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All 44 Presidents under one roof in Gettysburg - abc27 WHTM

All 44 Presidents under one roof in Gettysburg

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

On Presidents Day, you can find all of America's Commanders-in-Chief in one place: Gettysburg.

From George Washington to Barack Obama and every Chief Executive in between are under one roof in the Hall of Presidents on Baltimore Street, directly across the street from the battlefield.

They are life-sized and waxen and dressed in period garb. Their years of service is noted and there are brief vignettes about the highlights of their respective presidencies.

"A lot of people are up to date on our current presidents but they might not know so much about the first 30 or so," said Max Felty, owner of the Hall of Presidents.

Presidential Trivia #1: Four presidents were assassinated in office. Most everybody knows Lincoln and Kennedy, but James Garfield and William McKinley were also cut down by assassins' bullets.

Abraham Lincoln famously gave the Gettysburg Address not far from the museum.

But Dwight Eisenhower was the only president who had a Gettysburg address.

"He and Mamie lived here for many years," Felty said. There's actually a tour of the Eisenhower residence, but that's another story for another day.

The Hall of Presidents opened in 1957, while Eisenhower was president, and has added every chief executive since.

The original wax sculptor lived in Pittsburgh but he passed away, according to Felty. He says a company in Baltimore has taken over the task of creating presidents and it costs between $8,000 and $10,000. 

Presidential Trivia #2: There are 44 presidents but only 43 men have held the office. Huh? Steven Grover Cleveland won, then lost, then won again. He is our 22nd and 24th president and the only man to hold office in nonconsecutive terms.

Pennsylvania's had but one president, and James Buchanan is widely considered one of the worst. He immediately preceded one of the best, Abraham Lincoln, and southern states began seceding on Buchanan's watch.

The hall's history lesson takes about an hour, not counting the First Ladies room that shows what every first lady wore to their inaugurals.

Dawn Heflin of Gettysburg and her school-age kids, Rebekah and Jacob, did it all. On President's Day admission, normally $7.50 for adults, is free for Gettysburg residents.

"I remember it growing up as a child, coming and visiting it, so it was nice to be able to come in and see the presidents since then," Dawn chuckled. "The one or two."

Rebekah and Jacob are home-schooled, and both said it was an educational experience but a fun one.

Who's their favorite president?

"I'd have to say Abraham Lincoln," Rebekah said. Jacob responded, "Ronald Reagan."

They were loved and they were hated, but they all put their stamp on American history, and they can all be found in a little museum on one of America's most historic towns.

The Hall of Presidents is closed until March 15, when it's scheduled to open for the season.

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