One of the reasons why I headed to East Aurora, New York the night before my visit to the church in Mt. Morris is because that’s where Millard Fillmore’s house is located – another president’s house on my list.
I knew it wouldn’t be open on the day I was there, but I thought maybe I could walk around the yard, etc., which I did.
But the day did not start out well. I got up, ate breakfast and was getting ready to leave for my day’s journey, when I picked up the curling iron by the wrong end – not smart. Not smart at all. Let’s chalk it up to the fact that I was extremely upsettable because of my mom. Anyhow, my hand rather hurt, so I ran across the street to the CVS pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist on duty. She said she could give me lotion that would make it feel better, but that she thought I needed an antiseptic cream and they were out of it – so she sent me down the street to the Rite Aid. There they gave me the right cream which instantly took away the pain. Though I had three nasty-looking blisters, everything healed well.
Not the point of this blog post – but anyhow, that’s how my day started in the little town of East Aurora, New York.
From there I found the house which was only a few blocks away (not a huge town). The house looked quite charming on this beautiful fall morning – dew still covered the grass.
This wasn’t the grandest president’s house I’ve seen. In fact, it was one of the smallest – but it does have some interesting history.
But first – I really know little about Fillmore except he became president when Zachary Taylor suddenly died of well, no one is sure of exactly what. However, right before he died he ate a lot of raw fruit and drank a lot of milk. Which seems a strange combination to cause someone’s death. But several cabinet members also became ill, so no one is exactly sure what happened.
Unfortunately, Fillmore was caught in the controversy surrounding the 1850 Compromise – a plan to regulate in which states slavery was allowed. Fillmore was against slavery, but signed the Compromise thinking it might solve the slave situation. Obviously, it didn’t. Instead he made lots of enemies and didn’t get re-elected.
So anyhow, didn’t get to do much at the house, but walk around. I did learn that it’s one of the few (if not the only) president’s home that was partly built by the president himself.
But there is another interesting piece of history about the house. The house used to be in another location downtown. Margaret Evans Price (of Fisher-Price toys) bought it and had it moved to its present location. She then used it as her studio to design many of her children’s books and later toys. (She designed push toys to match the characters in her books.) The Aurora Historical Society bought it back in 1975 and turned it into a presidential museum.
And that was that.