One of the most famous of all Indianapolis residents was Benjamin Harrison, who became America’s 23rd President in 1889. Born in Ohio in 1833, he moved to Indianapolis at the age of 21 and almost immediately became embroiled in local and state politics.
A dynamic man, he achieved a degree of renown before going into politics by the joining in the Civil War effort, where he eventually was named Brigadier General, and his leadership qualities were recognized and cemented in the annals of history.
Upon returning to public life after the war, Benjamin Harrison re-entered the sphere of politics, first as an unsuccessful candidate for governor of his home state, Indiana, and later winning a seat as a senator.
At 55, Harrison ran for the office of U.S. president against democrat Grover Cleveland and emerged the winner. To this day, Indiana has produced no other American president.
During his presidency, federal spending reached an all-time high, and it was primarily this fact that unseated Harrison for a second term, with the public discontent over the “Billion Dollar Congress” high on the list of complaints. It is interesting to note that, during the critical two weeks before the election took place, Harrison‘s wife Caroline died of tuberculosis. He spent the pre-election months at his wife’s side, rather than campaigning actively.
Back home again in Indiana, Benjamin Harrison became a member of the Trustee Board at Purdue University, and settled down to write articles and give law lectures. He died at the age of 67 of pneumonia and his body rests in Crown Hill Cemetery in his beloved home town of Indy. His house, the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Home, is now a public museum and favorite Indianapolis attraction.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Home
230 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
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