During the second of our three weeks in Ohio, Mom and Dad, Tom and I loaded up in the car and headed out for an overnight adventure. Our destination was Frankfort, Kentucky, but we made a few additional stops. Our first stop was a national park site I had never visited: William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati, Ohio.
We started off by going into the Visitors Center and visiting the restrooms. We looked through the small bookstore and then headed in to see the movie. The movie is an excellent summary of the life of William Howard Taft. I did not know that President Taft was an avid golfer and the first president to throw out the first baseball on opening day. He was also the only person to ever be President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Taft’s goal in life was to be on the Supreme Court, but he became President first.
William Howard Taft was a man of deep integrity who admired the law and the US Constitution. He was a good friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and succeeded him as President in 1909 with Roosevelt’s blessing. Roosevelt became angry, however, when Taft did not continue all Roosevelt’s policies. So Roosevelt ran against him in 1912 and split the Republican vote. Consequently Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat, was elected. Taft was appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice by Warren G Harding in 1921.
William Howard Taft was born in Cincinnati in 1857 in the house that is preserved at the Historic Site. His father was a lawyer and all the Tafts were encouraged to participate in public service. William went to Yale, became a lawyer, got married, and was appointed a judge while still in his 20’s. In a time when bribes and corruption were common in government, William Howard Taft was incorruptible. William McKinley appointed him Civilian Governor of the Philippines. Theodore Roosevelt sent him to Panama to get the canal built.
Today the house where Taft was born has been restored outside and in. House tours are available for free every half hour. Several of the rooms downstairs are furnished with items from the appropriate era. Because the house had several owners between the Tafts and when the National Park Service acquired it, very little is original to this house. Charles Taft, William’s son, was instrumental preserving what is there. Upstairs the house has items owned by William and Mrs. Taft. They are set in museum displays that also talk about Taft’s public service and his time as President and Chief Justice.
We enjoyed visiting William Howard Taft National Historic Site. I learned a lot about a man of incorruptible integrity who was happier serving his country when he was out of the limelight. The Visitors Center and House are open every day from 8 until 4. There is plenty of free parking behind the Visitors Center.