By Andrea Cordle
The state of Ohio is home to several United States presidents.
And behind each of our nation’s leaders was a good woman. Grove City Town Center Inc. thought it was time to focus on the first ladies from Ohio, with an exhibit at the Welcome Center and Museum.
According to Dennise Hunt, a Town Center Inc. board member, Ohio has been represented by eight presidents through our nation’s history. The exhibit showcases the presidents and their wives. Among the display items are presidential memorabilia and pieces on loan from the Ohio Historical Society and presidential museums.
“The exhibit offers really good educational opportunities,” said Hunt.
Those who attend will learn that William Henry Harrison served as president of the United States in 1841 for just 32 days. He died of influenza. His wife, Anna, never made it to the White House.
Hunt said Lucy Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes, was the first college educated first lady. She was called Lemonade Lucy because she did not allow alcohol in the White House.
President James Garfield met his wife Lucretia in college. According to Hunt, President Garfield was known to “have other women.”
“This almost ruined their marriage,” said Hunt.
James Garfield served as president in 1881 for about 200 days. He was assassinated by disgruntled politician, Charles Guiteau. Hunt said Guiteau had planned an earlier assassination attempt, but held back because Lucretia was close by. Apparently, he was fond of the first lady and did not want her to witness the crime.
Hunt said the presidency of Warren G. Harding was also filled with scandal. He was known to carry on affairs, though his wife, Florence Harding, was the first, first lady to take an active role in the nation’s politics. President Harding was reported to have a 15-year affair.
One will also learn that Caroline Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison, was an artist. She held art classes at the White House and painted china that is still used today. First Lady Helen Taft was responsible for the cherry trees planted in Washington, D.C.
According to Hunt, the exhibit will run through September and October.
The Grove City Welcome Center and Museum, located at 3378 Park St., is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Those interested can stop in or call ahead to arrange a tour.
Tours will also be available two Saturdays – Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For additional information, contact Town Center Inc. at www.grovecitytowncenter.org or 539-8762.