President Benjamin Harrison's 2017 Wreath-laying Ceremony

Be a part of history! We invite you to join us on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. for a the annual Wreath-laying Ceremony celebrating the 184th birthday of the Hoosier President, Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States of America.

This patriotic event honors the history and legacy of President Harrison with boy scouts, a band concert, speakers, current military personnel and military reenactors, and a beautiful wreath (pictured here) from the President of the United States.

President Harrison was the grandson of the ninth President, William Henry Harrison, and the great-grandson of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had become a prominent local attorney, Presbyterian church leader and politician in Indianapolis, Indiana. During the American Civil War he served the Union for most of the war as a colonel and on February 14, 1865 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a brevet brigadier general. Afterwards, he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana but was later elected to the U.S. Senate by the Indiana legislature. He also served on Crown Hill's Board of Corporators. Below are some of his other accomplishments while in office and other historical facts.

The ceremony will begin with a patriotic band concert from 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. by the Crossroads of America Scout Band. Mr. Christopher Barnthouse, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.), will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution and the19th U.S. Regular Infantry Honor Guard will present the Colors. In addition, the Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter of the NSDAR, Past President of Benjamin Harrison Volunteer Association, and the 88th Regional Support Command will participate. Additional speakers and participants to be announced.

Following the ceremony birthday refreshments will be served and a one-hour historic guided walking tour highlighting President Harrison and other Crown Hill notables will be led by Nikki Schofield, one of Crown Hill's excellent Tour Guides and Civil War expert.

The wreath-laying, refreshments, and walking tour are all FREE. The ceremony will be held in the event of rain but may be moved indoors if it's severe. Please bring an umbrella if rain is in the forecast. The walking tour may be canceled if it rains.

Meet at President Harrison's memorial on Section 13, located at the base of the Crown. His memorial can be located by following the white line painted on the road from either cemetery entrance. You can also find his memorial on this Google Map of Crown Hill. For more information about the President Harrison's Wreath-Laying Ceremony, please contact Marianne at development@crownhill.org.

Pictured is one of many Boy Scouts who participates in the ceremony, including the Crossroads of America Scout Band. Below are members of The Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution and the 19th U.S. Regular Infantry Honor Guard. They all add so much to this important and patriotic event!



FACTS ABOUT BENJAMIN HARRISON (1833-1901):

  • Born on August 20, 1833 on his grandfather's farm in North Bend, Ohio.
  • Grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th U.S. President, elected in 1840 but died of pneumonia after one month in office.
  • Great-grandson of Ben Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1852 and married Caroline Lavinia Scott a year later. (Pictured here with Benjamin.) They had one son and two daughters. Their youngest daughter was stillborn.
  • Caroline also graduated from Miami University in Oxford with a degree in Art & Music and was a talented artist. She was the first President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. She was also very influential as a First Lady.  
  • Served as a Commander in the Civil War and rose to the rank of brigadier general in 1865, participating in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
  • U.S. Senator from Indiana (1881-87).
  • Our nation's 23rd President (1889-93) after defeating President Grover Cleveland who was seeking a second term. When Harrison ran for a second term he was then defeated by Grover Cleveland. He was a Republican. 
  • Expanded the country to include Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and the Dakotas (the most of any President).
  • Signed the bill to create Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant National Parks in 1890.
  • Created National Forest Reserves in 1891.
  • Instituted flying the American flag over public buildings and schools.
  • Expanded the Navy from three ships to twenty-two.
  • Also in 1891, the Edison company installed electricity in the White House for the 1st time. The Harrisons, however, were so fearful of it that they refused to touch the switches. They often slept with all the lights burning.
  • Caroline Scott Harrison died in the White House of tuberculosis 1892. After leaving office he married Mary Lord Dimmick, Caroline's niece and caretaker. 
  • Shortly after leaving office he also joined Crown Hill's Board of Corporators.
  • Stanford Law School in San Francisco was established in 1893 when former President Harrison joined the faculty as their first law professor.
  • Was the third of five presidents who won the Electoral College vote but lost the national popular vote: John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, and Donald J. Trump.
  • Died of pneumonia in 1901 and is the only U.S. president buried in Indiana

President Harrison is included on several "Heritage" Public Tours offered in the summer and fall, which are listed on our online Calendar of Tours and Events.

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Sitea museum home, is located at 1230 N. Delaware in Indianapolis. 


Major landscaping of the Harrison site was funded by the Indianapolis Garden Club in 2013. A new walkway from the street to the President's memorial was installed, as well as pavers leading to the memorial and a walkway around it. Also included are new trees, many bushes and flowers, as well as a supporting wall behind his memorial. The work was done by Crown Hill staff.


President Harrison's memorial on Section 13, photographed between 1900-1910. Harrison died in 1901. It appears that the tree at the top right (behind the flower urn) can also be seen in the contemporary photo, making it over 100 years old. This photo is part of the U.S. Library of Congress' Collection of photos of Crown Hill.