Mathews Auto Group has donated $200,000 to help build the Warren G. Harding Presidential Center, providing a significant push forward for the Harding 2020 project.
Mathew Auto Group encompasses 11 dealerships – Mathews Ford, Mathews Honda, Mathews Acura, Mathews Hyundai, Mathews Dodge Jeep Ram, and Mathews Budget Center in Marion; Mathews Ford in Newark; Mathews Ford in Sandusky; Mathews Ford in Oregon; Mathews Dodge Jeep Ram in Mt. Vernon; and Mathews Chevrolet Buick in Bucyrus.
“We understand how the Harding 2020 project is going to help Marion, and we want to be a part of it,” said Tom Mathews, Marion attorney and one of the businesses’ owners. “Marion has been very good to us for many years, and we want to pay back the community. Our involvement also gives us a chance to honor my mother, Rose Mathews, and the memory of my father, Thurman Mathews.” Thurman Mathews, patriarch of the Mathews family, passed away Dec. 26, 2017. Besides Tom, the family-run dealerships include brothers and owners Bob of Sandusky; Tim of Oregon; and Mike of Oak Harbor. Tom Weston of Marion also is an owner.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the Ohio History Connection in this project,” said Tom Weston, general manager and one of the owners of Mathews Dodge Jeep Ram in Marion. “This is a significant step forward for Marion. Telling the story of President Harding to its fullest is a ‘must’ for Marion.”
Harding 2020 is the umbrella name for a two-pronged project initiated by the Ohio History Connection and the Harding Presidential Site. It calls for restoration of the Harding Home, grounds and Press House to their 1920 appearances, the year that Sen. Warren Harding staged American history’s last front porch campaign and subsequent election victory. The restoration portion of Harding 2020 is well under way and fully funded. The other portion of the project is construction of the Warren G. Harding Presidential Center, which will begin in February. The presidential center is 82 percent funded at present. Both the restored Harding Home and the presidential center will open together in spring 2020.
“We are grateful for this significant donation from the Mathews Auto Group,” said Ohio History Connection Executive Director & CEO Burt Logan. “The Warren G. Harding Presidential Center will bring to life the 1920 presidential campaign and open the door for a new generation of visitors to explore Ohio’s place in the national story of the presidency.”
The presidential center will include an exhibits gallery to allow visitors to learn about Warren and Florence Harding’s early lives; Warren’s career as publisher of The Marion Daily Star and his entry into politics; the mechanics of the 1920 presidential campaign; the issues faced by the Harding Administration and how it dealt with them; the Hardings’ lives in the White House; Harding’s premature death while in office; and his legacy. The stories will be told in many different ways, using interactive features, historic newsreel film, historic objects, the Hardings’ personal letters and other evidence from the Harding Presidential Papers.
A versatile event space will provide areas for public programs, children’s programs and school groups, temporary exhibits and the annual Warren G. Harding Symposium. The Harding Presidential Papers also will be moved to Marion from their 60-year-old home at the Ohio History Center in Columbus to allow students, authors and historians access at the presidential site.
The Harding Presidential Sites, which include the Harding Home, Harding Memorial and the new presidential center, are owned by the State of Ohio and under the care of the Ohio History Connection. Marion Technical College is the local management partner.
To donate to Harding 2020, go to ohiohistory.org/harding2020, or call the Harding Home site at 740-387-9630 or 800-600-6894.