Steve Vassallo: Plan a Holiday Visit to a Presidential Library

Nixon's Sea King helicopter
President Nixon’s “Sea King” helicopter is on permanent display at his presidential library in Yorba Linda, Calif.

 

I can only speak from the experience of having visited two presidential libraries—Richard Nixon’s in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Bill Clinton’s in Little Rock, Ark.—but both trips were well worth the time and effort.

Since I appreciate history and enjoy trivia, I wanted to share the following information to reload your personal knowledge storehouse for the holiday season.

To begin with, there are 14 presidential libraries in 11 states, with Texas hosting three of them (Lyndon Johnson’s in Austin; George H.W. Bush’s in College Station; and George W. Bush’s in Dallas), while California has two (Ronald Reagan’s in Simi Valley and Nixon’s). Oddly enough, California, which is presently one of the bluest states, hosts two Republican presidential libraries.

The Presidential Libraries are overseen by the Office of Presidential Libraries in the National Archives and Records Administration. These facilities are archives and museums bringing together the documents and artifacts of a President and his administration.

According to the National Archives, many presidential papers and records have been lost, destroyed, sold for profit, or ruined by improper storage. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought a better alternative, and Congress eventually passed the Presidential Libraries Act in 1955.

Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai
President Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai make a toast during Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972.

I actually returned a second time to Yorba Linda, as I was so impressed with the Nixon Library. The most surprising revelation was that nothing was swept under the rug, including Watergate. It was refreshing to see how transparently the entire administration was presented. I was equally impressed with how well these facilities are maintained, along with the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff.

The remaining presidential libraries are located in West Branch, Iowa (Herbert Hoover who was that state’s only president); Atlanta, Ga. (Jimmy Carter); Chicago, Ill. (Barack Obama); Independence, Mo. (Harry Truman); Grand Rapids, Mich. (Gerald Ford); Abilene, Kans. (Dwight D. Eisenhower); Hyde Park, New York (Franklin D. Roosevelt); and Columbia Point, Boston, Mass. (John F. Kennedy).

And one final tidbit of trivia: Seven of the libraries represent Republicans, and seven
reflect Democrats—definitely a bipartisan historical perspective!

President Clinton’s limousine is one of the featured attractions at his presidential library in Little Rock.

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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