Unusual Keepsakes of an Ohio President


With the cold days of January looming how about an Ohio Road Trip to see some hidden treasures at the home of a U. S. President?

At the Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont they have searched through their storage rooms and attics and come up with an amazing collection of oddities and artifacts that are usually not on display or missed by visitors to the sprawling estate that was once home to our 19th President.

Executive Director of the Hayes Presidential Center, Thomas Culbertson, took me on a tour of the exhibit pointing out a half-dollar with the initials RBH scratched onto one side and the year 1880 on the other.  In his diary President Hayes explained that in 1880, while he was President,  construction work, which had been stalled for over 20 years was finally restarted to  complete the unfinished iconic Washington Monument.  Hayes placed the half-dollar with his initials beneath a new cornerstone marking the beginning of the completion of the tower and kept a similar one as a souvenir of the day.  That coin is now a part of the  new exhibit called, “Hidden Treasures of the Hayes Museum”.

There are several other things pertaining to the Washington Monument including original drawings that include different plans for the structure that were eventually rejected and perhaps one of the more bizarre artifacts, an owl that was living in the uncompleted monument that startled President Hayes and some visitors to the construction site.  The owl later died under suspicious circumstances and was then stuffed and given as a gift to President Hayes wife, Lucy.  The owl is on permanent display at the museum. 

…..You can read the rest of this article in the Saturday, December 25th edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer or on their website at http://www.cleveland.com

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