A year later on January 9, 1913 Richard Nixon, named after King Richard the Lion-heart, was born in the house. He lived in the home until he was 9 when the family moved to nearby Whittier where his father opened the first gas station along with a general market. Like the Hoovers, the Nixons were Quakers and Richard's childhood would have been shaped by those same values. "For a child, the setting was idyllic. In the spring the air was heavy with the rich scent of orange blossoms. And there was much to excite a child's imagination: glimpses of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the San Bernardino Mountains to the north, a 'haunted house' in the nearby foothills to be viewed with awe and approached with caution--and a railroad line that ran about a mile from our house." The train must have made an impression, as young Richard wanted to be a train engineer. He was president of his 8th grade class, started and chaired numerous school groups, was a fierce debater from an early age, and eventually hosted Elvis at the White House!
The homesite is indeed idyllic. The home still stands on the spot where his father built it next to a grand California Pepper tree that his father planted that same year. The furnishings are 90% original to the Nixon family. The bed where he was born, the high-chair he used, and the family table where he learned to debate are all in the home--and I was allowed to photograph inside! I was a bit worried when I arrived on site to see a couple of school busses unloading. It was a bit difficult in the morning to make pictures without scores of elementary kids in the way. After spending some time in the excellent museum and speaking with the very informative docents, most of the kids were gone and I had only a few other visitors to contend with. I tried to capture the home and tree together, both having their origins with Nixon's father. Inside the home, I looked for images that would showcase the original furnishings that impacted Richard at an early age--the bed where he was born, and especially the table where he sat with his family and learned to debate with his father.
When visiting all of these sites, there are stories of impacts made on these men early in life that shape and mold who they became. For example, as a young man, Nixon would see his father fail at one business, dust himself off and then succeed at another. One can certainly see this reflected in his great political comeback to become president.
Cell phone photos below. The final edit will be added to the Presidents Project tab.