Day 1 of our Midwest Road Trip started out at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site in Indianapolis, Indiana. We love visiting presidential sites when we are on road trips because there’s just no better way to connect the dots of our American history. Now when the kids are learning about the 23rd President of the United States and grandson of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, they will have real-life experiences to help them remember.
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Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Benjamin Harrison moved to his new 16-room house in Indianapolis in the 1870s as a prosperous lawyer. The house was his permanent home until his death in 1901. On the guided tour you are able to go through each of the rooms and see many of the furnishings and pieces that belonged to the Harrison family.
While on the tour, the guide showed us the spot in the parlor where Benjamin Harrison was standing when he accepted the Republican nomination for president.
It’s always interesting to hear the personal stories of the men who served in our nation’s highest office. There is a story told that one day while President Harrison was waiting at the North Portico for his carriage to pick him up, Old Whiskers, who was pulling a cart with the grandchildren in tow, bolted through the White House gate. Harrison is described as holding on to his top hat and setting off down Pennsylvania Avenue in active pursuit of the goat and cart. (retold from the museum docent and info taken from America Comes Alive
Even though children were not typically allowed to sit with the adults at the dinner table, it is said that President Harrison would often pull his daughter up to the table in her high chair that you can see in this picture.
On the 2nd floor of the house we saw the exercise equipment that the President used.
The oldest item in the house is the writing desk which was built in the 1750’s.
Presidential Pets Exhibits
On the third floor that was used as a ball room when the Harrisons lived in the home, there is now an exhibit showcasing the wide range of presidential pets.
- Did you know that John Quincy Adams had a pet alligator in the bathroom?
- Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt had 4 pet snakes?
- Barney Bush is the only pet to have it’s own bobblehead.
- There is even a display devoted to Fala, one of the most famous dogs owned by Franklin D Roosevelt!
Purchase your tickets at the Gift Shop building behind the presidential home.
Restrooms are located at the back of the presidential site.
Find the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Looking for other presidential sites? Check out the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.