Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site

We headed out this morning to visit another historical site in the area - the Martin Van Buren National Historical Site

Walkway to the Visitor Center

Martin Van Buren's Home - This is a side view.

Our Guide for the house tour is giving us some information about the home.  He was very knowledgeable.

The front of the home.  

After the Van Burens moved out the porch was replaced.  However, the Park Service has rebuilt the porch so that it looks like it did when President Van Buren lived here.

The back of the house - an addition that included the tower

The Tower on the back of the house

Van Buren put an addition on the back of the house and for some reason he liked the idea of a tower that could be seen from the road.  It looks really out of place on this house!  Some of the servants lived in this tower during the summer.  I can't even imagine trying to sleep in there.  It had to be a hot box!

The Dining Room Wall Paper 

The wall paper in the Dining Room is original to the time that President Van Buren was living in the house.  It was never painted over so they were able to clean it.  There was one spot where they had to have some made to match.

Dining Room


An example of the woodwork in the home

Guest Bedroom

Our Guide told us that Henry Clay used to stay with President Van Buren quite often in this room.  The table in the corner is set up for Henry Clay.  The pillow under the window is where Mr. Clay's slave slept.  He went with Henry Clay everywhere.  Actually, the slave probably had better sleeping conditions than some of President Van Buren's servants.  At least the slave slept next to a fire place.  The rooms for the servants were really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer.  Some of them slept in the tower in the summer and that had to be extremely hot!

This green glassware was used by President Van Buren and the family that had it donated it back to the National Park Service.

The only door in the place with this type of arch

The Breakfast Room

Most of the meals were served in the Breakfast Room.  The Dining Room was used when they had company.

Stairway to the Dining Room

The Servants Gathering Room/Dining Area

The bells to call the servants

The Kitchen

The kitchen was in an addition to the house that President Van Buren added later.  It was pretty modern for the time.  There was plumbing.

The stove was really low to the ground because all the cast iron pots and pans were so heavy.

The Servant's Bedroom

This dog was present to one of the servants at Christmas time.  The grandchildren of the servant donated it back to the home before it opened to the public.

Van Buren's Study

Martin Van Buren's Oldest Daughter acted as First Lady for him.  The original of this picture of her is in the Red Room at the White House.

Andrew Jackson gave this cane to President 
Van Buren.  It has miniatures "Old Hickory's" face on it!

President Van Buren's Bedroom

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