William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft was born in 1857, in this house in Mount Auburn, Ohio, near Cincinnati. His father, a prominent lawyer, had bought the house in 1851, installed plumbing, and expanded it to 18 rooms.
Taft lived there until he went away to college. He later returned to Cincinnati, studied law, opened up a practice in town, and got into politics. He was elected president in 1908, and after serving one term in office, he became a law professor at Yale, and a chief justice of the Supreme Court. He died in Washington in 1930, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Taft’s boyhood home was sold in 1899, and it remained in private hands until 1960, when preservationists, led by Taft family members, took it over.
Extensive restoration work began, even though it was still occupied by its last private owner, who as part of the agreement to sell it, was allowed to live there until his death. When he died in 1967, the house became part of the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, managed by the National Park Service, and opened to the public in 1972.
The house was still in need of major renovations, and of the funds to do it. In 1982, the site closed for six years. In 1988, renovations were complete. A new visitor center opened in 2000, featuring displays about President Taft.
Inside is a life-size diorama of the president’s son, Charles Taft, who championed the fundraising for the site, and his father’s legacy.
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