Monday, April 16, 2012

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding during his Presidential Campaign, 1920
Last year while on a bicycle ride here in North Central Ohio I passed the birthplace of Warren G. Harding.  For some time I have wanted to add to my blog some more details of  the famous Ohioan and the 29th President of the United States.

Yesterday was a sunny and warm spring day so I decided to use the Triumph to ride 40 minutes to the city of Marion, Ohio to visit the Harding home.  Harding settled in Marion after he graduated from college and began his career as a newspaper man.  

The home and small museum located at the rear of the property were closed during my visit but I still had fun poking around the grounds on my own.  Even though I've lived in the area all my life I've never seen the historic home he built in 1890.

Here is a link to a web page with some pictures of the interior of the house and a brief synopsis of Harding's life and times:

The Harding home is not an extravagant mansion but a handsome Victorian style wood frame reflective of Harding's middle class status at the time.

Warren G. Harding Timeline

1865    Born on November 2 near Blooming Grove, Ohio
1882    Graduated from Ohio Central College, Iberia, Ohio
1884    Purchased the Marion Daily Star
1891    Married Florence Kling De Wolfe, born in 1860 in Marion, Ohio
1899    Elected to Ohio State Senate
1903    Elected Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
1914    Elected United States Senator
1920    Nominated for U.S. President Republican Party
1921    Inaugurated President of the United States
1923    Died at San Francisco, California
1924    Florence Kling Harding died at Marion, Ohio.

I love the huge front porch and the view looking out towards Mt Vernon Avenue.  Harding began his bid for the presidency by giving speeches from the top of these steps which became known as the "Front Porch Campaign"

Pretty cool to stand right there where it all went down!


In 1978 the Harding house was donated to the State of Ohio and has remained in it's care ever since.  In an interesting side note my wife LeeAnn has an aunt who lived in the house and LeeAnn remembers as a child spending the night on a few occasions there.  The only place she was forbidden to go was the Harding bedroom which was used at the time to store many of the Harding's personal belongings.

Next I hopped back on my motorbike and rode a short mile and a half distance to the President and First Lady's final resting place the Harding Memorial.  It's an awesome place.


From a series of informational plaques I gleaned this interesting knowledge:

Prior to state ownership, the properties were owned by a private organization, the Harding Memorial Association.  The HMA was organized soon after President Harding's death in 1923 to raise funds to build a proper gravesite for President Harding. The HMA was comprised of President Calvin Coolidge, members of the Harding cabinet, Marion businessmen, and prominent members of Washington D.C. society.


A Sum of $977,821.76 in private money was raised for construction of the tomb.  More than a million people contributed to the project, with funds coming from across the United States, The Philippines and Europe.  More than 200,000 school children also collected pennies for the fund.


President Harding had requested a simple burial under a tree and the open sky, and the Harding Memorial Association was determined to incorporate that request in the tomb design.

While I was researching for this post I came across a few quotes from speeches Harding delivered throughout his political career.  This stuff is great and rings as true today as it did 90 years ago.

"In the great fulfillment, we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation."
-US Senator Harding, Republican National Convention, 1916 

"It is fine to idealize, but it is very practical to make sure our own house is in perfect order, before we attempt the miracle of old-world stabilization.  To safegard America first, to stabilize America first, to prosper America first, to think of America first, to exalt America first, to live for and revere America first."
-US Sen. Harding's view of regaining world balance after World War I, 1920

"America's greatness, her liberty, and her happiness are founded upon intelligence.  They are founded upon that wide dissemination of knowledge which comes only to the many through our educational system."
-US Sen. Harding, 1920

"We need a rigid and yet sane economy, combined with fiscal justice, and it must be attended by individual prudence and thrift, which are so essential to this trying hour and reassuring for the future."
-President Harding, Inaugural Speech, March 4, 1921


  1. I've seen pictures of the memorial, but did not know about the tree/sky thing. That makes it that much more appropriate.

    And it looks like from the first quote that JFK was just repackaging Harding. I would have never known.

  2. What Nate said! I was thinking the same thing. That tomb looks really fascinating. I'm a big fan of Abe Lincoln, myself. In February of 2009, I attended a wreath laying ceremony at his tomb and it was both humbling and amazing. It's worth the drive, just to see the tomb. We were allowed to go inside but I don't know if it's always open to the public, I tend to think not. (photos of the tomb and Springfield during the bicentennial:

    Great post!

  3. great stuff,guy! I am fascinated with everything "harding",especially his secret geneology, and especially his love affairs with nan britton and carrie Phillips.Also, author gaston means seems to conclude that warren harding was terminated by his enraged wife ,Florence,when she learned of his!!!!!!

    1. Thanks for the comments. Yes I bet Harding was an interesting guy. I read today that Al Jolson was a big fan of his. One of the few Republican leaning entertainers of the time.

    2. It is interesting that the author of this article claims that his wife's aunt lived in the Harding Home and that his wife visited there at some time. This is a highly suspect claim unless the wife's aunt was either a member of the Dombaugh or Augenstein families, who were the two families who were the caretakers of the Harding Home from 1927 until it became a full-house museum. Those 2 families lived upstairs in the home while the downstairs was used as a small museum. Records dispute the claim that the Hardings' bedroom were used as a storage area for the Hardings' belongings, as it was in fact in use as a part of the living quarters of the Dombaugh and Augenstein families.
      Also, the Gaston Means book which is mentioned above in the comments has been for decades proven to be fraudulent in its many claims of Florence Harding having poisoned her husband (he did, in fact, die from a massive heart attack).
      As for the mention of the president's secret lineage, that is also false! DNA tests conducted in 2015 prove that Mr. Harding's family had no trace of African American blood.
      It would be nice if both the author and any subsequent posters had first verified the truth of such claims before posting them herein.