In 1817, Rutherford Hayes Jr. and his wife Sophia moved from Dummerston, Vermont, to Delaware, Ohio. On October 4, 1822, Sophia gave birth to the couple’s fifth child, Rutherford Birchard Hayes. The elder Rutherford died about two months before his son’s birth, so Sophia raised her son and his sister Fanny Arabella by herself. The future president later graduated from Kenyon College, earned a law degree from Harvard, and moved to Cincinnati. In 1926, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a marker near the Rutherford B. Hayes birthplace. Unfortunately, the house was torn down the same year. Currently, a gas station stands at the location of the house.
Recently discovered information notes that the Rutherford B. Hayes birthplace could have been preserved. In 1921, Standard Oil Company purchased the dilapidated house and planned to tear it down. However, the company learned of the house’s connection to the president and offered to sell it to the city. Unfortunately, the community was unable to raise the funds to purchase the home, which was demolished to make way for the first gas station built on the site.
Locating the birthplace
Currently, the marker sits in front of a flagpole and behind a lamp post. Bushes on both sides of the marker can make it difficult to locate. Information on the tablet says that it “marks the birthplace of Rutherford B. Hayes, nineteenth president of the United States. Born October 4th, 1822.”
Getting to the birthplace
The house site (currently a BP gas station) is near the intersection of William and Sandusky streets in downtown Delaware. The road is also marked as U.S. Route 36. The gas station does not have public parking, but metered and free parking is available across the street. Additionally, visitors can check out a statue of Hayes that was unveiled on Oct. 4, 2019 (read more here).
Address: 17 East William Street, Delaware, OH 43015
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Accessibility: The tablet sits back a few feet from a brick sidewalk. The obverse side of the marker is accessible from the gas station parking lot.