Dave's Presidential Graves
Travel Stories Listed by Trip

OCTOBER 1992
Dave's Trip West

There had been some disagreement between Lyn and myself about the enjoyment of my little hobby. For a period, she was uncooperative with me in pursuing it. As such, I acquired no sites for fifteen months. I eventually changed jobs, relocating to a company in Salt Lake City, Utah. I would need to travel from Detroit to Salt Lake twice. Once in "my car" by myself to start my job, then again in the "family car" with the Lyn and Jesse when the Michigan house finally sold. In the process of moving to Utah, my interest was raised in the history of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS or "Mormon" church), my new Utah neighbors. I decided to drive myself reasonably directly from Detroit to Salt Lake, with one slight detour to Springfield, IL (Lincoln) and to pass through West Branch, IA (Herbert Hoover). I would also stop in Nauvoo, IL to see the place where LDS founder Joseph Smith was martyred.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN - Springfield, IL
16th President
21st in my collection (1st of 2 in trip)


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Licolns MASSIVE burial site: Springfield IllinoisLincoln is buried in a very large public cemetery, but finding his tomb is not a difficult task. His resting place, like many others, includes a large land set-aside (maybe like a modern "greenbelt") and the marker is actually a huge obelisk over a small marble building

From a distance it resembles a simple grave marker, until you realize the distance you are from it. As you approach, the structure continues to grow until you realize it is HUGE! The area resembling the base, is actually a circular two-story building. Matching marble staircases grant access to the round plaza area beneath the obelisk structure. The obelisk is itself huge in both height and mass. But surrounding it are huge statues of Lincoln, and of galloping horses, all larger than life size. The statuary point off in the four compass directions, so are strikingly visible from any direction.

Lincoln's cenotaph: Springfield MissouriEntry to the small building includes a room honoring the fallen president, and a small hallway that proceeds in a square pattern. At the far side (after two hallway turns), is a small room, resembling a side alter in a cathedral. It is dark and stately (but for once not dank or creepy) and lit indirectly through stained glass windows. President Lincoln's remains are entombed somehow in a large marble structure (a cenotaph) that, for once, did not resemble a simple "coffin sleeve". It was a reddish brown marble, and while six to eight feet long and two to three feet wide, it tapered upward to a height of five feet. I could not exactly imagine the exact arrangement of his remains, whether they were within a secret compartment or in the ground beneath the entire structure. Engraved on the side was the simple notation "Abraham Lincoln".

HERBERT HOOVER - West Branch, IA
31st President
22nd in my collection (2nd of 2 in trip)


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After visiting Nauvoo, to see the Mormon history sites, I drove up to Ames, Iowa and backtracked one exit east on I-80 to West Branch. Herbert Hoover is buried on his family estate, with the house, once again, converted to a museum with memorabilia and period furnishings. With miles to go before I slept, I skipped the house and tooled right out back to the grave site.

Gravesite of Herbert Hoover: West Branch IowaPresident Hoover is buried above ground in a large white marble vault next to a matching one for his wife. I find that oversized vaults like these do not immediately cause you to visualize a coffin and corpse and other macabre stuff, and are therefore tasteful, touching, and even lead to quiet mediation.

The Hoovers rest in a large green area, with the backing semicircle this time constructed of a high hedgerow. The lush green bushes and the rich green grass (testaments to the rich Iowa soil beneath them) were a thing of natural beauty. The place quickly evoked a feeling of peace, tranquillity, and solitude.

That is until a semi-truck blasted his airhorn on I-80, which unfortunately ran past the site, just twenty or so yards beyond the hedgerow. Oh well, what it lacked in natural quiet, it made up for by being, as the American adage goes, EZ-Off and EZ-On.

From Hoover, I drove myself west to Omaha, Denver, then eventually my new home in Ogden, Utah. It would take six full months for our house in Detroit to sell, and the buyer would materialize during the last week-end in January. Our final trip from Detroit to Salt Lake, using the family vehicle and accompanied by Lyn and Jesse, would depart in mid-west February from a cold and blustery Michigan.

Copyright, 2000, all rights reserved


Previous Trip:
July 1991

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Next Trip:
February 1993




Original Web Upload: February 2000
Last Update on: January 3, 2002