Inaugural Walking Tour Celebrates Presidential History

WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 18, 2013)—Ever wonder how many U.S. Presidents have visited the City of Washington? Do you know which American Presidents have spoken, stayed, or visited Washington, Pa.?

The Self-Guided Walking Tour of Presidential Washington has the answers.

Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) invited the campus and local community today to a special Presidents Day event Monday, an unveiling of “A City of Presidents,” a presidential walking tour, the brainchild of professors Jennifer Harding and Thomas Mainwaring, which offers a historical look at the connection between fifteen Presidents and the City of Washington. For instance, did you know Ulysses Grant visited Washington several times in the 1860s and 1870s, and was a familiar guest at the LeMoyne House?

“For many, it was the fact that the National Road, the primary artery from east to west in the 19th century, came through Washington. Others visited because they had family or friends in the county; some were campaigning,” Harding said. “And one president came to Washington because of a woman named Elizabeth Stockdale.”

The tour begins at W&J’s McMillan Hall, built in 1793, the third oldest building in continuous use on a college campus today. It continues by remembering visits by President Barack Obama, William Howard Taft and Franklin Roosevelt on campus, before moving into the city. John Kennedy stopped at Washington County Courthouse in 1962 and Harry Truman visited the George Washington Hotel in 1953. The tour also features the Global Inn Historical Marker on Main Street and the David Bradford House. It concludes at the John A. Swanson Science Center, which sits on the footprint of the former Washington Seminary, where John Quincy Adams visited in 1843.