Martin Van Buren NHS

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The Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, New York preserves the home of the 8th president of the United States. Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen and helped found the Democratic Party.

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Van Buren moved here to the home he called Lindenwald in the mid 1800s after serving out his presidential term and losing his bid for re-election. The nation teetered on the brink of civil war. It was a tumultuous time in our history.

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Van Buren had no intention of retiring in Lindenwald. He enlarged the home and ran two more presidential campaigns, using the mansion as his campaign headquarters. Ultimately, he conceded defeat and became a ‘gentleman farmer’ on the 220 acre estate. The home was again expanded to 36 rooms, complete with modern conveniences such as running water.

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My husband and I stopped at the visitors center several years ago on our way up to Lake Placid. The only way to see the inside of the home is on a ranger-guided tour, so we took the tour. We didn’t know much about Martin Van Buren or his presidency and so we enjoyed the ranger’s informative talk as we walked through the mansion.

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The Ogee arch originated in the Arab world and later became popular in medieval England

The home has many interesting architectural details, like the Ogee Arch in the formal parlor and the Palladian window in the second floor bedroom and the stair tower that connects the old and new portions of the home. The home was designed to impress as Van Buren frequently entertained his political guests here.


Location: Kinderhook, NY
Designation: National Historic Site
Date designated/established: October 26, 1974
Date of my visit: July 25, 2011

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In the mid 1800s, having a tub with running water and a flush toilet was an impressive luxury.
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The winding staircase connecting old and new sections of the house
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The guest bedroom on the second floor. Servants quarters were on the 3rd floor.

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