The Info List - Harding Tomb

The Harding Tomb, also known as the Harding Memorial, is the burial location of the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Kling Harding. It is located in Marion, Ohio at the southeast corner of Vernon Heights Boulevard and Delaware Avenue, just south of Marion Cemetery.

Plans for Construction

Shortly after the country’s 29th President died in office, The Harding Memorial Association formed to raise money for a memorial site in honor of the late president. The association ultimately received $978,000 in donations from more than one million people across the country, as well as contributions from several European nations. Among the list of contributors from the United States were an estimated 200,000 school children, who donated pennies towards the memorial.[2]


Construction began in 1926 and finished in the early winter of 1927. It is designed in the style of a circular Greek temple with Doric order marble columns. The columns are built of Georgia white marble and are 28 feet (8.5 m) high and 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter at the base. Designed by Henry Hornbostel, Eric Fisher Wood and Edward Mellon, the winners of a 1925 national design competition, the structure is 103 feet (31 m) in diameter and 53 feet (16 m) in height.

The structure is unroofed (peribolus), in the style of some Greek temples in which the center (Hypaethros) was open to the sky and without a roof (medium autem sub diva est sine tecto).[3] The open design honors the Hardings' wishes that they be buried outside, and is covered in ivy and other plantings.


At their deaths, the bodies of the Hardings were entombed in the Marion Cemetery Receiving Vault. Once the Harding Memorial was completed in 1927, the bodies were reinterred in the Memorial's sarcophagus and it was sealed. Because Harding's reputation was damaged by personal controversies and presidential scandals, the Harding Memorial was not officially dedicated until 1931 when President Herbert Hoover presided.

President Hoover's dedication

On June 16, 1931, President Herbert Hoover gave a speech at the official dedication ceremony of the Warren G. Harding memorial. The following are excerpts from Hoover's eulogy:[4]


The Harding Memorial Association transferred ownership of the Harding Memorial to the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) in the 1980s. OHS undertook a full restoration in the mid-1980s and began to refer to the site as the Harding Tomb, a better description of its function.

Following a reorganization, the Ohio Historical Society transferred day-to-day management of the memorial, and the Harding Home, to Marion Technical College (MTC) in 2011. This arrangement reduced OHS's administrative burden, while allowing MTC to attend to the site. OHS retains ownership, and co-ordinates with MTC on major site issues.

The memorial is also important in American history because it is the last of the elaborate presidential tombs, a trend that began with the burial of President Abraham Lincoln in his tomb in Springfield, Illinois. Since President Calvin Coolidge, Harding's successor, presidents have chosen burial plot designs that are simpler, or combined those with their library sites.

Harding's dog Laddie Boy is not buried in the memorial with him. The dog is actually buried in Boston, Massachusetts and never lived in Marion.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Harding Memorial: The design". Harding Home. Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
  3. ^ McDowell, Peggy and Richard Meyer. The Revival Styles in American Memorial Art. p. 53. Popular Press. 1994.
  4. ^ Hoover, Herbert. "228 - Address at the Dedication of the Harding Memorial at Marion, Ohio". Retrieved 2010-07-16.  – President Woodrow Wilson appointed Hoover to head the Food and Drug Administration in April 1917 during World War I. This is the department to which Hoover refers when he states he first met Harding in his "office".

External links

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