Many of America’s presidents have called the heart of America home. Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama all came from or spent formative time in the states along the Mississippi River.
Here’s a look at some of the presidential residences history fans can visit throughout Mississippi River Country.
Ulysses S. Grant Home, Illinois
This handsome home in the charming northwestern Illinois town of Galena was presented to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1865 upon his victorious return home from the Civil War. Grant and his family had moved to Galena in 1860, but he had left a year later to join the fight against the Confederacy. The home was opened to the public in 1904 and contains all of the original furnishings. Tours are offered daily, and visitors can also explore several other historic sites throughout Galena.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Tennessee
Head to Tennessee’s capital city of Nashville to find the mansion and gardens of Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president. Jackson purchased the land that became The Hermitage in 1804, and the mansion that guests can tour today was constructed between 1819 and 1821, with significant expansions during Jackson’s presidency in the late 1820s and 1830s. The Hermitage is considered to be the best-preserved early presidential home and has welcomed guests since opening as a museum in 1889.
The Truman Home, Missouri
The Truman Home—part of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, located in Independence near Kansas City–is the longtime home of Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, and his wife, Bess. The Trumans lived in the home from the time of their marriage in 1919 until Harry Truman’s death in 1972. The home is open for tours and remains much the way the Trumans left it, including a portion of their extensive personal library and a piano the president purchased for his daughter and that he played in the White House.
Other presidential sites to visit:
- Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois: This National Park Service site preserves the Springfield home where Lincoln lived from 1844-61, before becoming president
- Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Visitors Center, Illinois: This cozy home in Dixon—about 100 miles (161km) west of Chicago—was where the Reagan family lived from 1920-23
- Obama Family Home, Illinois: Stroll through Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood to catch a glimpse of the Obamas’ home; it’s a private residence but there are plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding neighborhood
- James K. Polk Home & Museum, Tennessee: Learn about the life of James K. Polk, America’s 11th president, who oversaw the largest territorial expansion in United States history
- Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Tennessee: This National Park Service site in Greeneville, a small mountain town in northeast Tennessee, tells the story of the 17th U.S. president and includes the Andrew Johnson Homestead and the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery