Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eisenhower's Birthplace

The weather yesterday was very nice, so we took a motorcycle ride to Denison, TX, a little town about 60 miles from Denton. Its primary claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of our 34th president, and the man who led the allied armies in the defeat of Hitler. Knowing that the first Texan elected president was Dwight David Eisenhower may win a trivia game sometime.

The Eisenhower family was from Abilene, KS, and they lived there most of their lives. The family moved to Denison after the failure of the family business and losing everything to bankruptcy. Ike was the only one of the seven children to be born in Texas. The rest were all born in KS. They only lived in Denison for three years and Ike was only a year and a half old when they moved back. He remembered nothing about the time he lived there, but did visit the town and home three times after the end of WW II.

In an interesting parallel to recent questions about the birthplace of a president, Ike had no birth certificate since he was born at home. Worse, the county records were lost in a fire. Interestingly, he had no need for one his entire life, but although it was not required, one was finally issued for him just before he was elected president. As the curator of the Eisenhower Presidential Library explains:

Dwight D. Eisenhower did not have an official birth certificate until Oct. 1, 1952. When Eisenhower supporters in Texas learned he didn’t have a birth certificate on file in Texas, they decided to obtain a delayed birth certificate for him. Mr. Lonnie F. Roberts of Denison, Texas obtained birth information from Mamie Eisenhower and got Ike’s older brother, Arthur, a banker in Kansas City, to sign the necessary documents. We have a copy of this certificate in our files.

The house itself is a typical 1870's house, but it was on the wrong side of the tracks. Rather, it was almost on the tracks as they were only about 100 feet from the front door. Ike's father worked for the railroad as an engine wiper, the lowest paid job in the train yards. Denison was a major railroad center at the time, and jobs in the busy town was the reason the family moved there in the first place.

It was a nice day for a ride, and we learned something too. Below are some photos we took.

The birthplace is now owned and managed by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife

There are four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs.

This is the bedroom, though not the actual bed, that Ike was born in.

This bronze statue stands in the garden. It is the first of five that the sculptor made. Each is different. The other four are located at the Presidential Library in Abilene, West Point, The US Embassy in London, and in Normandy.


  1. Are we sure he wasn't born in Kenya?

    Sounds like a great place for a short visit.

  2. Thanks for the information about a great American, beloved by so many.