Rutherford B. Hayes and the Easter Egg Roll connection

When Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th president,of the U.S. he started the tradition of the Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. The tradition has since carried over to Hayes’ estate in Fremont, Ohio. Every year, kids show up at Spiegel Grove with hardboiled, colored eggs in hand to participate in egg related contests and scarf down Easter goodies. This year, it’s March 22. So, that’s one afternoon. What about the rest of the year?

The estate, part of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, has the original gates from the White House and is where Hayes and his wife Lucy are buried. Other points of interest are the presidential library— the first ever presidential library, in fact. Also, there are Hayes’ and his wife’s 31-room mansion, and a museum that chronicles Hayes’ life, presidency and Ohio history to add to a trip here.

For some reason, unknown even to me, (and I’ve written about this place before), I left the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center out of my U.S. presidents with Ohio connections round-up post. So, if you’re going to head to the spots where U.S. presidents lived, head here. It’s part of the Ohio Historical Society’s several landmark holdings, and one of the state’s signature places.

Ohio’s got you covered when it comes to presidents’ houses

Ohio has the nickname “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were elected from here. Seven of the eight were born in this state.

Although the site of Rutherford B. Hayes’ birthplace in Delaware (about 30 minutes from Columbus) is no longer there (I think there’s a gas station on the site), there are other presidents’ houses and landmarks still standing. A tour of all of them covers a lot of ground.

Ulysses S. Grant’s birthplace in Mt. Pleasant is now a museum run by the Ohio Historical Society. Although it’s open only certain times of the year, this is a lovely place on the Ohio River west of Cincinnati. You can also see the school house where Grant attended in a nearby town.

James A. Garfield’s house in Mentor in the northern part of Ohio is a National Historic Site. Although it is open year-round, there are seasonal hours.

Benjamin Harrison was born on a farm near Cincinnati, although, there is not a landmark. To visit his house, head to Indianapolis. He may of been born in Ohio, but Indiana became home.

William McKinley has a mega tribute in Niles, his birthplace. Along with the site where he was born there is a memorial, a museum, a research center and a library. McKinley’s honor comes partly because he was a respected governor of the state as well.

William H. Taft’s elegant home is in Cincinnati. This house, now an National Historic Site, also has an education research center.

Warren G. Harding’s former home in Marion is part of the Ohio Historical Society. Most of the furnishings belonged to Harding and his wife. The hours are seasonal. Harding is also buried in Marion about one hour from Columbus heading north.

William Henry Harrison wasn’t born in Ohio. Even though he was born in Virginia, he moved to Ohio and was elected president from his home in North Bend not far from Cincinnati. The house isn’t there, but Harrison is buried in North Bend. His tomb is part of the Ohio Historical Society’s properties.

(see Ohio Presidents)

Poetry Month: Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial

With National Poetry Month winding down in the U.S., I want to mention Paul Laurence Dunbar. He was the first African American poet to gain notoriety. His home, now owned by the Ohio Historical Society, also has the distinction of being the first state memorial in Ohio to honor an African American. The Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial is on the Best Historic Sites in Dayton list and is touted as being a place to find out, not only about Dunbar, but about the history of the times. For example, he was the son of freed slaves from Kentucky.

Dunbar, along with being a poet, was a friend of Wilbur and Orville Wright since Dayton was their stomping ground too. Unfortunately, Dunbar’s life was not a long one. He died at age 33 of tuberculosis, but for such a short life he left a legacy for those of us traveling by to enjoy. If you do plan to visit, the house is only open during the weekends in April and May, but in the summer the hours expand to include Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Also, besides tours of the house where you can imagine what it was like during Dunbar’s time, there are events held throughout the summer and fall.

For a radio broadcast about Dunbar and his poetry that was on National Public Radio last year, click here. It was to celebrate him 100 years after his death.