Eisenhower Library
Abilene, Kansas

J.S. and S.W. Aber
Timothy Rives


In March 2011, we visited the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas at the invitation of Timothy Rives, Deputy Director. The library complex is set on 21 acres and contains five main buildings: Visitors Center, Library, Museum, Family Home, and the Place of Meditation (chapel). The library complex is operated by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Our specific goal was to photograph the area of the former vegetable garden east of the Eisenhower family house, which is part of the library complex.

Archive aerial photo taken in 1954 when the Eisenhower museum was first opened. View toward north at top. Eisenhower family house to left; museum in upper right. The asterisk (*) indicates the location of the former family vegetable garden. Fourth street runs across the bottom of scene; this street was later removed. Notice steam locomotives on the Santa Fe railroad in the background.
Front side of the Eisenhower Home at the center of the library complex. A typical two-story frame house with additions on the back side.

Although the day was warm and mostly sunny, remnants of snow attested to lingering winter conditions. Some ground cover was just beginning to green up, but most of the lawn was still brown and deciduous trees were bare. We started with a south wind, which shifted to the southwest, and gusts swirled around trees near the surface, which made for difficult flying conditions. The kite line dipped into tree branches a couple of times, but did not get caught.

Kite aerial photography

Of the modern buildings, the Museum was the first constructed on the site. The cornerstone was set on June 4, 1952, and the building was dedicated on Veterans Day 1954. The Museum was enlarged and renovated in 1971 (Needham).
The Library contains manuscripts, photographs, and documents. The building is faced with native Kansas limestone, and the interior is finished with French and Italian marbles (Needham).
Overview looking toward the west. The Family Home appears in the lower right corner, the Visitor Center is at scene center, and the Place of Meditation is on the left side.
View north toward downtown Abilene with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad across the bottom of scene.
Overview looking toward the east. The Library building is on the right and a larger-than-life statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower is at the center.
Vertical shot of the Dwight D. Eisenhower statue; compare with title image at top.
Closeup view of the chapel at the Place of Meditation.
The Eisenhower Family Home showing the site of the former vegetable garden on the eastern side of the house in the center of both scenes. In these late winter views of the grassy area, little trace of the former garden is evident.

Vertical shots of the Eisenhower house
seen beneath bare tree branches.

Related sites

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
  • National Archives and Records Administration—see NARA.


Text and images © J.S. and S.W. Aber

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Last update: March 2011.