|Place of Meditation. Burial place of Dwight D. Eisenhower|
Presidential Gravesite seen on this trip: #33 Harry S. Truman Independence, Missouri 30 of 38
#34 Dwight D. Eisenhower Abilene, Kansas 31 of 38
#31 Herbert Hoover West Branch, Iowa 32 of 38
Presidential Gravesite revisit #23 Benjamin Harrison Indianapolis, Indiana
After our June 2010 trip to Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington DC, we started preparing for the new addition to our family. It was a very exciting time. We did take some small day and weekend trips in August, September and October. We revisited Hayes home in Fremont, Garfield sites in Cleveland, McKinley sites in Canton and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.
Nicholas was born in early November and we started settling in for the Holiday Season and Wintertime. In January we started discussing a possible weekend getaway once the weather breaks. One of our favorite bands the Christian band Third Day. So we started looking for where they would be stopping on their upcoming tour. 2 spots stuck out to me. Davenport, Iowa on March 12, and Johnson City, Tennessee on March 31. President Hoover is buried near Davenport, and President Andrew Johnson is buried near Johnson City. At that point we had taken 3 big trips, south to Texas, east to New England and east to Virginia. So I was itching to do a western trip.
We decided to do the Davenport show. After I looked into a few things we added a day to the trip in which we would see Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. I found a bunch of other sites to see along to way and before we knew it March had arrived and my wife and I were off on a 4 day trip, just the 2 of us since we left Klo and Nicky with my parents.
March 10, 2011 Harry S. Truman
On the night of March 9, 2011, we left home around 8pm. This was a strange feeling. It was the first time that both of us were going on a trip by ourselves since we had kids. It was a great time together. The plan was to drive 12 hours through the night and arrive at the Truman Library when they open. It was a long night. But knowing all that the next day would hold kept me going. We arrived in Independence with about an hour to kill before the Truman Library. We explored the town and walked some of the Truman walking tour. We saw 'Clintons Soda Fountain' where a young Truman had his first job, the courthouse where he was a judge, his home and his boyhood home. Finally the Library opened. We were the only ones there for a little while. So it was like having the place to ourselves. We took about an hour and a half to explore the Library. It is definatly one of the better ones. I think that it was because, for all of Truman's retirement he lived just up the road. He even had an office there. So in the early day of the Library, Truman himself would on occation give tours. After the Museum part we headed out to the courtyard where the Truman's are buried. Like most of the modern Presidents, Truman's gravesite is simple and respectable. I really enjoyed the Truman Library but we had alot to see, and a long way to go before the end of the day. So we were on our way.
|The Truman's gravesite, Independence, Missouri|
March 10, 2011 Dwight D. Eisenhower
We left Independence and crossed the state line into Kansas. We went through Kansas City and before long we were driving through the open plaines of Kansas. On the way out to Abilene and Eisenhower we made a quick stop in Topeka to see the gravesite of Vice President Charles Curtis. It was a very quick stop in that the cemetery was just off of the Interstate.
We finally arrived at the Eisenhower Center in Abilene, KS. It was a nice set up. His boyhood home, Library, Museum, and the Place of Meditation (where the Eisenhowers are buried) are all there. After driving all night to Truman's Library, and then driving another 2 hours out to Eisenhowers, we were pretty exhausted. Plus we still had to drive 4 hours to our hotel near Omaha, Nebraska when we were done in Abilene. So I decided to tour the boyhood home and skip the Museum since I heard that it wasn't one of the better ones. Now I really regret this choice since I can't claim to of seen Eisenhowers Library and Museum now. I guess that it gives me a reason to return someday.
After the house tour we walked around the loop on the property. There are a bunch of memorial plaques at the far end of the property and a statue of Ike in the center. We then made it down to the Place of Meditation. Which is a small chapel built to be the Eisenhowers final resting place. Inside are the graves of Dwight, Mamie and an infant son Doud.
|Dwight Eisenhowers gravesite Abilene, Kansas|
After the Eisenhower Center we got some Sonic burgers and headed north towards Omaha, Nebraska. We made a quick stop on the way in Marysville, Kansas which was the location of the Pony Express station #1. There is a prety cool statue of a Pony Express rider on his horse there. We continued into Nebraska as we were losing daylight. One last stop of the day was in Omaha at Gerald Ford birthplace. We got there just as the sun was setting. I'll bet that it's a pretty cool thing to see in the summer and in the daylight. It's a garden on the site of the house where he was born. After that we crossed our 6th state line in 24 hours from Nebraska into Iowa. We spent the night at a hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It had been a long tough day and we got to see alot. The next 3 days would be a little more easy and relaxed.
March 11, 2011 Herbert Hoover
We got a great nights sleep on the night of March 10th. We had a pretty simple day ahead of us with 3 stops. We would drive the entire length of Iowa that day and spend the night in Moline, Illinios. Just on the other side of the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa. We left our hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa around 8 am. First stop of the day was in Winterset, Iowa at John Waynes birthplace. After we toured the birthplace we headed to nearby Des Moine to see the gravesite of FDR's Vice President Henry Wallace. Then we continued east to West Branch, Iowa where both the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are. We toured the small Hoover birthplace as well as some other buildings that were significant to Hoover's early life there. We then tour the Hoover Library and Museum. We really enjoyed the Hoover Library. It focused more on the humanitarian work that he did, than it did his administration. We then walked out to the Hoover gravesite. The whole Hoover experience was a pretty cool one.
|Herbert Hoovers gravesite. West Branch, Iowa|
The trip would continue for 2 more days. On March 12 we left our hotel in Moline, IL and saw Ronald Reagan's birthplace in Tampico, IL and we also saw his boyhood home in Dixon, IL. We then returned to our hotel in Moline and rested for the rest of the day until our concert that night.
March 13, 2011 Benjamin Harrison revisit
On Sunday March 13 all we had to do is drive the 8 hours home, and hit a few sites along the way. We first stopped in Bloomington, IL to see the gravesite of the 2 Adlai Stevensons. One was Vice President under Grover Cleveland, and the other, his grandson ran for President twice against Eisenhower, and was Ambassador to the UN under Kennedy. We also stopped in Indianapolis at Crown Hill Cemetery to revisit the gravesite of President Benjamin Harrison, as well as the 3 Vice President buried there and John Dillinger.
|Ben Harrison's gravesite Indianapolis, Indiana|
Before we left Indianapolis we made a quick stop at Ben Harrison's home, which was closed. We then drove the 3 hours home and had a nice evening with the kids.