Gerald R. Ford

Gerald Ford was born in 1913, at 3202 Woolworth Avenue, in Omaha, Nebraska. The house, which is no longer there, belonged to his paternal grandfather, who was a wealthy wool merchant.
When Ford became president in 1974, a local businessman bought the lot in order to make a memorial for the birthplace of the 38th president. He raised money, hired an architect, and even got Ford to visit the site while it was under construction (he was running for office) in 1976.
Ford visited the site again the next year to dedicate it when it opened as the Gerald Ford Birthsite and Gardens.
The memorial site is open and unmanned. It has a kiosk with displays behind glass that show scenes from Ford’s life and presidency, with a push-button activated narration, read by Ford himself.
It is located next to the offices of the state historical society’s Gerald Ford Conservation Center, named in his honor, but otherwise unrelated.
In 1913, Ford’s mother fled with the 16 day-old future president (who was named Leslie King Jr. at the time) to her parent’s house in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where three years later she remarried, happily, to a paint and varnish salesman named Gerald Ford. The couple renamed their son Gerald Ford Jr.
He grew up in Grand Rapids, so when it came time to build his official museum, he chose that city. The museum opened in 1981, and has displays about his life and times and presidency.
Ford was known as the accidental president. He was a Michigan State Representative when Nixon nominated him to be his vice president, to replace Spiro Agnew who had resigned in a bribery scandal. Then when Nixon resigned after Watergate, Ford became president.
His official presidential library is in Ann Arbor, on the campus of the University of Michigan, his alma mater, where he played football before going to law school at Yale.
Ford’s presidential library opened in 1981, like the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. The two sites are operated as a single institution under one director, even though they are separated by 130 miles. Ford wanted to spread his legacy across the state.
Gerald Ford died in 2006, at the desert home he had built in 1977, with his wife. The home was on the 13th hole of the Thunderbird Country Club, in Rancho Mirage, California, near Palm Springs. The couple also owned a large ski chalet on the slopes of Vail, Colorado.
He is buried at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.
Betty Ford died in 2011, and joined him there.
At 93 he lived longer than any other president, so far.
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