Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sight seeing in Indianapolis Part 1 - President Benjamin Harrison's home

So the Missus and I have visited 3 and 4 presidential museums (me: Nixon, Ford, Reagan) (her: Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan) and we've decided that we'd like to visit every presidential museum that exists, even Bill Clinton's.  Perhaps when we retire we'll set off across the country going to state to state visiting each one.
Recently I found myself in Indianapolis on business with some co-workers.  We had a couple hours before we needed to be to our destination and when one of them saw that we were going to pass near to the home of Benjamin Harrison I asked if they would mind if we stopped to see it, they didn't mind so we stopped!
Unfortunately for me I didn't have a real camera with me, just the silly little camera in my city issued Blackberry phone so it had to suffice.  When we go to the house the sign indicated that the tour had just left and the next one wouldn't start for half an hour.  That didn't deter one of the people in my group who boldly knocked on the door.  A very nice elderly lady opened the door and invited us in and we were on our own private tour!
I was amazed at how accessible everything was in the house.  Very little was roped off or separated from the visitors.   Much in the house is original to the Harrison family.  After the former president passed away his second wife also moved out and the house served as a boarding house and then part of a girl's college.  Fortunately the furnishings and accessories were stored and preserved and placed back in the house when it was turned into the presidential museum.  I highly recommend a visit to President Benjamin Harrison's house!
Outside the house
Also outside the house
Here it is!  A big place for its time and expensive too.  Solidly built with 12' ceilings and floors that don't squeak or groan as they are walked on.
A decoration from China in the parlor
The parlor.  The screen in front of the fireplace was to diffuse the heat from the fire and prevent the beeswax makeup on the women in the room from melting!
Original typewriters in the president's office
The dining room
President Harrison's china
President T. Roosevelt's china
President Lincoln's china.  Mrs Harrison discovered many china pieces from previous administrations at the White House and started a collection of the presidential china to preserve them for future generations
A letter from 12 year old Helen Keller to President Harrison
The nursery for his daughter from his second wife. This was the dressing room for his first daughter with his first wife
The president's bedroom
The Missus is a quilter of renown so I took pictures of many of the quilts in the house.  This one has faint signatures of civil war veterans on it
The quilt on the president's bed
The desk of Benjamin Harrison when he was an attorney prior to becoming President
The kitchen stove in the kitchen (of course); lots of light in here for taking pictures with my non camera
The pie safe for storing pies and cakes away from the hordes of flies that would be in the kitchen in the summer.  Yuck!  The nice lady was our docent tour guide
The Missus likes to do extreme ironing so I got a picture of the household ironing board
The family carriage and sleigh in the carriage house

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