Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site


Martin Van Buren
©Library of Congress
The Martin Van Buren National
Historic Site still reflects the
former president's life there
during his retirement years.

After his White House years, Martin Van Buren came back to Kinderhook, New York, home to his family for more than 150 years. He retired to Lindenwald, a large red brick house on land that once belonged to his ancestors. In 1974, the National Park Service acquired the house, along with 22 acres of land, which together make up the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site.

Van Buren was a man accustomed to stylish surroundings, and he bought the Georgian-style mansion in 1839, intending to renovate it. He turned the grounds into a gentleman's farm, complete with 220 acres of cropland, formal flower gardens, and ornamental fishponds.

The former President filled the house with fine furniture, Brussels carpets, and portraits of his friends Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, and Andrew Jackson. The downstairs hall was decorated with elaborate wallpaper panels, imported from France, that formed a mural of a hunt. The house changed hands many times, and most of the Van Buren family's belongings were sold, but the wallpaper mural remains, as does some of the furniture.

Van Buren's son, Smith, helped him turn the house into a replica of a grand Italian villa, adding a four-story brick tower, a Victorian-Gothic central gable, and Renaissance-style bay windows to the otherwise simple, square dwelling.

Van Buren enjoyed the pleasures of rural life at Kinderhook until his death in 1862. In the 1850 census, the eighth President of the United States listed his occupation as "farmer."

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Information
Address: 1013 Old Post Rd., (NY Route 9H), Kinderhook, NY
Telephone: 518/758-9689
Hours of Operation:

  • Daily mid-May - October, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Tours on the hour from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Admission:

  • $5 per adult age 16 and over
  • $12 per family (up to 4 adults and accompanying children ages 15 and under)

Learn ­more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site Clara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Hampton National Historic Site Lincoln Home National Historic Site Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site Edison National Historic Site Fort Scott National Historic Site Harry S. Truman National Historic Site Longfellow National Historic Site Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site Thomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Manzanar National Historic Site

Saint-
Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site Martin Van Buren National Historic Site Salem Maritime National Historic Site Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theatre National Historic Site Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Mary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site Weir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site Fort Bowie National Historic Site Friendship Hill National Historic Site James A. Garfield National Historic Site Mc Loughlin House National Historic Site Sewall -Belmont House National Historic Site Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic Site Gloria Dei Church National Historic Site Jimmy Carter National Historic Site Ninety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic Site William Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christian
-sted National Historic Site
Fort Laramie National Historic Site Golden Spike National Historic Site John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

To learn about national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:

­

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.


More to Explore