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Of all the presidents of the United States, the one which Carroll County may have the closest connection, literally, is President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

As many as eight presidents may have visited Carroll County at some point in their lifetime. However, Eisenhower lived on a farm and raised Black Angus cattle about 10 miles north of Carroll County -- in Gettysburg, Pa.

The president's family roots may be traced to Germany. His family settled in Lancaster, Pa., in 1741, before later moving farther west. Eisenhower, our 34th president from 1953-1961, purchased the farm adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield in Adams County in 1950, from Allen Redding. The original purchase encompassed 189 acres. He paid $44,000 which, at that time, was the highest price ever paid for a farm in Adams County. In 1967, the farm was declared by Congress to be a National Historic Site.

Over the years I've endeavored to visit as many "presidential places" as possible. In planning a trip for this summer, I considered traveling to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in his childhood home in Abilene, Kansas. But before I traveled halfway across the country to study more about Eisenhower, wouldn't it be kind of be smart to first visit his home 45 minutes from Westminster?

Several weekends ago I spent the day at Eisenhower's farm and visitor's center at Gettysburg. It was less than 50 miles round trip from Westminster, and the farm was fascinating. After Eisenhower purchased the farm, he purchased the adjacent farm, dubbed, "Farm 2."

Sam Greenholtz of Westminster reports that he used to watch Eisenhower "come in Liberty Street and head to Gettysburg for the weekend. ... It was kind of neat back then that you could actually stand there and watch a couple of cars go by and Ike would wave."

Cathy Baty, at the Historical Society of Carroll County, says Eisenhower visited the Cambridge Rubber Company, in Taneytown, during his term in office and also visited and joined the Union Mills Homestead..

Baty reminds me that the Historical Society has a number of bus trips planned for this fall. If presidential places interest you, consider taking the trip to George Washington's Mount Vernon on Oct. 22. For details call 410-848-6494.

By the way, while I was touring a show barn on the second Eisenhower farm, I noticed a sign that read, "We belong ... Eastern Angus Association. Do you? ... For membership information... write Carol Hackney, Finksburg, MD."

Hackney's family was the longtime owner of Cold Saturday Farm, a beautiful and historic property in Finksburg. In recent years, according to the Finksburg Planning and Citizens' Council newsletter, Carol has shared oral history presentations regarding Finksburg with the Carroll County Genealogical Society and the Carroll County Historical Society.

When he is not roaming around Gettysburg, Kevin Dayhoff may reached at kevindayhoff@gmail.com or visit him at www.westminstermarylandonline.net.


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