Location: 2038 Auburn Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45219
We got up a little later than normal and got on the road after breakfast. We arrived in Cincinnati around 11:30 local time (thanks to a fun break down of time zones, the far western counties in Indiana are in CST). Unfortunately for us, this has been a VERY wet March for the entire Midwest and that weather pattern continued for much of the trip.
Our first stop was the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. I will admit that I knew almost nothing about President Taft but we put this on the list figuring it would be a quick stop to add to a growing Jr Ranger badge collection. There is a little bit of parking directly in small lot in front of the Visitor’s Center. If the site was having a very busy day, there is plenty of street parking on nearby side streets.
The entire complex includes a small visitor’s center which had a small museum dedicated to President Taft and the rest of the Taft family and a short video (about 15 minutes) that gives background to President Taft’s life. With a one year old in tow, we did not watch the movie. We stopped in to the ranger’s desk to collect the Jr Ranger booklet and the volunteer told us he would be leading the next tour over to the house in about 10 minutes. So we used that time to look around the museum.
The short tour of the house including a volunteer or ranger giving a tour of three of the main rooms in the house including the parlor, office/library, and the nursery. All three rooms are set up with period style furniture and some Taft family heirlooms. This was President Taft’s childhood home so the tour is aimed at explaining how his upbringing helped mold him into the President. After touring the rooms, visitors are free to explore the upper and lower stories of the house. Upstairs would have originally been the children’s bedrooms but have been converted into displays about various aspects of President Taft’s career. The basement would have housed the family’s kitchen and dining room but has been converted into conference rooms. The tour was very informative and my budding history buff had a lot of questions for the tour guide. Then we wandered through the exhibits to finish filling the Jr Ranger booklet. Unfortunately due to the rain we couldn’t walk through the gardens outside but other than that this is a GREAT rainy day activity.
The Visitor’s Center also has a small gift shop where my daughter purchased an old fashion toy like the children would have played with when Taft was a child. She also turned in her Jr Ranger booklet to receive her badge and certificate (this one was a very nice one printed on card stock, most of them are just the last page of the booklet). Total time spent along with the tour was a little over an hour. You could spend more time if you read each of the displays in detail but we were starting to get hungry so we rushed through a few.
Overall: We all enjoyed the Taft house. If you aren’t big into history this is not a good fit for you, but I honestly learned a good deal about a lesser known President. Oldest daughter learned some stuff and baby enjoyed being able to show off her skills of climbing stairs and making mad dashes out of rooms with her father chasing her.