Eisenhower National Historic Site | GROUNDS TOUR

Farm grounds at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Farm grounds at Eisenhower National Historic Site

In addition to touring Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower’s home, visitors to Eisenhower National Historic Site can walk around the Eisenhower Farm and the farm next door, Farm 2.

EISENHOWER FARM

Barn with attached milk house turned Secret Service Office at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Barn with attached milk house turned Secret Service Office at Eisenhower National Historic Site

The Eisenhower Farm, which is the 189-acre farm the Eisenhowers purchased in 1950, is where Dwight and Mamie’s house is located. There are other buildings on the farm as well, some of which now house exhibits. You can also see Ike’s putting green and the site of a helicopter landing pad he often used when traveling back and forth between the White House and Gettysburg. Eisenhower was the first president to use helicopter transportation.

Ike's putting green on his farm at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Ike’s putting green on his farm at Eisenhower National Historic Site

The largest and most obvious building on the Eisenhower Farm is the barn, which was built in 1887. When it is open, visitors can see some of the antique farm equipment owned by Eisenhower.

Eisenhower's Massey Ferguson 65 tractor on display at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower’s Massey Ferguson 65 tractor on display at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower's Black Hawk 246 Cultivator on display at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower’s Black Hawk 246 Cultivator on display at Eisenhower National Historic Site

On the back side of the barn is a garage where the Eisenhower cars and golf carts are stored. On display today are Ike’s Crosley Runabout that he used to take visitors around the farm (Crosley went out of business in 1952), his 1955 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine, and his 1965 Buick Sport Wagon.

Eisenhower's Crosley Runabout on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower’s Crosley Runabout on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower's 1965 Buick Sport Wagon on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower’s 1965 Buick Sport Wagon on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower's 1955 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower’s 1955 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine on display in the barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site

The Secret Service established an office on the farm in 1955 in the former milk house attached to the front of the barn and remained on the property until the end of Eisenhower’s presidency in January 1961. At that time, ex presidents did not receive lifetime Secret Service protection as they do today. However, President John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 prompted new legislation to be passed that provided lifetime protection, and in 1965, the Secret Service was back at the farm, once again in the old milk house. Visitors can look inside through glass barriers to see how the office was outfitted in the late 1960s.

Interior of the Secret Service Office on Eisenhower's farm, Eisenhower National Historic Site

Interior of the Secret Service Office on Eisenhower’s farm, Eisenhower National Historic Site

1960s equipment inside the Secret Service Office on Eisenhower's farm, Eisenhower National Historic Site

1960s equipment inside the Secret Service Office on Eisenhower’s farm, Eisenhower National Historic Site

The other buildings of interest on the Eisenhower Farm are the guest house and greenhouses. The guest house is not open to the public, plus it is empty inside, but you can look in through the window.

Eisenhower Guest House at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower Guest House at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Greenhouses at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Greenhouses at Eisenhower National Historic Site

FARM 2 and 3

Maternity Barn and self-feeding silo on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Maternity Barn and self-feeding silo on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower was what is called a gentleman farmer. This term applies to wealthy men who love the idea of owning and living on a farm estate in the country but who do not want to do any actual farm labor. Instead, they hire a farm manager, who in turn hires laborers to raise the crops and tend to the animals. Eisenhower did, however, enjoy raising Aberdeen Angus cattle for show, so any of his hands-on work was done with the cattle.

As his herd grew in size, Eisenhower needed more land, but he didn’t have the money to purchase any. A close friend of his, William Alton Jones, thus purchased two adjacent farms—now known as Farm 2 and Farm 3—and let Eisenhower use the land. Jones was the president of the CITGO oil and gas company. He died on March 1, 1962, in an airplane crash while on the way to join Eisenhower for a fishing trip. Farms 2 and 3 are now part of Eisenhower National Historic Site.

The visitor parking lot is actually at Farm 2, so I suggest heading over to the Eisenhower Farm and touring the house first and then catching the Farm 2 buildings on the way back, if you have any interest in seeing them. Only the Show Barn is open to the public, and only on select days of the week (see the National Park Service’s official Ranger Programs web page for the current schedule).

Eisenhower's Aberdeen Angus cattle Show Barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site's Farm 2

Eisenhower’s Aberdeen Angus cattle Show Barn at Eisenhower National Historic Site’s Farm 2

The Herdman’s House, which was occupied by Bob Hartley, Eisenhower’s herdsman, is now the park headquarters. The rest of the buildings are typical barns and sheds that you will find on any cattle farm.

Herdman's Home on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Herdman’s Home on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Loafing Shed on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Loafing Shed on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Garage with CITGO gas pump on the side at Eisenhower National Historic Site's Farm 2

Garage with CITGO gas pump on the side at Eisenhower National Historic Site’s Farm 2

Corn Crib (metal structure) and Breeding and Tool Shed on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Corn Crib (metal structure) and Breeding and Tool Shed on Farm 2 at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Aberdeen Angus cattle are currently being raised on Farm 3 to add some authenticity to the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The National Park Service leases the land to a local farmer on condition that he raise 24 head of Aberdeen Angus cows. The cows are free to move anywhere within the park, so you may see some at Farm 2, but the buildings are no longer used for raising cattle. Farm 3 is not open to the public, nor would visitors have much interest in taking a closer look since it is nothing but land and a few buildings for the cows.

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Last updated on July 4, 2023
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