Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Just outside the boundary of the Gettysburg Battlefield is the retirement residence of General and President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife Mamie. They fell in love with the area when Eisenhower was stationed there during WWI, Commanding a tank training unit. After returning to the states at the end of WWII, they decided to purchase the first property that they ever owned as a retirement home in 1950. They settled on the 147 acre farm in Gettysburg.
Of course, as things turned out, he did not get to actually retire until completing his second term as president of the United States in 1961. However, they did use the farm during the presidency, including hosting foreign dignitaries.
They settled into the home in 1961 and in addition to enjoying the quiet life, he developed an award winning Angus cattle herd with his partners. He also took up painting as a hobby and a portrait of his grandchildren can be seen in the room he used to rest after his heart attack in 1955. Some of his other paintings are also shown in various parts of the home. The house was furnished with items that they have had for many years and with gifts they had received during his time in the White House.
It is a beautiful setting and the simple design of the house that had built to replace the decaying one on the property reflected the lifestyle of the couple. When you arrive you get a short orientation and then you are free to explore the house, barns and grounds at your leisure. It is an interesting place to visit and can be completed in just a few hours.