Benjamin Harrison. The president bookended by Cleveland’s two terms. The grandson of William Henry. The last bearded president. He’s more often an answer to a trivia question than a featured president in history class. Perhaps his presidency wasn’t terribly significant, but a visit to his house is a real trip back in time.
The late 19th century rocks in Benjamin Harrison’s home. It’s a historical time capsule, as the furnishings are 75% original. Plus, you can actually take pictures in this president’s home. Let’s take a look.
The Reginaphone was made by the Regina company in the late 19th century. It plays metal music discs that resemble large circular saw blades. The music box has a beautiful and full sound, with a hint of Victorian eerie. Check out our video below to hear it in action.
Family Tree in the Library
Benjamin Harrison’s library is a family history lesson. The Harrison family has roots in the Virginia planter class. In fact, Benjamin Harrison’s great-grandfather, Benjamin Harrison V, signed the Declaration of Independence.
The Art of Caroline Harrison
Caroline Harrison was an artist of considerable talent. Her watercolor paintings adorn walls throughout the house. Caroline designed the Harrison presidential china with a blue background and golden grain stalks. Caroline fell ill during her time in the White House. She died in 1892 – from what would later be diagnosed as tuberculosis. The Harrison house maintains a letter by a young Helen Keller who wrote the ill First Lady in 1892.
The Harrison Kids & Grandchildren
Throughout the Harrison household, you’ll find paintings and photographs of family members. One funny story tells of the Harrison grandchildren wreaking havoc throughout the White House with their pet goat, Mr. Whiskers.
A Home Gym in the Bedroom
The Third Floor Museum
On the third floor of the house, you’ll find a nice museum with many interesting artifacts – from original campaign posters and buttons to a unique horn chair.
Goodbye, For Now
Well, that’s it. Another presidential site, and this is a great one. If you’re passing through Indianapolis, be sure to make some time for the Benjamin Harrison house. It’s a wonderful place to visit; well-worth the price of admission (adults $12, kids $7).
The site and artifacts are in excellent shape, with great attention to detail. Our tour of the house took a little over an hour. Parking was no problem, as it’s located right behind the house. The staff members were very welcoming and answered all of our questions. We’ll definitely be back. Thanks for the great tour, Jim!