— Matt Nelson
Regrettably, when I travel to ballparks not all of my time is spent at ballparks. There are many, many, hours on the road, and in those hours I often try to find some unique (and cheap) places to visit.
I’m a fan of United States history, and I’m a fan of Presidential history. I claim no true expertise.
Presidential gravesites are interesting places to visit. The local communities where the presidents grew up are always very proud of their native sons. The thing is, other than a select few, most people don’t know a whole heck of a lot about many of the 44 presidents in this country’s history. They may have school buildings and street signs that bear their names, but visiting a presidential gravesite always prompts me to learn a bit more about them.
Ohio is a hotbed for presidential history. On a trip out east in 2009 I stopped in Fremont to check out the gravesite of #19, Rutherford B. Hayes. I recently traveled to Ohio to visit the Midwest League ballparks in Dayton and Eastlake (those stories come to KCRG-TV9 and KCRG.com in August).
This time around I saw the gravesites of two presidents who unfortunately, share a common bond. It’s probably safe to say most Americans know that Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were assassinated, but until you read the photo captions on this page, could you name the two other assassinated Presidents? They are #20, James A. Garfield, and #25 William McKinley.
Garfield was shot in a Washington D.C. train station and was President of the United States for just 200 days. He rests in Lakeview Cemetery just east of downtown Cleveland a few miles. His resting place is tough to miss. It’s a large building on top of a hill, providing a view of downtown Cleveland.
McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo, New York. He was in his second term as president. McKinley’s resting place is also in a large building on top of a hill, but in Canton, Ohio, about one mile from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hayes, Garfield and McKinley. Just three of the eight presidents born in Ohio, “The Cradle of Presidents.” The Buckeye State is in a bit of a drought though, #29, Harding (who also died in office, but of natural causes), was the last president produced by Ohio.
“The Other Two.” Abe, JFK, Garfield, and McKinley. Might help with a trivia question some day, you never know!