Like many travelers, I have a list of places I want to visit. Some places are interesting and compelling on their own, but some sights are part of a larger collection. I regularly write about my quest to visit baseball stadiums, but I want to share another collection. In 2007, I started a quest to visit presidential sights. Specifically, I am aiming to visit all presidential birthplaces, burial places, and libraries.
While searching through the Internet I stumbled upon a great resource, which has been instrumental to my travels. I found Rachel Kochmann‘s book Presidents: Birthplaces, Homes, and Burial Sites. The book includes the typical biographical information, but also has addresses and photographs of all the presidential sights she has visited. Unlike most travelers, she completed her quest in one very long trip. According to the book’s introduction, she took a summer trip with her husband and visited all the locations included in the book. She has updated the book several times, but I have stuck with the original.
My “rules” for counting sights
Unlike Kochmann, I do not try to visit all houses associated with presidents. I do not aspire to visit all presidential homes because some presidents had multiple houses, which are scattered across the country. I have visited some presidential homes, but typically only when it was convenient to visiting one of the three primary presidential sights on my list. Additionally, many presidential homes are still privately owned, which makes the house less interesting to me. I also make a distinction between visiting “unofficial” presidential libraries and those operated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). I only count NARA-operated libraries because they tend to have more complete collections of documents related to a particular president.
My running tally
You can read the full list of presidential sights (click here) I have visited, but here is my tally of presidential sights:
- Birthplaces = 13
- Burial Sites = 20
- Libraries = 8
- Completed Presidents = 9 (Van Buren, W. H. Harrison, Grant, B. Harrison, Taft, Coolidge, F. D. Roosevelt, Truman, and Nixon)