Located in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, Eisenhower National Historic Site preserves the former home of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower and is open to the public as a living history museum, offering guided tours and artifact exhibits. Born October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas, Dwight David Eisenhower was a graduate of West Point Academy who served with the United States military in World War I, earning the rank of brigadier general by 1941.
During World War II, Eisenhower served as a five-star general for the United States Army, overseeing 1942’s Operation Torch invasion in North Africa, as well as invasions of France and Germany in 1944 and 1945. Following the war, Eisenhower served as the president of Columbia University and later as NATO’s first Supreme Commander before entering the 1952 presidential race as the Republican Party candidate. As the first Republican president elected in the United States since 1928, Eisenhower won the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections with landslide victories. As president, Eisenhower was noted for his successful moderate conservative policies, negotiating the end of the Korean War, establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Interstate Highway System, and signing the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which authorized the use of military troops in enforcing integration in schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Today, Eisenhower is widely considered to be one of the greatest United States presidents in the country’s history.
Following Eisenhower’s appointment as president of Columbia University, his wife, Mamie, suggested that the couple purchase a home together, in contrast to the transitory army post lifestyle they had lived since their marriage. Through the recommendations of friends, the Eisenhowers purchased a 189-acre farm near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for a sum of $40,000, chosen for its proximity to the preserved grounds of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Eisenhowers did not begin renovation of the property’s existing buildings and construction of a new estate home until 1953, completing the project in 1955 on their wedding anniversary at a total cost of more than $250,000. During his presidency, the estate served as a weekend home retreat for the Eisenhowers, eventually becoming their permanent residence until 1967, when it was donated to the National Park Service with lifetime living rights for the couple. Throughout Eisenhower’s residence at the estate, a number of notable world leaders visited the estate, including Soviet Union Premiere Nikita Khrushchev and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Following Mamie’s death in 1979, the National Park Service opened the estate as a living history museum.
Today, the Eisenhower National Historic Site preserves the original home, farm, and 690-acre property formerly belonging to Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, located in Cumberland Township just outside of the city of Gettysburg. In addition to the estate’s house and historic farm building, the grounds contain a putting green, skeet range, and grazing pasture for Eisenhower’s Angus cattle farming. 50 Norway spruce trees also line the home’s main driveway, planted in 1955 to represent each of the 50 United States. The site is open seven days a week for public tours, with the exception of major national holidays, and is accessible via a shuttle bus departing periodically from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.
Guided tours begin with a 15-minute orientation lecture within the home’s living room and tour all 24 rooms of the 4,100-square-foot estate, including its presidential office, master bedroom suite, eight bathrooms, and sitting room and den area. Nearly all of the Eisenhowers’ original furnishings are showcased throughout the estate, containing a collection of more than 48,000 original artifacts and highlighting Mamie’s noted extravagant tastes in design and decor. Visitors may also embark on self-guided tours of the property’s historic farm, skeet range, putting green, guest house, and landscaped rose gardens. Exhibits within the estate detail Eisenhower’s life and political and military career, including a 10-minute documentary shown periodically within the farm’s barn building.
Ongoing Programs and Education
A variety of ranger-led programming is offered at the estate throughout the year, including 30-minute walking lectures offered throughout the spring, summer, and fall as part of the Exploring Eisenhower program. A special Ike and the Men of D-Day program is held throughout the summer months, highlighting Eisenhower’s contributions to World War II’s D-Day invasion. Evening Hike With Ike programs also allow visitors to explore downtown Gettysburg and hear anecdotes about the president’s life within the community. Educational programming for young visitors includes a Junior Secret Service Agent program, which allows children ages 7-12 the opportunity to learn about Secret Service duties through a self-guided activity booklet, and a ranger-led field trip program, which offers curriculum-incorporated programming for elementary and secondary student groups. Cell phone audio tours are available for farm and grounds visitors, and video tours of the home’s rooms are offered on the National Park Service’s website.
243 Eisenhower Farm Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325, Phone: 717-334-1124