Double Eagle Dave's Great Presidential Gravesite Quest

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I have always been fascinated by history, and US history in particular. I specifically have been enamored by the election of our Presidents. We have only had 44 Presidents in this country's more than 230 year history. Actually 43 if you consider that Grover Cleveland was our 22nd and our 24th President. Forty-three men (no women just yet) who led our nation, shaped our future, led us into war, worked for peace, saw us through depressions and guided us into becoming (in my opinion) the greatest country on earth.

It was while traveling all over our great land in a quest to visit all of the major league ballparks in one season a couple of years ago that I came across the idea of possibly visiting all of the Presidential gravesites. The idea came to me in Quincy, Massachusetts as I waited to attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park while visiting and staying with my good friends Dan and Kathy Cotter. During that trip, I visited the gravesites of John and John Quincy Adams (which incidentally are located side by side in the basement of a church in Quincy, MA)...much more on that later.

Having attended High School in Springfield, I have also visited Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, IL many times. So technically I have already seen three, but being the purist I am, I want to visit them all in one year.

So, I decided to do a little research on the Presidential gravesites. I'm not too interested in the Presidential Libraries or other such sites; primarily just the gravesites. I don't consider it morbid. I view it as paying my respects to these men who led our country through the years. They each have wonderful stories to tell us as to how they ascended to power. Some have awful tales of how they lost their lives while in office. No, Lincoln and Kennedy were not the only Presidents to die in office; just the most notable.

In my research I discovered that of the 43 Presidents, 38 are deceased. Those still living are Carter, Clinton, both Bushes and of course, Obama. But of those 38 deceased Presidents, 32 of them are buried East of the Mississippi. Only Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Nixon and Reagan are buried West of the Mississippi. That means doing a lot of what I enjoy doing...driving.

I started mapping out my route and decided it would be best to divide it into several individual trips. I'd drive to all except the Lyndon Johnson (Texas), and Nixon and Reagan (California) gravesites . Five Presidents are buried in Ohio and five in Virginia. You may know that. But did you know one is buried in Indianapolis, Indiana (Benjamin Harrison) and one is buried in West Branch, Iowa (Herbert Hoover). I have to admit I didn't know that either until I started doing the research.

As I did on my Baseball Park Quest, I intend to integrate some wonderful and maybe out-of-the-way eating establishments along the way as well. And I'll blog them all back to those of you who might like to read them. If not, I'm not hurt...just delete the "Dave says hi from wherever" email.

My plan is to start in April. Another longer trip in May. Another lengthy trip in July. And that will only leave the six Presidential gravesites West of the Mississippi for whenever I can fill them in before the end of the year. As I write this, I'm getting excited already to make these trips; not unlike a little kid the night before Christmas. Guess my wife is right...the difference between men and savings bonds is that sooner or later the savings bonds mature!

  • And the Quest Begins...A Little Early
  • A Post Script to President John Tyler
Trip Start Apr 05, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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