MARTIN VAN BUREN

8th U.S. President 1837-1841
LIFETIME: 1758-1831, of Dutch ancestry


Martin Van Buren home

PRIMARY HOME: "Lindenwald" in Kinderhook NY - a three-story Federal style red brick manor (painted yellow). His son later added a Victorian porch and exterior features that reflected Gothic and Romanesque styles.
PHOTO CREDIT: Homes and Libraries of the Presidents by William G. Clotworthy


The first president to be born a citizen of the United States, Martin Van Buren began life in his parents' tavern in Kinderhook, New York. After studying law, Van Buren gravitated toward politics, eventually becoming Vice President to Andrew Jackson.

During Van Buren's campaign for the presidency, a popular saying came into the language. "Okay" was derived from his supporters' rallying cry of "O.K." for "Old Kinderhook." However, his presidential term was clouded by financial panic.

Van Buren retired to 220 acres of prime farm land near Kinderhook, lavishing money on extensive renovations to the brick manor house he called Lindenwald. It was transformed into a Venetian villa of 36 rooms with a library wing, a four story Italianate tower, and 51 French wallpaper panels flanking the downstairs entry. Outside were ornamental gardens and sparkling fish ponds.

 

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