Kings' Courier

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Hoosier History

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The state requires that every high school senior must take a government class to graduate. The government class pretty much just reviews the two United States history classes that everyone at Lewis Cass has taken. Mr. Barnett took his classes on a field trip last Monday to visit the home and gravesite of Benjamin Harrison, the only President claimed by Indiana, who served as our president from 1889 to 1893.

When we arrived at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential site, we went into the home and learned about presidential campaigning and how modern campaigns contrast the strategies used by Harrison. Drawing images to represent words, we then had to design a campaign poster using the same strategy Harrison used for his poster in the 1880’s and 90’s. He told the group about how crowds stole Harrison’s picket fence that he had in his yard and other things they did when they came to listen to his speeches.

The next part of the day we spend with the tour guide. Guide led us up the the third of the four floors to begin the tour. The third floor had an exhibit set up dedicated to all the pets that have lived in the White House throughout the country’s history. The guide talked about how some Presidents had exotic pets such as badgers, alligators, and goats. He spoke about Harrison’s pet goat that pulled around his children rode in a little wagon that.

The next part of the tour we spent on the second floor looking at the bedrooms and sitting rooms of the house. He led us into the room of his daughter and showed us the bed she slept in and some of the dresses she wore. The sitting room had very special pieces of furniture and gifts including a couch made of horsehair, a fan made of ostrich feathers, and paintings made by Benjamin’s daughter.

The ground floor part of the tour had the most valuable pieces of history including the living room furniture and rug, an antique record player, a room of his collected items such as canes and paintings, and the china used during his presidency and Abraham Lincoln’s china. The tour guide showed us all of the items and explained the history behind each one. He also guided the group through the kitchen and showed us how they would cook and store food before electrical and gas appliances were invented. The kitchen had a wood stove, and icebox, and a pie cupboard. The guide did a great job explaining how the items worked and where they would order their ice and wood.

The trip left everyone with a good educational experience and I would recommend that the trip be continued for future classes.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Hoosier History