No one’s ever said it better than Harry Truman: “The only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know.” Americans have long neglected the history of the Gilded Age, that post-Civil War adolescence when a divided land gradually coalesced around railroads and robber barons, exploding industries and wartime promises tragically deferred, massive immigration and festering inequalities. And, oh yes – some of the most colorful, contentious, and occasionally corrupt, politics and politicians in our history. It’s an incredibly rich pageant, one that will serve as the backdrop for our travel back to the origins of today’s America. Situated in the heart of downtown Columbus, the Renaissance Hotel is our historical base camp for the entire tour. More presidents. Less packing.
Beginning the last week of May, we’ll visit sites associated with eight (mostly Gilded Age) presidents in Ohio and Indiana. Not to mention a host of historically significant women, from Lucy Hayes and Lucretia Garfield, to Florence “the Duchess” Harding, Nellie Taft and Ida McKinley. Such an itinerary allows for more in depth – dare I say, leisurely – exploration of the surprising McKinley era, the boyhood homes of Ulysses Grant and William Howard Taft, and the decidedly immodest post presidential estates of Rutherford and Lucy Hayes, and Indiana’s favorite son Benjamin Harrison. In Marion, Ohio we’ll tour the brand new Harding Presidential Library and Museum, as well as the newly restored Harding home as it appeared on Election Night, 1920. In fact, a majority of the 20 attractions we’ll visit are either themselves new to us, or places completely renovated/reimagined since any earlier travels.