoln

George Washingtons military cot

The Reagan car. This is the car that Ronald Reagan was towards when John Hinkley shot him. Secret Service rushed him to the car and it took Reagan to the hospital.

Klo and I with the Kennedy car. This is the car that John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was fatally shot in Dallas, TX. The car was given a hard top and was later used by Presidents Johnson and Nixon. I know, weird, right?

'Bubbletop' this car was used by President Eisenhower

Klo and I with one of FDR's cars

Horse drawn carriage used by President Theodore Roosevelt

 On the same property as The Henry Ford Museum is Greenfield Village. Henry Ford brought all types of historically significant buildings and recontructed them in one place and called it Greenfield Village. There are several buildings connected with Thomas Edison brought there as well as The Wright Brothers home and bike shop, among other things. The best part for me was a courthouse in which Abraham Lincoln tried cases.

Logan County IL. courthouse where Lincoln practiced law

We also did a little gravehunting and found the final resting place of Henry Ford himself in the front of the church that he used to attend

Gravesite of Henry Ford Detroit, MI

I highly recommend The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village for any history lover. It is kind of expensive but worth it I think.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Temporary Tombs of the Presidents

Along the way of visiting the final resting places of the President I have come across several structures that at one point held the earthly remains of the Presidents. Most are simple structures like family receiving vaults and cemetery receiving vaults. They were kept in these places until there tombs could be constructed, or until they could be transported home.

The Old Tomb at Mt. Vernon was the burial site of George Washington until the newer Tomb could be contructed. Mt. Vernon, VA

Marker at Washington's old tomb

The Adams family vault in Hancock cemetery across the street from the United First Parish Church in Quincy, MA. The vault was the temporary resting place of both John Adams and John Quincy Adams while their final resting place was being prepared across the street in the church basement. John Adams daughter 'Nabby' is still buried in the vault.

Public receiving vault in Congressional Cemetery Washington DC. Whenever someone important died in Washington in the pre Civil War era, often times they would be interred in the receiving vault here until arrangements could be made to sent them home. Presidents WH Harrison, Taylor and JQ Adams were all interred here at one time. As was First Lady Dolley Madison.

Taylor family receiving vault at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Louisville, KY. Zachary Taylor was buried here until his permanent tomb was constructed just a few yards away. I saw an old tomb but my niece and nephew ,who were anxious to get out of the car after a few hours, saw a hill to play on.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Springfield, IL. After Abraham Lincolns long funeral train he was laid to rest here in the cemeteries receiving vault.

We visited Springfield shortly after the 150th Anniversary Lincoln funeral reenactment. So this replica horse drawn hearst was still on display in front on Lincoln's temporary tomb.

Westlawn Cemetery receiving vault Canton, OH. William McKinley was buried here while his large tomb was being constructed nearby.

Marion Cemetery receiving vault Marion, OH. Warren G. Harding was buried here until his tomb was completed. The permanent Tomb is just across the street from the cemetery

Historical marker on Hardings temporary tomb.

I find these structures interesting in that they weren't built with the President in mind. They were existing structures when each President passed and they were intered in these structures until the permanent tombs could be constructed. Which explains how simple they are. These days most Presidents live out a retirement period. In which time their Presidential Libraries are constructed and most of them have their tomb constructed in advance. Modern Presidents Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford and Reagan are all buried on the same property as their Library or Museum. President Bush 41's final resting place is already constructed in advance at his Library in College Station, TX. So unless any unforeseen tragedy happens there probably won't be any reason for Presidents to be temporarily buried in structures like these.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Barack H. Obama

Barack H. Obama 44th President of the United States (2009-2017)

   For any current or living former President it may be tough to find sites connected with their lives. It usually takes a few years after the end of their administration for their Library to be established. And the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Library is currently underway in Chicago.

     Of course every President has a birthplace. But for the current or any living former President there may be a historical marker at the birthplace if you are lucky. Obama was born in Hawaii. So that is probably the toughest of Presidential birthplaces to visit.  Any vacation, or permanent residence that any President has besides The White House you probably aren't going to get close enough to see, with all of the security.
   Then again, everyone has places they grew up, went to college, lived, hung out, ect.... And since Obama has been on histories radar for several years now, it is easier to find out significant sites in his old stomping grounds. I made it to Chicago to see some of them in late December 2014. 

    Obama's home in the Hyde Park area of Chicago. Tall trees obstruct most of the view. 

    Best view of the front if the house

    This SUV was running and unmaned. 

  A picture of Obama's house before the trees over grew the place.
  A bit of an unusual site. This is where Barack and Michelle had their first date / kiss. 

    Barack's old barber shop

    Inside the barber shop, his old seat behind glass

  Obama's bachelor apartment is through the gate and to the left

    This building at the University of Chicago is where Obama taught law.

