Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States and the first to be born after it became a country in 1776. The “little magician” started as a tavern-keeper’s son in Kinderhook, New York, then worked his way up to state senator, state attorney general, U.S. senator, governor, secretary of state, vice president, and president from 1837 to 1841. During his presidency, he purchased the estate of “Lindenwald” (named for its linden or basswood trees) in his hometown and ran his unsuccessful presidential campaigns of 1844 and 1848 from there.
Lindenwald mansion, film, Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Cemetery
National Park Service (NPS) rangers provide free guided tours inside the 36-room Gothic Revival mansion where Martin Van Buren lived from 1841 until his death in 1862. One highlight is the elaborate French wallpaper in the dining room depicting a hunting scene. We were assured by our tour guide that it is an apocryphal story that the saying “O.K.” came from Van Buren’s nickname “Old Kinderhook.” We are still not convinced.
A 0.75-mile interpretive trail winds through some of the park’s 300 acres. You can also visit Martin Van Buren’s grave by driving to Kinderhook Dutch Reformed Cemetery.
The lighting can be difficult for photography inside the mansion, but be sure to snap a picture of the many levels of stairs inside.
All roads paved
Lake Taghkanic State Park offers a campground 15 miles southeast of Kinderhook, New York.
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site (New York)
Fort Stanwix National Monument (New York)
Saratoga National Historical Park (New York)
Explore More – Martin Van Buren helped establish the Democratic party, but he ran for president in 1848 as the nominee for what other political party?