Amazing Treasures IX- Check Out Our Past
by Vicky Tabor Branson (discovering one treasure of Marion at a time)
First I want to introduce you to my touring comrade this summer- Kelsey Miller. Kelsey is a local, who is attending Ohio University, working to get a public relations degree, taking hospitality classes as well. She is an intern for the Marion County Convention and Visitors Bureau for the summer and joining me as I tour around the county and helping write some segments. Just like many of you, even though she is a local, she is discovering many places she has never been to before in Marion. We never seem to visit what is in our own backyards. That is why the Amazing Treasures program is so great. It gets us out and experiencing our history and area.
And that is what Kelsey and I did this week when we visited the home and memorial of President Warren G. Harding. I can say it was my third visit to the home since I have moved here but Kelsey’s first guided tour. Though I have visited other times, bringing out of town guests with me as many of you might have, each time I have learned something new and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Not only was it Kelsey’s first tour but we were joined by a couple from Minnesota, who had come to Marion just to tour the home and memorial. They were on a quest to tour all of the U.S. Presidents’ homes. On this trip they were visiting Harding’s, Hayes’ (Fremont), Garfield’s (Mentor) and McKinley’s Monument (Canton). They very much enjoyed their tour and were very impressed by the large number of original artifacts in the home. That is not typical of many historic homes and it makes the Harding Home even more of a gem.
Our second stop was the Harding Memorial. This impressive architectural structure always amazes me. When I bring guests to see it, I often hear, “It looks like something that should be in Washington D.C.” Both President Harding and his wife, Florence, were laid to rest inside the memorial’s gates. It was built by over a million contributors donated $977,821.76 towards this magnificent marble monument. My favorite fact, about the money raised, is that over 200,000 schoolchildren contributed their hard-earned pennies to help build the memorial, completed in 1926. There are informational panels telling about Harding, his administration and the memorial to explain the unmanned structure. You will find the green Amazing Treasures box at the base of the monument’s stairs, for this square’s drawing/word.
There is so much going on this summer involving the Harding Home and Memorial. The home is under-going an archaeological dig to see where the 1920s kitchen would have been. There is a new Friends of Harding Home that has formed, seeking support and memberships. A new book about Harding, written by site manager Sherry Hall, called Warren G. Harding & the Marion Star will be available in early July. This year’s Warren G. Harding Symposium has additional community participation. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Prelude to the 1960s: The U.S. Presidency and Civil Rights”. The keynote speaker is former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. The symposium is July 18-19 on the OSU Marion Campus. Prior to the symposium, during and after the Marion Public Library is featuring an event on June 21 and several lectures, an adult and a children’s community reads book and an exhibit, all relating to Marion’s involvement in the civil rights movement as well our nation’s. The Palace Theatre will be showing 12 Years A Slave on June 20-22. To learn more about the symposium, visit www.osumarion.osu.edu/harding and the about the Library’s programming at www.marion.lib.oh.us/calendar.
So now you understand why I chose the third theme- Check Out Our Past. There is so much to learn, while having a great time in our own backyards! And I challenge you to count the pillars at the Harding Memorial. Do you know how many there are?