Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was born in the bedroom of the two-story house in Denison on Oct. 14, 1890. He was the only one of David and Ida Eisenhower’s seven children born in Texas. David brought his wife and their two young sons Arthur and Edgar from Hope, Kansas in 1889 to pursue a new life in Texas working on the railroad. The Eisenhowers rented a simple frame house near the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad yards where David worked as a wiper, earning less than $40 a month cleaning the steam engines.
When Eisenhower was nearly 18 months old, his family returned to Kansas where his father secured employment with Belle Springs Creamery as a refrigeration engineer. It would be another 23 years before Eisenhower returned to Texas, this time as a second lieutenant in the Army infantry, stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. While in San Antonio, he met Mamie Doud, a young socialite from Denver, Colorado. After a brief courtship, they were married on July 1, 1916.
Eisenhower was always the pride of Denison. The community acquired the Birthplace home in 1946 and he was hailed as a hometown hero when he came back to visit that year. He returned again on a presidential campaign trip in 1952, and Eisenhower Birthplace became a state park while he was president in 1958. He made his final visit in 1965 to dedicate the Eisenhower Auditorium at Denison High School (now Scott Middle School). In 2003, the Birthplace home was refurbished with 1890s-era furnishings.
Did You Know?
- Eisenhower was the first U.S. president born in Texas.
- An enterprising young man, Eisenhower sold sweet corn and cucumbers to neighbors to earn money. He also learned to make tamales from his mother’s recipe, selling three for a nickel.
- In 1948, he became president of Columbia University in New York.
- When Russia launched the space race with the Sputnik satellite in 1957, Eisenhower responded with the creation of the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958.
- As president, Eisenhower ordered total desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces.