Sept. 16, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

You’ll Like Ike’s Farmhouse

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Located just miles from the Gettysburg battlefields, the Eisenhower National Historic Site served the 34th president as a retreat.

An avid artist, Eisenhower’s oil-on-canvas paintings litter the walls throughout the upper level of the house, showcasing a talent and affinity for serenity. The enthusiasm for color comes through in pieces such as a romantic rendering of a snowy forest, several nostalgic portraits — such as “The Mexican” (Mamie’s favorite) — and a still life of pink flowers in vases. Each one is signed with his initials.

Aside from the president’s paintings, the house includes portraits of the Eisenhowers by Thomas Edgar Stephens. A bookshelf on the second-floor hallway includes dozens of books, such as Fulton Oursler’s “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and Norman R. Ford’s “The Black, the Gray and the Gold.” Wallpaper with the seals of the U.S. states cover the wall leading up to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, around the hallway hangs “The Mexican” — a petite portrait of a man with a rugged face wearing a straw hat.

The president’s home office, adjacent to the rear of the kitchen and a rustic den, includes a portrait of President Abraham Lincoln (sans beard) and an impressive black lamp with a subtle U.S. eagle on it. The desk is a replica of one used by President George Washington. “The room’s simplicity reflects the down-to-earth nature that served Eisenhower so well,” a brochure states.

In that office, Eisenhower attended to the country’s business while he recovered from a heart attack. It was there he received the call about the American U-2 spy plane shot down in Soviet airspace, a moment Eisenhower acknowledged fractured his relationship with Khrushchev and exacerbated the Cold War.

A day trip to the farm also allows visitors to tour the cattle farm where Eisenhower commercially bred award-winning Black Angus cows, even during his presidency. And they can tour the grounds where he practiced putting, raised horses and hunted quail. 

Fortunately, the farm sits among other historic attractions that would enhance a day trip to Gettysburg. Other must-see sites include the Gettysburg battlefields, the military museum and the delightful Gettysburg borough.

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