Just beyond the Gettysburg Battlefield lies a 189-acre cattle farm that may look like many other Adams County farms, but its history is quite different. The man who purchased it in 1955 and restored the property to a better state than he had found it is none other than Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States. Today, you can step out of Gettysburg’s 1863 story and into the 20th century to learn about Ike, Mamie and their lives together in Gettysburg and beyond.
Take a look at our list below of frequently asked questions regarding visiting Eisenhower National Historic Site (ENHS), which will help you make the most of your time there!
What is the Eisenhower National Historic Site?
ENHS is the site of the only home Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower ever owned in their more than 50 years of marriage and it’s located right here in Gettysburg, Pa. Today, the property is owned and operated by the National Park Service and visitors can not only tour the Eisenhower’s home but the adjoining cattle farm owned by President Eisenhower as well.
How do I get there?
To visit ENHS, you must first purchase tickets at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center. Once your tickets are purchased, a shuttle will take you from the Museum & Visitor Center to ENHS. When you arrive, a member of the park staff will meet you and give you an introductory tour, leading you to the main home and giving you background on the property along the way.
What will I see on the tour?
After the park staff brings you to the front door of the Eisenhower home, another staff member will welcome you inside (which might remind you of your grandparent’s house). They will tell you a few stories about some of the unique items on display in the formal living room, such as gifts from foreign dignitaries and some pieces from the White House. After that, you get to explore the rest of the home on your own. This includes the bedrooms, the den, President Eisenhower’s office and Mamie’s famous pink bathroom.
Is the home the only thing I can tour?
Of course not! After you’re done exploring the home, there are a variety of other things to see. You can head outside and explore the rest of the Eisenhower’s main farm, including their barn, back yard with BBQ and tea house, garages with Ike’s golf carts and presidential limousine, the little guest house and the then state-of-the-art Secret Service office. You are also invited to tour Farm 2 – the adjoining farm where Ike’s prized cattle resided, which also has the show barn with his many ribbons and awards. Before leaving, make sure to stop in the reception center to see some of the Eisenhower’s belongings and learn more about their lives outside of their Gettysburg home.
What if I have questions?
There are always Park Rangers, volunteers and interns around the property to help answer your questions and ensure that you leave ENHS liking Ike!
Will my kids like it?
Those who are young and young at heart are encouraged to participate in the ENHS Junior Ranger Program. The program is a fun and educational activity where participants can learn about Ike, his farm, his time as president and more. Those who complete the program earn a certificate and their own Junior Ranger Badge.
Do any special programs or events take place throughout the year?
During the summer months, there are daily 25-minute Exploring Eisenhower programs that dive a little deeper into the lives of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, covering things like Ike’s military career to the presidency and their retirement years. The ENHS also offers events such as Great War Weekend in July and World War II Weekend in September. Both offer a chance to chat with reenactors, historians and even some WWII veterans as well as explore what life was like for soldiers during each conflict. Military camps complete with tents and vehicles can be seen set up across Ike and Mamie’s back yard.
If you’re looking for even more Eisenhower history in Gettysburg, step outside ENHS and explore these 5 Spots where you can walk in Eisenhower’s footsteps in Gettysburg.
Let us know below – what other questions do you have about visiting ENHS?