Join me as I visit the sites in the Ohio History Connection network! This month's road trip took me to the Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites in Marion.
I’ve actually been to the Warren G. Harding Presidential Sites several times over the years, but I always learn something new. The Harding Presidential Sites is comprised of three sites: the Harding Home, the Presidential Library & Museum and the Harding Memorial. All three tell the story of Warren and Florence Harding, from their early years as residents of Marion all the way through to the end of their lives.
The Home has been beautifully restored to the way it would have looked during Harding’s 1920 front porch presidential campaign. The Museum is top notch—its exhibits are truly world class and put the Hardings’ lives and presidency in context. The Memorial is the lovely and peaceful final resting spot of the Hardings. Together, they give visitors a glimpse into the life of America’s 29th president and the last of the Ohio presidents.
Address: The Home and Presidential Library & Museum are located at 380 Mt. Vernon Ave. in Marion. The Harding Memorial is located about a mile away at 898 Delaware Ave. in Marion.
How much time: I would plan about two hours to see all three sites. You can peruse the exhibits in the Museum at your leisure, but you must be on one of the guided tours to enter the Home. These occur every hour on the hour. You’ll need to get back in your car and drive just over a mile to see the beautiful and impressive Harding Memorial. For up to date days and hours of operation, please click here.
My favorites: I was fascinated by the tour of the Harding home. Not only did I learn about the Hardings, but I got a feel for what it was like to live in a small Ohio town in the early 1900s. The kitchen was my favorite room. The staff tour guides are excellent and welcome your questions. Please note that photography is NOT allowed in the Home.
I also love the display in the Museum that shows how the Home was restored. The level of detail and care that went into the Home restoration is quite impressive. Be sure to check it out—it will add context to your Home tour.
Truda's Tips: When you arrive at the Mt. Vernon Ave. site, be sure to go into the Presidential Library & Museum first. You’ll get checked in at the front desk and get your wristband for the tour of the Home. The staff will let you know when the next tour starts and where to meet. They’ll also direct you to a short film about the Harding presidency that will help set the stage for your visit. You can hang up your coat in the coatroom, visit the lovely gift shop and use the restrooms (which are the most beautiful restrooms in our entire site system!).
There is typically a staff member or two in the main gallery of the Museum. They are there to answer questions, give background information and generally enhance your visit. Be sure to talk to them. They know their stuff and can really make your visit special. The day we visited, Laurie and Theodore were there. I talked with Laurie for quite some time about Florence Harding and her contribution to the Harding presidency. Theodore walked me through the timeline that runs along the wall in the main gallery, which provided some great context to Harding’s achievements.
Also, don’t skip the Harding Memorial, where both Warren and Florence are buried. It’s incredibly impressive. Even when the gates to the tomb area are closed, the memorial is worth a visit. But please remember to be respectful—this is the actual burial site of the Hardings.
Kid Friendly? Absolutely: You might not think the history of the Harding presidency would be engaging to kids. Well, you would be wrong. The staff at the Harding sites has done an amazing job of making the museum very kid-friendly. When you check into the museum, be sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up a free Laddie Boy Mystery Club packet (Laddie Boy was the Hardings’ beloved dog). Kids can use the materials as they explore the five mystery boxes placed throughout the museum. When they complete the activities, they can take the packet back to the front desk to receive a stamp and a prize. The museum also has a lot of screens, interesting objects (pianos, a giant papier mâché potato, baby shoes, etc.) and a replica of the inside of a train car—most kids will find plenty to interest them.
Lunch: All road trips must include a stop for lunch and coffee! We took the recommendations of the Harding staff and went to Amato’s Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Marion for lunch. It was about a five-minute drive from the Harding Home. Amato’s has a huge menu that includes pizza (of course), salads and sandwiches. We all chose pizza, but the sandwiches we saw at the table next to us looked amazing too. Our pizzas were delicious—thin crust, lots of fresh toppings and sized just right. The restaurant was hopping on a weekday and had seating both inside and outside.
To get caffeinated for the ride back home, we visited The Remnant Tea & Coffee, located a short walk from the restaurant. It’s a darling coffee house with plenty of comfy seating and a friendly vibe. In addition to the excellent coffee (I had my new favorite coffee drink—a lavender latte), the Remnant also serves food and sells locally made jewelry, soaps and other items. My co-workers and I all gave our coffees two thumbs up.
For more information: To learn more about the Harding Presidential Sites, you can visit our website or the Harding website. Want to make a day of your trip? Check out the dining and shopping options that Marion has to offer by visiting the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
Ohio History Connection members receive free general admission to the Harding Presidential Sites, as well as our 50+ other sites around the state. Visit ohiohistory.org/join for more information and to join today!