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Discover the fascinating history of American first ladies at the First Ladies National Historic Site in downtown Canton.
The site is home to the National First Ladies’ Library and grew out of growing recognition that the nation did not have a repository for information about the wives of American presidents. Visits here start at the museum, which is in a restored 1895 bank building. Take a tour of the Saxton McKinley House, a two and three-story home constructed beginning in 1841 – it is the only remaining residence with direct ties to President William McKinley left in his hometown.
The public rooms of the house have been restored to their original splendor. Make sure to see the renovated ballroom and President McKinley’s study, where the wallpapers were custom made during the renovation. The formal parlor is opulent and has nearly two dozen wallpaper patterns. Ida McKinley’s sitting room and bedroom are on the second floor and are notable for their beauty and serenity.
The National First Ladies’ Library is, naturally, a major research center for those studying presidential wives. The library has notable research complied about women like Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Martha Jefferson, Elizabeth Monroe, and Louisa Adams.