Pharos-Tribune

Local News

April 10, 2009

Presidential site

Logan resident heading up historic home’s board of directors

As Hoosiers look for ways to economize, Sue Ridlen is hoping her fellow Logansport residents will take an inexpensive, educational outing just two hours from Logansport.

Ridlen, now chairman of the President Benjamin Harrison Foundation board of directors, hopes families and history buffs will make the trip to Indianapolis for a guided tour of the Harrison home, whose decor matches that of 1888, the year Harrison was elected 23rd president of the United States. The cost of a tour is under $10 a person.

“With the economy the way it is, this is a wonderful opportunity for people to do lots of fun things right in their own backyard,” she said. “They don’t have to go to Disneyland or Washington, D.C. We’ve got lots of things here in Indiana, especially in this case the Harrison home, to do.”

The historic 1875 Italianate Victorian home is 77 miles from Logansport near downtown Indianapolis. The board on which Ridlen has served since 2003 works to preserve and maintain the home as a museum and memorial. It also markets the home as an attraction.

Staff, board members and volunteers organize numerous events, such as the Victorian Vaudeville Variety Show, a croquet tournament and an ice cream social.

Ridlen suggested that a family could stop by the home and then go to the zoo, the Children’s Museum and/or a baseball game featuring the minor league Indianapolis Indians.

“They could have a really nice weekend,” she said.

Many school groups visit the home for its educational programs. The presidential site contains many of Harrison’s paintings, furniture and decorative arts.

“I’m hoping that school groups from Cass County, when funds are available, will come to tour the Harrison home,” Ridlen said.

Harrison was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the territorial governor of Indiana who went on to become the nation’s ninth president. Although the younger Harrison was born in Ohio, Hoosiers lay claim to his political achievements as a U.S. senator and later president. He moved to Indiana as a young man and practiced law here.

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