Ohio is known as “the Mother of Presidents,” as an impressive 8 U.S. Presidents hail from Ohio. Seven were born in Ohio: Ulysses Simpson Grant (Point Pleasant), Rutherford Bichard Hayes (Delaware), James Abram Garfield (near Orange), Benjamin Harrison (North Bend), William McKinley (Niles), Warren Gamaliel Harding (Corsica, now called Blooming Grove), William Howard Taft (Cincinnati); and ninth President William Henry Harrison was born in Virginia, but later moved to Ohio.
If you’re from Ohio, you likely learned all of the above in your grade school Ohio History class. And if you’re from Cincinnati, or have lived here for any length of time, you’ve surely heard of the legacy of the Tafts.
You can’t drive anywhere in Cincinnati without encountering Mr. Taft or his family. There’s the Taft Museum (the house of Pres. Taft’s half-brother Charles Phelps Taft — in 1908, William Howard Taft accepted the nomination for U.S. president on the house’s porch!), the Taft Theatre (named for Charles Phelps); William Howard Taft Rd; and, of course, the William Howard Taft National Historical Site.
Located in Mt. Auburn, the William Howard Taft Historical Site is the house where Taft was born and raised. It’s also one of Ohio’s eight National Parks.
In honor of Election Day, our family paid homage to 27th President last weekend. My kids have been very curious about the whole election event, and this seemed like an educational, hands-on way to experience Ohio’s rich presidential history.
The home itself is stunning: a yellow-brick, two-story Greek Revival house sitting atop a hill in Mt. Auburn. Tours of the inside of the house are given at the top of every hour, so we had time to thoroughly explore the grounds while we waited (you can also watch a historical film and learn about Taft through several interactive exhibits at the Park office, located right next to the house!)
The house tour was about 20 minutes long; and afterwards, we were allowed to roam the house on our own. Our guide had lots of funny jokes and quirky facts about President Taft:
We saw the crib where Baby Taft slept until he turned two.
Taft was a star athlete and student.
He graduated second in his class a Woodward High and Yale!
His family had: a cook, housekeeper, maid, nanny and stable hand.
After exploring this expansive house — it’s easy to see why!
Politics were just as “personal” a century ago.
Taft was a big guy (our largest president to date), a fact which didn’t go unnoticed by the public, his colleagues or his opponents. (See elephant caricature above.)
Taft is the only person to have served as both President and Supreme Court Justice.
He preferred law to politics.
The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is a great way to experience a rich piece of Ohio history. The tour is just the right length for kids; the grounds are gorgeous; and, with plenty of interactive activities inside the Park’s headquarters, this national site makes for a educational, kid friendly and fun afternoon.
The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is located at 2038 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45219. It’s open 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., with house tours given at the top of the hour. Admission is free. Call 513-684-3262 or visit the website for more information.