06 May A Visit to William Howard Taft National Historic Site In Cincinnati
Ohio is home to 8 U.S. presidents. If you are in the Cincinnati area, you may want to pay a visit to the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. This brief tour will help you learn more about the only person in history to be a U.S. President as well as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
I (Jeff) was recently on a business trip in Ohio, and since I’ve made it a goal to visit every presidential library or historic site, I thought I’d stop by. Although I was by myself, I noted that on the tour there was a family with children also attending. There is no entrance fee to visit the museum or his boyhood home, and tours, which are run by the National Park Service, run seven days a week between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Since I am a history buff, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and learning more about the 27th president. If learning about history isn’t your thing, or if you have small children who need to be entertained, I wouldn’t recommend visiting this site. For sure Mount Vernon or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., are a must for all to visit, but these other presidential historical sites are more appealing to those really interested in U.S. history.
A few quick facts I learned about the 27th U.S. President after visiting this national historic site:
- He is the only person to serve as BOTH President of the United States and a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- He weighed 350 pounds, easily the largest of any U.S. President.
- His father was a prominent attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Taft was born in the house you will tour at the national historic site.
- He went to Yale Law School, became a lawyer, and, eventually – after his presidency – achieved his dream job of becoming a Supreme Court Justice.
- Taft served as President Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of War.
- Roosevelt encouraged Taft to run for the presidency and he was easily elected President in 1908.
- But Taft was his own man and his politics differed from his friend Roosevelt’s, which upset Teddy.
- Because Teddy didn’t like the way Taft ran things in his first term, he ran against him, and after being defeated, created a splinter Republican Party (Bull Moose). He ran against his friend, Taft, as well as the Democratic Challenger Woodrow Wilson. Both Roosevelt and Taft were defeated in 1912, when Wilson was elected instead.
- He felt the role of the Supreme Court was greater than the Presidency.
- Taft had a considerable wit, charm and an influence – and was very beloved by all who knew him.
- He took up golf for exercise, but maybe more for leisure.
- He was the first President to throw out the first pitch, which has since become tradition in the U.S.
- His wife, First Lady Nellie, planted the first cherry blossoms along the tidal basin in Washington, D.C. – we have her to thank for the beauty of Cherry Blossom Season every March / April in D.C.
- Funny presidential side-note: I also learned from reading George W. Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points, that while Barbara Bush would watch her husband George H.W. Bush play on Yale’s baseball team, she was pregnant with George W. and she would sit in the rather large chair which was constructed for one William Howard Taft.
A really enjoyable experience to learn more about this U.S. President who was was proud to serve his country in any capacity possible.