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1912 and 1914

President William Howard Taft visited Mount Vernon on February 22, 1912, in honor of Washington’s birthday. An article in the Washington Herald, describing the festivities to come, reports:

Plans for what is expected to be the largest celebration of the birthday of George Washington ever held in this city are now complete.

Commencing this morning, with meetings of various associations and church services, continuing throughout the afternoon, when President Taft, as the guest of the George Washington Masonic Memorial Association, will journey to Mount Vernon and place a wreath on the tomb of the first President, until the last speech shall have been made and the last diner departed from the many banquets to be held in the evening, the day will be one of celebration in the memory of him who was ‘first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’

President Taft and his wife, Helen Herron Taft, almost came out on another visit to Mount Vernon during the presidency:

After the Roosevelts had left the White House and Taft was President, he and Mrs. Taft were to have been guests of honor at an assembly of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. From the White House was telephoned information that the Presidential couple had driven to the Navy Yard and thence came word that they had embarked on the Mayflower en route for Mount Vernon. The Regent and Vice-regents were grouped on the East Portico and lawn fronting the Potomac, eagerly watching for the approach of the Presidential yacht. It resulted in considerable anti-climax, however, for word was presently received that Mrs. Taft, suddenly taken ill, had been forced to turn about and return at once to the White House.

American Bar Association

In 1914, as a former president, Taft came to Mount Vernon with a group from the American Bar Association and planted a white oak tree. As described in the Evening Star on October 22, 1914:

Former Gov. Montague of Virginia yesterday delivered the address of welcome, on behalf of the Virginia Bar Association, to the delegates to the convention who went to Mount Vernon as the guests of the District of Columbia Bar Association … Mr. Taft, president of the association, responded with an address lauding George Washington. Mr. Taft also plated a young oak tree near Washington’s tomb.

Panoramic view of the south and east lawn of Mount Vernon with members of the American Bar Association visiting the estate during their 37th annual meeting in Washington D.C. taking place October 20-22, 1914. Present among the group is the ABA's president—former U.S. President—William Howard Taft who served in this role from 1913-1914. Taft is seated on a bench in the center of the group and can be located by looking directly above the break between the words "Association" and "Held." (MVLA)
A closer look at this panoramic photograph shows that Taft is seated on a bench in the center of the group and can be located by looking directly above the break between the words "Association" and "Held."

But Taft’s relationship with Mount Vernon didn’t stop there. In 1922, Chief Justice Taft accepted an invitation to become a member of the MVLA’s Advisory Committee in 1922, with the last mention of him participating in this role in 1929.

Presidents at Mount Vernon

Many Presidents of the United States have visited Mount Vernon before, during, and after their time in office. Explore some of the most notable visits from our Commanders in Chief.

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