5 Ohio Presidential Sites | Midwest Living

5 Ohio Presidential Sites

Ohio's presidents inspired educational spots that dish up interesting details.

First Ladies National Historic Site, Canton

Guided tours visit two buildings: a dry education-research center and the restored Victorian Saxton McKinley House. The real fun happens at the latter, where a “first lady” costumed interpreter gives a primer on the language of the fan or flirting. She also dishes on her counterparts, including Jacqueline Bouvier, who met husband JFK while she worked for a Washington, D.C. newspaper. Admission charged. (330) 452-0876; firstladies.org

Harding Home, Marion

Tours of this home reveal zany details you don’t expect from a presidential site: a sideways chair, a haunted clock and a canary (now stuffed) that allegedly predicted Harding’s death. It’s not a mansion, just an average home in a cozy neighborhood. Don’t miss the regal Harding Memorial a mile and a half away. Admission charged; open by appointment during the winter. (800) 600-6894; hardinghome.org

James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Mentor

Garfield began the tradition of front-porch campaigning, so his home offers plenty of grassroots-style political punch. Guided tours explore family life; if you want to see the presidential memorabilia, leave time to wander in the visitors center (which once served as his pressroom). A short film puts his presidency in context, making a stop on the front porch more meaningful. Admission charged for guided tours. (440) 255-8722; nps.gov/jaga

McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton

Enthusiastic guides lead tours about the assassinated leader, and special events like Soup at Six combine dinners with historical talks. A stained-glass window tops the domed McKinley memorial. The Street of Shops re-creates a 19th-century Midwest town, and an impressive model train setup entertains visitors. Admission charged. (330) 455-7043; mckinleymuseum.org

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont

Old-time baseball games, Civil War reenactments and lavish holiday dinners lure history buffs to the sprawling Spiegel Grove estate. Hayes and his wife, Lucy, are buried on the wooded grounds, and a five-year renovation has restored the original post-Civil War decor. Admission charged. (419) 332-2081; rbhayes.org

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