William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial

41 Cliff Rd
North Bend, Ohio 45052

844-288-7709   |  http://hsmfmuseum.org/
The tomb grounds are open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year. However, the tomb itself is only open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the spring, summer and fall months; it is closed during winter.

William Henry Harrison Tomb State Memorial

The ninth president of the United States, William Henry Harrison, died of pneumonia after just thirty-one days in office in 1841. A tomb and memorial on his family estate in North Bend honors the president and his long history of service to the United States.

While he did not serve long as President of the United States, William Henry Harrison had a long history of public service. Harrison was born in Virginia but at the age of 18, he left his home state and went Fort Washington in the Ohio territory. He referred to himself as a “child of the Revolution,” as his father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison resigned from the military after meeting and secretly marrying Anna Symmes, daughter of John Cleves Symmes, in 1797. Harrison settled on some of the Symmes Purchase Lands and took on a variety of government roles such as Secretary of the Northwest Territory. As Governor of the Indiana Territory, Harrison worked to open up American Indian land for white settlement. Just before the War of 1812, he made a name for himself as the commander of the Army of the Northwest after his victory at the Battle of Tippecanoe, a significant defeat for Tecumseh’s American Indian Confederation. His popularity only grew with his success at the Battle of the Thames in which Tecumseh died. In 1814, Harrison turned to politics and served as a Congressman for two terms. Harrison was a strong supporter of the Cincinnati & Whitewater Canal project, investing money in stock and selling a portion of his land for the canal and tunnel. He ran for president under the Whig Party in 1840 and capitalized on his role in opening up the Northwest for settlement during the first modern campaign. Although he lived in a mansion, Harrison’s campaign cast him as an everyday man who lived in a humble, two-room log cabin.

Harrison won the presidency with a solid six-point margin of victory. His victory brought Ohio to the forefront of national politics. However, he fell ill after giving one of the longest inaugural speeches in history; thirty-one days later, he passed away. His body was carried down the Ohio River on black-draped barges and buried in a simple brick, barrel-arched tomb. After his death, his son John sold all but six acres of the family estate. The Congress Green Cemetery and tomb portion of the estate was offered to the state of Ohio under the condition it would be preserved. Anna Symmes Harrison died in 1864, and her remains were added to the vault.

By the early twentieth century, Harrison’s tomb fell into disarray. In 1919, the state of Ohio approved a $10,000 appropriation to refurbish the tomb. The William Henry Harrison Memorial Commission repaired the structure and added two eagle-topped pillars. A 60-foot, brick obelisk covered in Bedford limestone was added in 1924. Today Ohio History Connection and the Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation maintain the site. A small trail between the information kiosk and the tomb preserves some of the remnant forest that Harrison would have encountered in the early nineteenth century.

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Notes for Travelers

There are a few handicap parking spaces available right next to William Henry Harrison’s tomb. The majority of parking is slightly down the road next to the information kiosk. Bus parking is available in a gravel lot at the intersection of Cliff and Brower Roads. The Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation Museum is a short distance from the memorial, but appointments must be made two weeks in advance. For information, visit their website (http://hsmfmuseum.org).


Kristen Fleming

Additional Resources

Skaggs, David Curtis. William Henry Harrison and the Conquest of the Ohio Country: Frontier Fighting in the War of 1812. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2014.