It’s been almost exactly four years since I dropped by Marion, Ohio, to say hello to the original Warren G. President Harding died in 1923 as his administration had become, shall we say, shaky thanks to the Teapot Dome Scandal. Harding remained personally popular despite wrongdoing by members of his team, and he traveled west on a “Voyage of Understanding,” hoping to return to political normalcy. The voyage came to a screeching halt on August 2, when the president’s heart gave out in a California hotel room.
Millions turned out to see the Harding funeral train as it carried the fallen president back east. Plans for an ornate Harding Memorial in the president’s hometown came together quickly, and fundraising for the project started well. But there were fresh revelations to come about Teapot Dome and plenty of stories about Harding’s extramarital activities. Over time, donations slowed and many of those who had backed the Harding Tomb project – including Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover distanced themselves from the place. Only a few years after dedication, Life Magazine noted that “not many people go there now.”
Well, I went there, and I would recommend doing the same if you’re in central Ohio. It may be a “lonely Ohio shrine” but it’s a lovely spot and worth a visit.