Ike’s Office Statue

Dwight D. Eisenhower Statue
Gettysburg College Admissions Building
300 Carlisle Street
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

 

What used to be somewhat of a hidden gem is now a little more prominent due to recent renovations.

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s long association with Gettysburg began in 1918 during World War I when (then Army Captain) Eisenhower was assigned as commanding officer of the Tank Corps Training Center at Camp Colt. The story of the Army using the fields made infamous by Pickett’s Charge during the Civil War as a tank school is fascinating in itself. This is a great link to learn more and see what Camp Colt looked like.

Eisenhower and his wife Mamie grew fond of Adams County and when they began to plan their retirement in 1950 they bought a large farm adjacent to the battlefield.  His assignment to lead NATO in Europe postponed their planned retirement. When they returned to the United States, he began his presidential campaign and retirement would have to wait once more.

During his first term presidential term, President and Mrs. Eisenhower rebuilt and remodeled the house and outbuildings. They reportedly spent many weekends at the farm and often invited foreign and domestic dignitaries to spend the weekend. I highly recommend taking a tour of the Eisenhower Farm if you visit Gettysburg.

When his second term ended, they moved to Gettysburg permanently. Former President Eisenhower used a house in town, now the Admissions Office on the campus of Gettysburg College, as his weekday office until 1967. The following two photos are courtesy of  Gettysburg Daily and show the statue as it was originally situated. It was easily missed from the street then; but I actually preferred it. It felt a little more as if you were coming across President Eisenhower as he was when he worked there.

 

 

The Admissions Office recently underwent building and landscaping renovations and below are photos that I took a few months ago. Again, I preferred its original location but this orientation does make it more noticeable to passing traffic.

The statue was originally unveiled in 1970. Mamie Eisenhower continued to live in Gettysburg and Washington DC until her death in 1979. I read the quote below in a book from my father’s collection and I came across it several times when doing some research. How strange it must have been for her.

In later years she was asked of her favorite monument in Gettysburg she said that it, “was the statue of Ike outside his old office on the Gettysburg College campus, ‘I always speak to him when I pass it during the winter. I don’t like to see the snow covering his head.” –  From The Eisenhowers by Steve Neal