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.

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