Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania

We spent the night of the 22nd in Hagerstown, Maryland and this day in and around Gettysburg. We arrived at the battlefield visitor center four minutes after it opened and paid to take the first guided tour of Eisenhower National Historic Site, which is on the edge of the battlefield. We had to take a shuttle bus, and it took about five minutes to get there.

The Eisenhowers lived on a very pretty farm in a very pretty area. They were not pretentious — the fancy stuff, most of it gifts, was all gathered in two rooms. The rest of the house is decorated much the way I might do it. We could get a good feel for the family — Mamie just died in 1979 and very little has changed.

The living room with a marble mantelpiece believed to have been removed from the White House during a 19th-century remodeling.

The dining room, with furniture purchased by the Eisenhowers in 1927. Visitors to this house include Nikita Khrushchev, Bernard Montgomery, Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle, and me.

The back porch where Ike and Mamie spent most of their time and where Ike did most of his painting. The window looks out across the rose garden and farm fields to the woods on the battlefield.

The den, which is decorated with materials salvaged from the house when the Eisenhowers built on a large addition.

We spent about half an hour touring the grounds and house. One of the tour stops marked on the map was a Secret Service guardhouse from the 1970’s. All that was there was a sign that said, “This exhibit has been removed. Please continue to the next stop.” There was no other explanation. I thought that was pretty secret of the Secret Service.

The front of the house

The back of the house

Ike’s personal putting green. An observation tower on the battlefield can be seen in the left distance.

We looked at the few exhibits in the reception center, then boarded the bus back to the battlefield visitor center.

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