Friday, April 08, 2011

Presidential Travels

I have always loved history, and especially the Presidency. A good Presidential book will give you a snapshot of America 4-8(or in one case 12) years at a time. As a kid I read a lot, I have neve been much of a fiction reader, but would devour biographies. I read lots of juvenile bios in elementary school on JFK, Reagan, and Walt Disney(okay not a President but there is "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", and the "Hall of Presidents", and don't forget Reagan co-hosted the dedication of Disneyland in 1955) they became my childhood heroes and I retain great affection for them to the present day. I still read a lot of Presidential bios , DC has scores of well stocked second hand stores with great politics & history book departments. I have in the last 2 1/2 years read bios of Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, the Revolutionary War, Lincoln & the Civil War, Mc Kinley, FDR, Eisenhower & the Cold War, JFK, Nixon, Ford & Reagan. It has been a wonderful bonus of living and working here to see so many Presidential sites. Each probably deserves it's own post so maybe I'll get around to it.

Visits to Mt. Vernon & Monticello have been the most Architectural, and both were stunning. Mt. Vernon has a rugged formal quality, It very much suits Washington, and I loved the Piazza, probably my favorite thing about the estate- it is such a grand outdoor room. The boxed in columns are almost modern in execution and seen in a certain light have an almost Miesian quality, certainly that colonade has influenced countless buildings, the silouette is neo-classic but with a light weight quality. I must write more about the architectural lessons I pulled from Mount Vernon. Monticello is wildly imaginative, really unlike any other residence in America. Far more literal in its neo-classicism but with the red brick that Americanizes it so much. It has such a horizontal quality- a 3 story house that looks like a 1 story house, no easy design feat. Definitely more on Monticello in a future post.

While in Ohio I saw lots of Mc Kinley sites and the Presidential Airlift(Air Force One)Hangar at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

Occasionaliy I pass by a Presidential gravesite, so I stop and pay my respects, probably enough times for a seperate post. I've been to Washington's, Jefferson's, Buchannan's, Mc Kinley's, Taft's, JFK's, Nixon's, and Reagan's gravesites. I also attended the public gravesite viewing the week of Nixon's funeral in Yorba Linda, CA back in 1994, attended Reagan's casket viewing at his Simi Valley, CA library, and attended Ford's casket viewing at his Palm Desert, CA Church.

Then of course there are the visits to the Monuments & Memorials here in DC, another future post- I really need to get to work!