Warren G. Harding Memorial
The Harding Memorial is the final resting place for the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding and his wife, Florence Harding. The Harding Memorial was built shortly after the death of the president and after the death of Mrs. Harding in 1924 the bodies of the president and his wife was placed in a holding tomb until their final burial in December 1927. The monument is in open landscape surrounded with rows of elm trees that form a Latin cross with the tomb at the intersection of the arms of the cross. The memorial is a Greek Iconic colonnade that stands in front of the circular wall forming the open court. The two black granite tombstones, decorated only by two bronze wreaths at the heads of each stone, indicate the resting places of President Warren G. Harding and his wife, Florence Harding. The President’s wreath is designed with palm leaves, and Mrs. Harding’s wreath is adorned with roses. The entire memorial is built of Georgia white marble consisting of 46 Doric Greek columns.
Backstory and Context
Shortly after President Harding’s death, the Harding Memorial Association was formed and started a nationwide fundraising campaign to construct the memorial. Over a million contributors from across the United States and some select parts of the world contributed a sum of $977,821. Among the donors, there were around 200,000 school children who gathered pennies for the effort. There was a large debate on whether the Harding tomb should be placed in Washington D.C. or Marion, Ohio where he lived. It was decided that the tomb be placed in his hometown. The body of the president was placed in a temporary holding vault in Marion Cemetery until the memorial was completed. When Harding’s wife Florence died in 1924, she was also placed beside him in the holding vault.
The president and his wife was moved to the site of their final resting place in December 1927 where they were laid to rest. Since Harding’s presidency was filled with numerous scandals and controversies, the memorial was not dedicated until June 16, 1931 where President Herbert Hoover presided over the ceremony. The memorial as a whole honors the wishes of the Harding’s. The Harding’s’ wishes were to be buried outside and the open design format grants them their wishes. The Harding Memorial is the last of the more elaborate presidential tombs. Since the passing of Calvin Coolidge, presidential tombs have been designed in a more simple way and often have been combined with presidential libraries.
The Harding Memorial is open to the public year around. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to visit the grave site as often as desired. There are education panels posted about the history of the site and of President Harding. Photos are encouraged to be taken for public use only and when visiting the grave site, silence and respect is expected. The monument grounds are available for public use in small events.
- Harding Memorial, Ohio History Connection Member Site. Accessed April 24th 2020. https://www.hardinghome.org/harding-memorial/.
- Warren G. Harding and Memorial, Ohio History Connection. Accessed April 24th 2020. https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/warren-g-harding-home-memorial.
- American Heritage Publishing Co.. Harding Tomb, American Heritage. Accessed April 25th 2020. https://www.americanheritage.com/content/harding-tomb.
- Herbert Hoover 31st President of the United States: 1929 ‐ 1933 Address at the Dedication of the Harding Memorial at Marion, Ohio., The American Presidency Project. Accessed April 25th 2020. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/address-the-dedication-the-harding-memorial-marion-ohio.
- Allender, Mark. President Warren G. Harding's Tomb, Atlas Obscura . Accessed April 25th 2020. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/warren-g-harding-tomb.
- Warren G. Harding Memorial, Touring Ohio the Heart of America. Accessed April 25th 2020. http://touringohio.com/profiles/harding-memorial.html.