William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Cincinnati

William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Cincinnati

William Howard Taft National Historic Site is a historic house at 2038 Auburn Avenue in the Mount Auburn Historic District of Cincinnati, a mile north of Downtown. It was the birthplace and childhood home of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States.

William Howard Taft's father, Alphonso Taft, came to Cincinnati from Vermont in 1838 to establish a law practice. He moved his family to this house a little over a decade later.

The house is believed to have been built in the early 1840s by a family named Bowen. Mount Auburn was once a popular area to live for upper-class Cincinnatians, as it allowed those of higher incomes to escape the sweltering heat and humidity of downtown Cincinnati summers. The Taft residence, a Greek Revival domicile, was relatively modest compared to other nearby residences, which were a mix of Second Empire, Italianate, and Georgian Revival.

Alphonso's wife Fanny Phelps Taft died a year after the family moved to the Mount Auburn residence, in June 1852. In December 1853 Alphonso remarried, choosing a schoolteacher from Massachusetts named Louise Torrey. Louise Taft would give birth to their second child, William Howard Taft, in the house on September 15, 1857, presumably in the first-floor nursery in the rear ell. Alphonso had six children living in the house, two by Fanny and four by Louise.

The house was used for social events. Visitors included many local and state dignitaries, including future President James A. Garfield. Rugs in the parlor were often rolled up for dancing. Family activities took place in the library; Alphonso was an avid book collector.

William would live in the house until he went to Yale University in 1874. Afterward, the Taft family would spend less time in the house. In 1877 a fire damaged the second floor and roof. Alphonso and Louise leased the house in 1889 and move to California. In May 1891 Alphonso died in San Diego, California, and was buried in Cincinnati; the tenants of the Auburn house allowed the mourners to gather at the house for the funeral.

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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William Howard Taft National Historic Site on Map

Sight Name: William Howard Taft National Historic Site
Sight Location: Cincinnati, USA (See walking tours in Cincinnati)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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