We decided to visit Abilene, Kansas today to see the Eisenhower Center which includes his presidential library, museum & boyhood home. Even though Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas, his family moved back to Abilene when he was 1 year old. His father worked for most of his life in a local creamery to support the family which included 6 boys. They bought a small house located on 2.5 acres on the “wrong side of the tracks” in Abilene where the boys were raised. The house was added to over the years as the boys got older and their grandfather came to live with them. One of the boys died in childhood. All of the other five became very successful in their selected fields: business, law, military and government. Dwight Eisenhower was the only son to go into the military as it was a way for him to receive a great education at West Point with very little cost to the family. All of the brothers supported each other efforts of attend college and all of the five graduated.
In 1946 his mother sold the home and it was later acquired by the group that built the Eisenhower Center along with the surrounding property to form the current facility. We took a quick tour of the house and learned some information about Eisenhower’s boyhood.
We watched a 23 minute film at the Visitor’s Center that gave a quick synopsis of Eisenhower’s life and his accomplishments. Eisenhower was the last president to be born in the 19th century. We also visited the Center for Meditation located near the Visitor’s Center.
|Stained glass inside Meditation Center|
We spent several hours inside the museum (you could probably spend several days and not see everything in detail). As with the other Presidential Libraries/Museums that we have visited over the year, the total amount of exhibits and information is overwhelming. Eisenhower was at the center of world events for a least 20 years (1940-1960) and the museum attempts to document this portion of his life in detail.
We made a quick visit to the Eisenhower Library which houses the archives from his military service and time as president. It was getting late in the day and the Center closes at 4:30 PM.
We stopped by the Russell Stover’s Factory Store located in Abilene along I-70. They have a whole room full of “bloopers” that are candies that are eatable but did not turn out to have the look they expected. We bought some of these along with some sugar free chocolates that Connie wanted for baking.