Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kinderhook, New York: Martin Van Buren National Historic Site


Care to guess who was the first President to be born under the United States flag?

Martin Van Buren, of course. If you knew that, head directly to "Jeopardy."

Van Buren's house, shown above, is in Kinderhook. It became known as Old Kinderhook, and clubs that supported Van Buren became known as O.K. Clubs. Somewhere along the way, O.K. became a way of expressing approval.

That's one of the facts that you'll learn on the tour of the facility. It's a nice old house, complete with indoor plumbing -- rather rare for that point in our history (mid-19th century). Be sure to check out the nicely painted toilet seats -- honest. During our tour, the guide to the building made it sound like Van Buren had just gone out for a minute but was due back so please don't touch anything.

The site is located right off Interstate 90, east of Albany and close to the Massachusetts border. His birthplace and grave site are also nearby, so it's practically one-stop shopping for all things Van Buren.

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