We cruised to our first stop, the Harding Home, in style as Vicky has a beautiful sporty convertible I was officially considering myself the VIP/diva of Marion at that point. Although I was scheduled to take a visit to the Harding Home in my elementary school days, the Home was under construction and I never got the chance to go back. Harding’s home was not on the original list on the scavenger hunt, but Vicky and I decided to use our alternate space for this. Accompanying Vicky and I on our tour were a couple president junkies from Minnesota that have visited just about every presidential memorial in the country (Coolidge’s home was their favorite presidential hometown…so far). Not only was it beautiful, I literally felt like I stepped back in time.
With 95% of the furniture and artifacts being original, the Harding Home looks just like it did before President Harding and his wife, Florence, took D.C. by storm in the 1920s. The tour was very interactive and the tour guide was not only knowledgeable about everything Harding, but also shared my love and appreciation for extremely corny humor throughout the tour. I was able to get my face just inches away from Harding’s favorite chair that even had his beloved pooch’s scratches on it. I got to see all of his food-stained ties and his hairbrush with his hair still on it. I smelled a vase filled with his tobacco; still smelling as fresh as ever. I eyeballed his extravagant pipes with the resin still in there and the exact stove that his maids slaved over in the kitchen making dozens of waffles for him on the daily. I am still very much in awe of how great the house looks and how well everything in it was preserved.
My favorite part of the tour was learning how Florence was so ahead of her time as a woman in the early 1900s; or maybe she was just a spoiled rich girl. She was headstrong and certainly went against the norm of her time. She came from a wealthy family and didn’t give a second thought to divorcing a man that was doing more harm than good in her life before she met Warren. She never conformed to how society thought she should act and steered away from all things domestic like sewing and cooking. Her only domestic hobby was her love of gardening. Her rose garden is still out in the backyard as memorial to her. The only downside to our tour was that I could take no pictures inside due to security reasons.
Our next stop was the beautiful Harding Memorial. The blue skies and sunshine made the memorial even more beautiful. As a Marionite, I pass the memorial often and take it for granted. Trying to think about it from a perspective of someone who is visiting for the first time, I realize that we all tend to forget how special it is to have such a gorgeous piece of architecture on well landscaped land with green, luscious grass, flowers (including my favorite, tulips), and tall, mighty trees surrounding the lot.
After just one day of exploring my hometown, I am starting to realize how much more I need to start appreciating what we have in Marion and the historical beauties that everyone seems to bypass without a thought. I am looking forward to continuing on my adventures to see what else there is to uncover in Marion, Ohio!