Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hillsboro, New Hampshire: Franklin Pierce Homestead

Future President Franklin Pierce was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. The place he was actually born was a little shack that fell apart and is now under water (nicely named Franklin Pierce Lake). Little Franklin moved into the family homestead after a few weeks, which was under construction at the time.

Franklin's dad, Benjamin, was a rich guy who was at one point Governor of New Hampshire, so Franklin followed in those footsteps and surpassed Dad. It's a nice house, right on the turnpike way back when, with plenty of room for guests. The house doesn't get much public support, so it's a battle to keep the place looking good, but the staff is friendly and enthusiastic. Our tour guide was a real character, a woman who doubles as a snowboard instructor.

Franklin Pierce might be our most anonymous President. He was in office from 1853 to 1857. He wasn't even renominated by his own party, and the forgettable James Buchanan took his place. When I mentioned to the guide that no one was going to do a good job of President in 1853-1857 because of the upcoming Civil War, she seemed relieved that someone noticed.

Every little boy can be President. Even in Hillsboro.

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