Today, being July the 4th, we decided to do some truly American activities. We headed out to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center to learn more about one of our American Presidents and to listen to a concert while having a picnic lunch. What could be more American, right? The only problem is that it is in the high 90's today and only a slight breeze so the weather was not cooperating very well.
There are several entrances into the Center but they all have the same kind of gates and we found out that they were the original White House Gates when President Hayes was in office. They were donated by Congress in 1928 to Spiegel Grove which is our nation's first presidential library.
The Hayes Presidential Center which includes his home, burial site, museum and library is located within 25-acres of the President's original estate called Spiegel Grove.
The first thing we did was to park the truck in one of several parking areas. Then we went into the Museum and purchased a ticket to tour the home and the museum. We didn't have to wait long for a tour of the home but we were really disappointed that we couldn't take pictures inside as it is a magnificent home. I especially loved the walnut and butternut staircase leading to a rooftop lantern offering a 360-degree view of Spiegel Grove.
Sardis Birchard, who was the guardian and uncle of President Hayes, had the original house built on his property so that the Hayes family would visit him. The original summer home was built between 1959 and 1863. The only thing that President Hayes said he wanted was a large porch and so the summer home had a wrap-around veranda. For a summer home, it had quite a bit of room as it had eight bedrooms, one of which Uncle Sardis occupied on his visits and later he lived with them.
After we toured the home and grounds, it was time for the concert. Unfortunately, we found out that picnics are not allowed on the grounds so we took our chairs, drinks and a couple of cheese sticks with us and found a place to sit in the shade. We also ended up buying some popcorn because we were starving! You'll notice in the pictures that no one sat in the sun. It was pretty warm even in the shade and we loved any little breeze we felt.
The Toledo Symphony Band was seated under a canopy in front of the home. They played mainly march music which was appropriate for the day and they were very good. We loved the last piece of music, The 1812 Overture with cannon accompaniment. Those cannons really boomed! You can hear the cannons boom in this video!
After the concert, we decided that we had better tour the Rutherford B. Hayes Museum and Library even though we both wanted lunch. It was already about 3:30 PM and we figured we better see the Museum and eat later.
There is a Presidents' Gallery where each President has a Glass Case with information about what happened during that President's term. I wish it would have had some of their accomplishments but that wasn't a part of this display.
My favorite Presidents have been both Democrats and Republicans which would probably stun some of my friends who think I don't ever veer from my Democratic roots. Franklin Roosevelt is my most favorite because of all the work he did to help people but I also love and admire Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation policies and the Antiquities Act of 1906 and, of course, Abraham Lincoln for making the USA a free nation.
I think if I had to choose between the Museum and the Home, I would probably tour the home and listen to the guide who gave us lots of tidbits about President and Mrs. Hayes and their life and political career as well as facts about the home itself. However, maybe I would have enjoyed the museum more if I wasn't starving!
We were just ravenous and so after we left the museum, we stayed parked and ate lunch inside the truck. It sure tasted good as our lunch was eaten at about 5 PM!