Our 2012 Travels travel blog

Me at the Saxton Garden

Lee getting ready for lunch at the Saxton Garden


The Saxton Home




First Ladies Library & Research Center

Lee and I with Mary Regula, the Founder of the Library

An Exhibit Of First Ladies' Gowns Was On Display

Mary Todd Lincoln's White House China

Fountain and Park Area Outside the First Ladies Library


This morning we headed to Canton, Ohio to visit several places. We'll probably have to make another trip yet to see everything we want to see in the Canton area. It was about a two hour drive to the National First Ladies' Library. We parked the truck at the Saxton home and walked over to the library to buy our tickets for the next tour. We were too late for the last tour so we had about an hour or so before the next one. So, we walked back to the Saxton Home and had our picnic lunch in their gardens.

The Saxton Home and the 1895 City Bank Building which now serves as the First Ladies Library and Research Center are preserved at this site. It is the only site in the United States that honors the lives and accomplishment of our nation's First Ladies. The National Park Service manages and operates these sites.

The Saxton House is at 331 Market Avenue South and is the former home of First Lady Ida Saxton McKinely. The McKinelys lived in the home during the 14 years that President McKinely served in Congress. At one point in the history of the house, it looked like a store-front because the neighborhood had become a commercial area. It took quite a bit of restoration to get it back to its former glory. Marsh Belden, Sr., a grandson of Ida McKinely's sister saved the home from the wrecking ball. He restored the outside of the home and had it placed on the National Historic Register. His picture resides at the bottom of the grand staircase in the home. He used to love to slide down the bannister and so it is an appropriate spot to honor his part in the saving of this home.

After lunch we headed over to the Library again for our tour. We first watched a short video and while we were in that room waiting for our tour, our guide came over and told us that she would like us to meet someone. She introduced us to Mary Regula. Mary is married to U. S. Representative Ralph Regula but her claim to fame is that she is the founder of the First Ladies' Library.

Mary was a former school teacher and was interested early in life in history. It was through her research that she recognized the void regarding information about our First Ladies. She was determined to change so she assembled a board of 13 people to raise the funds and hire a historian to create a complete 40,000-entry bibliography on all first ladies from Martha Washington to Laura Bush. It is the cornerstone of the National First Ladies’ Library and now the First Ladies National Historic Site. She now serves as the National First Ladies' Library's Founding Chair and Vice President.

Mary stops in at the library every once in awhile to greet guests and meet some of the people who tour the site. We were lucky enough to be there today. She gave us a book "This Elevated Position" which is a guide to the National First ladies' Library and the importance of First Lady history which she signed for us as the Founder of the site. We asked if we could have our picture taken with her and she graciously agreed. Since this was breaking the "no camera rule" we were quite pleased. She was a very gracious lady and we enjoyed meeting her.

We toured some of the Library and Research Center with a guide and then she took us over to the Sexton Home where we had a tour of the home. It was really an excellent tour and we would highly recommend it.

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