the boyhood home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, on August
20, 2015, in Abeline, Kan.
the nation gears up for another presidential election, the
good news is you don’t have to travel far to get a sense
of a presidential lifestyle.
year marked the 125th year of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s
trip to Abilene, 90 miles north of Wichita, affords
visitors a chance to see how our nation’s 34th president
made decisions, lived his life and the legacy he left for
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and
Boyhood Home in Abilene, two miles south of the Abilene
exit off I-70, tells the story of how Eisenhower spent
much of his boyhood years and offers tours of his home.
22-acre complex in a parklike setting attracts more than
200,000 visitors each year — many born long after
Eisenhower’s lifetime and who may not understand his
prominence in the world, said Tim Rives, deputy director
of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood
was born in the year that the frontier was declared closed
and died the year that the United States sent astronauts
to the moon," Rives said. "His life bridged the
19th and 20th centuries. He was supreme commander in a
military operation that decided the fate of the western
world for half a century, with his decision to invade
Normandy on June 6, 1944. He was also president for two
terms and maintained peace and prosperity for eight years.
rights were advanced in the Eisenhower administration,
NASA was founded, and the Interstate system was begun, and
the Korean War was ended. All of these events, Ike was at
on spending at least two to four hours at the Eisenhower
to the Eisenhower Museum can see the electric car that
belonged to Ike’s mother-in-law, Elvira Doud, but that
Eisenhower frequently drove. They can see his staff car
used through World War II and into his presidency; the
collection of pearl necklaces and earrings that belonged
to his wife, Mamie; the table Eisenhower used to plan
strategy as the commander of the D-Day invasion at
Normandy, France; and the Order of Victory medal he
received from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The
museum also has election memorabilia. When Eisenhower ran
for election in 1952 on the Republican ticket, "I
like Ike" became a household slogan.
two-story white boyhood home where he lived from 1898 to
1911, when he left for West Point Military Academy, is
open for tours. People can see the radio around which the
family gathered to hear the news and popular programs, the
piano in the parlor along with family photographs and a
Bible showing his birth entry.
the library is where the Eisenhower archives are located,
visitors can view temporary exhibits on the library’s
mezzanine lobby and view a 12-minute video that gives a
behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in a research
library. The library attracts about 900 researchers a year
and 4,000 long-distance reference requests.
Eisenhower Library is consistently one of the most
sought-out presidential libraries for researchers and
writers, Rives said.
someone wants to do research, they really have to come to
Abilene because of the 26 million documents we have and
our 300,000 photographs haven’t been digitized
yet," he said. "Someday down the road, yes, once
the problems of expense and technology are worked
Place of Meditation on the campus of the Eisenhower
Library and Museum was envisioned by Eisenhower as not his
final resting place but as place of meditation and
reflection for soldiers. The chapel includes the tombs of
Eisenhower, Mamie and their son Doud. In 1962, nationally
known stained-glass artist Odell Prather, originally of
Wichita, was commissioned to do the windows in the chapel
at the Eisenhower Center in Abilene. She was asked to do
something abstract so as not to offend a person of any
faith. She based her artwork on the Kansas plains.
center hopes soon to have interactive signs throughout the
campus for visitors who often pull off of I-70 after the
complex closes for the night, Rives said. Signs would
include information about the Chisholm Trail and how the
center is on Buckeye Avenue, where cattle herds were
driven; where the Eisenhowers’ garden and hay fields
were located; and other information that helped influence
THINGS TO SEE IN ABILENE
Greyhound Hall of Fame — This museum devoted to the
history of greyhound racing is across the street from the
Eisenhower Center. Admission is free.
Mansion — Tour the 25-room home, garden and museum at
1105 N. Buckeye Ave. Guided tours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Cost is
$10 for adults, $7.50 for groups of 10 or more and $5 for
ages 6 to 16.
Plains Theatre — For a chance to see live theater,
consider an evening performance. Productions run through
Dec. 20. For more information, go to
www.greatplainstheatre.com or call 785-263-4574.
Stover Candies and Factory and Store — Located off I-70
at 1993 Caramel Blvd. A stop at the outlet store allows
visitors a chance to purchase Russell Stover, Whitmans and
Hotel — Located at 105 E. Lafayette. The menu has
changed little since the original restaurant began in the
town of Brookville in the 1870s. Fried chicken, mashed
potatoes, coleslaw, relishes, creamed corn, biscuits and
ice cream are on the menu. Cost is $16 for adults, with
another $2 for soda, milk, tea and coffee.
Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home,
200 SE Fourth St., is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s
Day. Cost is $12 for adults; $9 for senior citizens,
military and students with identification; $3 for ages 6
to 15; and free for ages 5 and younger. Admission to the
Place of Meditation is free.
S. TRUMAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum is in
Independence, visitors can visit some of the most historic
sites related to Truman, such as the soda fountain where
he held down his first job, where he went to school and
the place he loved to play poker.
display at the Truman museum through May 18 is the German
Presidents Eisenhower and Truman were seen as some of the
nation’s best and most colorful.
decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan is credited with
bringing an end to World War II. He advocated helping
rebuild Europe and Japan and the beginning of both the
Cold War and Korean War. He introduced the Truman
Doctrine, which supplied aid to Turkey and Greece and
helped stop the spread of communism.