Wednesday, August 28, 2019

President Dwight Eisenhower

Kevin and Pat Surbaugh at the
Eisenhower Center in Abilene, Kansas.
Photographer Unknown
Abilene, KS - With a population of 6,380 the city of Abilene is a small town in North Central Kansas.
There is no college in the town Yet it has a lot to offer.  Most notably it was the boyhood home of our 34th President Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower.  It is also the home of the Presidential Library and Museum of the only President to have grown up in Kansas.
The Eisenhower Center is the home of five buildings.
1) The Visitor Center, which houses the gift shop and is where you enter, to purchase your tickets (Currently tickets are $12 for the museum and $8 for the boyhood home).
2) The chapel, which houses the graves of the former President and the First Lady.
3) The Library, which like other Presidential Libraries is a full research library.
4) The boyhood home of the president.  It is the actual home and sits on the original site of the home.  The home where he, his other five brothers, one sister and parents all lived as he grew up.
5) The fifth building is home of the museum itself.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
When we arrived in Abilene, we were able to secure a coupon, allowing us into the Eisenhower Museum, for half price.  Well to be more precise, it was a buy one get one (BOGO) offer, but the effect is the same.  Ticket prices for the museum are $12 each and for the home, they are $8 each.  For both that is a total of $20.  We chose to see both and the coupon got us tickets for both the museum and the house for the price of just one of us.   The receipt served as our tickets for the museum, but the house had actual tickets for a specific time to go through the house with a tour guide.  The house was our first stop after leaving the visitor center.  The tour was interesting, even though it was my second time at the museum, it was my wife's first visit.  The tour guide was able to provide useful information, that even I hadn't learned or remembered about the only President from Kansas. The Eisenhower Family Home is the only historic home in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) system. Most of the presidential homes and birthplaces are operated by the National Park Service or a state agency.

Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
After we left the Boyhood Home of the 34th President, we headed over to the museum. In the museum, we saw a lot of items from his days in the military.  The museum told his story from that of a child growing up in Kansas, after their move from Texas, through both World Wars, and into the Presidency.  I must say the museum was very fascinating.  The exhibits were well laid out.  For me, the presidential years were the most interesting, but my love for World War II history had me enthralled by those exhibits as well.  Like General Eisenhower's car in the photo on the right of this paragraph.

Finally, when we left the museum, we made a stop by the chapel to complete our trip.  Also known as the Place of Meditation, it is the final resting place of President Dwight David Eisenhower, his wife Mamie Doud and their fist born son Doud Dwight.  Doud who was three, when he died in 1921, was originally buried in Denver, thirty-two years before President Eisenhower took the oath of office for the Presidency.  In this memorial chapel, you can see the two graves and three markers for the presidential couple and their firstborn child.

Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
We did not visit the library portion of the complex. If we were on a research trip, we would have visited this portion of the center, where the papers of the thirty-fourth president of the United States are housed.

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