This week’s edition of Field Trip Friday is another outing that I took sans children on my recent trip to Colorado. I have to tell you that I discovered there is no shortage of historical hot spots in Kansas- particularly along I-70! I was tempted to stop and stretch my legs at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum which includes his boyhood home when I saw a billboard alerting me that it was in the local vicinity. It couldn’t have been easier to find. I simply followed the signs that directed me off the interstate and headed straight into Abilene. I had no idea that this little 2 mile by 2 mile nearly square town is full of some of the wildest West History in Kansas. Abilene was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail, boasting it was once home to Wild Bill Hickok who served a very short term as Abilene’s sheriff. You won’t find anything commemorating him, but you will find a beautiful, sprawling campus that is now part of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, which is what I stopped to see in the first place so I was determined not to get side tracked.
I knew this would be a special treat and actually felt a wee bit guilty stopping without my family because they’d have loved this one too. Unfortunately, I still had quite a drive ahead of me and didn’t want to take the 2-3 hours necessary to enjoy the site to it’s fullest, but even the hour I spent was a welcome break to stretch my legs.
I began with a short stop in the visitor’s center that has an awesome gift shop filled with all things Ike, and even shows a short 24 minute movie every half hour. Though I would have loved to have seen it, I had that time thing working against me.
I did slow down enough to explore the tiny home where young Dwight grew up. A guided tour of the home is offered continuously. Unfortunately the pictures I took inside didn’t turn out because flash photography isn’t permitted but if you’d like to take a peek for yourself, you can take a peek at the online tour. The home was last occupied by Ida Eisenhower, Dwight’s mother, who lived in the home until her death in 1946. The home has been shown as a museum with the original furnishings since 1947.
After exploring the home, I took a moment to visit the Place of Meditation, the final resting place of President Eisenhower, his wife Mamie, and their firstborn son, Doud Dwight, who preceded them in death. Inside you will see quotations from the famous president and general, including this one that I really found profound:
"The real fire within the builders of America was faith — faith in a Provident God whose hand supported and guided them: faith in themselves as the children of God … faith in their country and its principles that proclaimed man’s right to freedom and justice."
Abilene Homecoming, Abilene, Kansas, June 4, 1952
Pretty incredible, huh?
I did not visit the Presidential Library which serves primarily as a research facility, though it does have a quilt display that is shown at this time. I also did not visit the museum, which is the only building on the campus that charges an admission fee. It wasn’t the cost that scared me off, but rather the fact that I didn’t have enough time to really explore. I’m hoping to make a return trip with my family sometime in the future; maybe on the way to next year’s Savvy Blogging Summit. I did take the time to walk along the grounds and must say that if you are in the area of Abilene, this is one of the stops I would highly recommend. Referred to as one of the Top Ten Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower was also a highly esteemed military leader who received the great honor of Five Star General, no wonder it’s the best known attraction in Abilene! It’s even listed as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas which means that I saw two on this trip and didn’t even know it until I was back home in Alabama! Planning to be in the area and want some more information? You can call 877-RING-IKE or stop by 200 S.E. 4th Street. You’ll also find lesson plans from the website here and if you’d like to download my field trip notebooking pages you can do that here.
Once again, if you’ve been on an outing that you’d like to share feel free to link up to to this week’s Field Trip Friday. Of course you’re welcome to snag the cute button and I’d be appreciative if you’d link back to my site. Until next week~ Happy Field Trippin’!
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