While we were in Gettysburg visiting the Battlefield, we also took the opportunity to visit the Eisenhower National Historic Site next door. This is the home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Maime. The farm served as a weekend retreat and a place for world leaders for the President.
In 1950, the Eisenhower’s bought a “run-down farm” on the outskirts of Gettysburg for $40,000. The farm included 189 acres, 600 chickens, 25 cows and many dilapidated buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1953, they started rebuilding the house. Much of the original building had to be torn down due to its deterioration. The total cost of the renovation was $250,000.
From the completion of the renovation in 1955 to the end of President Eisenhower’s second term on January 20, 1961, Dwight and Maine spent 365 days total on the Gettysburg farm.
The Eisenhowers donated their home and farm (230 acres at the time) to the National Park Service in 1961 with lifetime living rights for the former President. Two years later, President Eisenhower died at the age of 78. Maime rejected the idea of moving to Washington to be closer to family and friends, with Federal permission, lived on the farm until her death in 1979.
The Eisenhower National Historic Site is open daily from 9:00 – 5:00 and is only available via a shuttle bus leaving the Gettysburg National Military Park visitor center. Admission is $9 adults and $5 for children.