There is also other possibilities when it comes to the current President, or any other living President. There is always the possible chance that you may get to see them in person. In the past I got to see 2 other Presidents: Bush 41 and Clinton. Obama would become the 3rd. The chance for me to see Barack Obama in person came in the last few days leading up to the 2012 Presidential election. Ohio has become a critical swing state which made each candidate make several stops in the area. On November 2, 2012 I went to nearby Lima to see the President. Here are some pics.  

I was no more then 15 ft. away from Obama when he first came out from behind the curtain.

A nice shot of him at the Presidential podium

This is the best picture I could get of the President and I.

As we all know Barack Obama is the first African American President. It usually takes at least 20 years after a Presidential administration ends before you can begin to analyze the pro's, con's and the effects of the administration. So we will have awhile until we can fully understand weather what he did is what's best or not. However Presidents these days do have the advantage of learning from history. Learn from past Presidents mistakes. I guess that we will see.

For the same reason I didn't go into much detail on George W. Bush, I won't get to carried away talking about Obama.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush 43rd President of the United States (2001-2009)

Bush sites that I have visited:

George W. Bush Birthplace Yale New Haven Hospital New Haven, CT
 First Home New Haven, CT
Bush family vacation home at Walker's Point Kennebunkport, Maine
Texas State Capital Building, former office and workplace Austin, TX
Texas Governors Mansion, temporary Home Austin, TX

Site of signing of No Child Left Behind Act. Hamilton, Ohio
George W. Bush's Bel Air home Bel Air, CA

Yale - New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT is the site of President George W. Bush's birth. When he was born here in 1946 the hospital was called Grace - New Haven Hospital. Bush's father was a student at Yale University in New Haven at the time of W's birth. When we visited in September 2013 we hit the peak of rush hour and it was a bit of a hassle to find the Hospital. Once we did, no parking could be found. So I worked my way up to the front as if I was going to drop someone off, then rushed out as my wife snapped a picture through the windshield. So if I look grumpy, it's because of the hassle. I was actually pretty excited to see another Presidential Birthplace.

The first home of future President George W. Bush. At the time of W's birth in 1946, his parents were living in this house, which was split into apartments and  reserved for Yale student's who were married. So this is where they first brought the future President home when they left the hospital when he was born.

Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. Vacation home for the Bush family. Named after W's Great Grandfather George Herbert Walker. Just like his father before him, George Walker Bush is named after George Herbert Walker.

For the vacation house of 2 Presidents, I was surprised how close you could get.

Walker's point and I

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is now open in Dallas, TX on the campus of Southern Methodist University.  There is also a George W. Bush Childhood home in Midland, TX that is open to the public now.

Me at the Texas State Capital Building in Austin, TX

George W. Bush served as Governor of Texas from 1995- 2000. In that time he worked here at the Capital Building.

Texas Governor's office used by Bush.

Governor's public reception room used by Bush

Me with Bush's Governor's portait which hangs in the Capital Rotunda

We drove past the Texas Governors Mansion after leaving the Capital Building. It was under construction and we couldn't get a very good picture of it. So for now I will share this one from Wikipedia.

   President Bush signs the "No Child Left Behind" Act in 2002. This happened at Hamilton High School Hamilton, Ohio.

    They commemorated the fact that this was signed here by this memorial of statues

   Bush statue and I

George W. Bush's Bel Air home.

As President, George W. Bush had a home that he stayed in whenever he was in the Los Angeles area, in Bel Air. Not far from the Reagan's house, where Ronald Reagan was living when he died. I saw this house while on a Hollywood Bus tour. So we weren't allowed to get out, and my window of opportunity to get a decent picture was small. As you can see it didn't turn out well. My camera was still in Zoom mode from getting another picture. I wasn't able to get out of Zoom before we passed the Bush house. So I have some nice pictures of the houses windows. Oh well, it was still a pleasant surprise to see the Reagan and Bush houses.

 After the terrorist attacks on 9/11 President Bush faced some of the toughest choices that any President has ever had to make. I remember the vulnerability I felt after that day. Everyone was asking not 'if' there would be another terrorist attack but 'when'. Here we are, all these years later and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack since. I feel that he should at least be given credit for making policy that has kept our homeland safe since.

I think in time, history will be kind to George W. Bush in the same way that it took awhile for history to appreciate the contributions of Harry Truman.

The point of this blog is to share the historic sites that I have visited with people who are interested. If I go on much more about 'W' it is possible to start a fierce political debate. And I really don't care to do that on here. There is a time and a place for such things. And this isn't it.

It has been my experience that we all have our political viewpoints and arguing only ticks people off and doesn't change anyone's minds. I have friends on both sides of the isle and have learned the hard way that life is to short to argue over our petty differences.