Seth Walsh and Erin Hinson have been asking people, “What’s your favorite thing to do in Cincinnati?” Whatever the answer is, they do. This is one of their adventures.
Quick history test for you: Who was the shortest tenured president of the United States?
Answer: William Henry Harrison at 30 days.
Next question: Which former U.S. president is buried along the shore of the Ohio River just outside of the Cincinnati city limits?
Answer: William Henry Harrison. Are you catching a theme for where we went to #UnlockCincinnati?
Seth: One of my favorite parts of working in Sedamsville is being so close to the Ohio River and being able to see the beautiful bend as it wraps around Kentucky. While talking about this with a store owner in the neighborhood I asked what was his favorite thing to do in Cincinnati. His answer: Visit the tomb of William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States.
Erin: I’ve been coaching a young girls’ soccer team in Cheviot this past year. Along my drive, I constantly saw the signs pointing to Harrison’s tomb. I also knew that Seth is a huge history fanatic and loves to see these sites. So, one day while Seth was coming with me to watch a game, I decided to go off the route a bit and see the tomb.
Thankfully, it’s almost impossible to get lost going to the tomb. You turn left to get off of River Road, and it curls around to take you on a straight shot there. A large stone structure jutting out of the ground shows where the tomb is. In front of the structure is a small parking lot that leads to hiking trails and onto the burial site itself.
Because it’s a state park, everything is free. Just go and enjoy being so close to history.
Seth: At the time of his election in 1840, Harrison was the oldest president ever elected. That record stood for more than 100 years until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Harrison was elected president as a member of the Whig Party, which at the time was one of the two major parties in the nation.
Harrison was born in Virginia as part of a very wealthy family. He would be the last president born under the British rule. In his mid-20s, Harrison was moved to Cincinnati as part of his role in the Army. He was then moved to Indiana, where he became famous as the Territorial governor who fought and won against Tecumseh in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Hence his campaign slogan: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too! (John Tyler was his vice president.)
He first ran unsuccessfully for president in 1836 against then-Vice President Martin van Buren. After being defeated, he ran again in 1840 against the then-sitting President van Buren. This time, he won.
His term was short-lived, though: He delivered the longest inaugural address in the history of the United States in a rainstorm, caught pneumonia and became the first president to die in office. He was buried along the shores of the Ohio River in North Bend.
Erin: The tomb is a really cool and somber place to go. Harrison is buried there with his wife and some of his children. We wandered around the site and enjoyed the well-manicured lawn. If we hadn’t been in a rush to get to the soccer game, we would have enjoyed a picnic there.
It was an incredibly powerful moment, though, standing at the gate, staring at the location of Harrison’s tomb. This man, just another citizen of Cincinnati at one time, was elected to hold the highest office in the land.
Why go: You rarely get an opportunity to see history and those who lived it upclose and personal. We are fortunate that in Cincinnati it is a mere drive along River Road to get to the burial site of the ninth U.S. president and his family. The historical importance of their lives is worth the trip itself.
Tomb of William Henry Harrison
Address: William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial
Parking: Free on-site
Time commitment: 30 minutes
Pair it with: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
We invite you to follow this journey in real time online at www.unlockcincinnati.org, on Twitter (@UnlockThe513, @SethTWalsh and @erinhinson2), Instagram (@sethtwalsh and @erinhinson2) and Facebook, or by following #UnlockCincinnati. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.