I want to start with some much-delayed blog business and thank Historical Digression for a Leibster Award nomination (and apologize for taking so very long to acknowledge it) and Chandler Swain Reviews for a Versatile Blogger nomination. I don’t read enough blogs to nominate 11 and 15, respectively, in turn, so I can’t formally accept the awards. But in the spirit of Chandler Swain Reviews, a movie review site, I will tell you that my all-time favorite movie is Lilies of the Field. Rounding out the top 5 are My Brilliant Career, Anne of the Thousand Days, Gettysburg, and Streetcar Named Desire. I tried hard to think of one that had been done in this century, but I got nothin’.
And speaking of Gettysburg — how’s that for a subtle transition — I was at the Eisenhower National Historic Site in Gettysburg for the first time during their WWII weekend in September. I’m at the Gettysburg National Military Park quite a bit but have never quite made it to the Eisenhower site, adjoining the park to the west. You get the tickets for and board the shuttle to (there’s no public parking there) the Eisenhower site at the battlefield visitor center.
Dwight D. and Mamie bought the 189 acre property in 1950, while he was president of Columbia University, in preparation for their retirement. Events — like being President of the United States — got in the way of their retirement plans for awhile and they didn’t end up moving there until 1961. The core of the house was a log cabin built in the mid 18th century.
The enclosed porch, above, was their favorite room. Doesn’t it look like any old granny’s 1960s house? Except that the Eisenhowers weren’t any old grandparents, so the room saw use by the likes of Churchill, Khrushchev, and De Gaulle.
My favorite story about the house has to do with the marble fireplace in the living room. It was once in the White House but removed during a Grant administration renovation. Years later, it was found under the porch of a house in Georgetown, acquired by the White House staff and given to the Eisenhowers as an anniversary gift. It was the General’s favorite piece in the house because there’s a photograph of President Lincoln standing in front of a White House fireplace just like it. The White House had seven of those fireplaces, however, all exactly alike, so no one knows whether this one was the one in the Lincoln photo.