The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

A few (several?) weeks ago, I went out to Yorba Linda to check out the Nixon Library, seeing as it’s not that far away and I hadn’t ever been to a presidential library before. Ate lunch in Placentia at Carl’s Jr., among whose customers that day I believe I was the only one who hadn’t wrestled a badger for food at some point in the previous 24 hours.

Nixon Library, though. Was mostly about his life and times, with strong focus on his political career. I came away from the career retrospective thinking he was a tragic figure, betrayed by his own ambition that repeatedly overruled principles (I think his downfall came when he defied his mother and joined the Navy). Otherwise, it’s a pretty good humble beginnings-to-ultimate power story up until the whole Watergate thing.

The library doesn’t actually bring up Watergate. And anyway, I’m guessing Lincoln did worse than Watergate to John Breckinridge and we just don’t know about it b/c the MSM was all deferential and stuff back then.

Nixon’s birth house (the library is located on the land that used to be the family farm) was neat, but then I sort of just like old houses. Seems like it used space more efficiently than a modern house would, although I supposed there might be reasons why homes don’t have master bedrooms coming off the entry way any more.

Here’s a photo:

Reflecting Pool at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

Reflecting pool with old farm house in the background!

And the docents were friendly.



  • HC12

    What I’m most interested in is how you made the decision to classify this entry under *fascism, travel*. Was it done with deliberation or by fiat? Did you smile as you decided it?

    Also, I’d love to hear about your adventures at the Reagan Library. And maybe, with time, you can add a category solely for Presidential Libraries and thereby avoid having to classify Yorba Linda as *travel*.

    Did the Nixon library display the magna carta? 😉

    Note to all: When you see the magna carta at the Reagan Library, please appreciate the impact of the document rather than asking how the humidity/temperature control system works.

  • bkdunn

    Didn’t see Frost/Nixon, partly because I’m guessing it has to be a hatchet job on a guy who’s already dead. Well, that and because it focuses on the two professions the world needs the least (reporters and politicians). Uh, IMHO.

    Plus, I’m guessing the reality of Nixon was far more reasonable than the remaining idea of Nixon. I still think the reality means more than the idea.

    So I figure if you take the average of travel and fascism, you end up with the Nixon Library. When/if I write anything about the Reagan Library, I imagine it’ll give a fine opportunity to compare and contrast the two. Based on the scope and scale of their libraries, it’s pretty clear which of the two former presidents is better liked. (Nixon’s special exhibit: Christmas trees from around the world as designed by the library’s docents.)

  • telkontar

    Hydropylae notwithstanding, read a sympathetic biography of RMN and you will respect the man a bit more. As stated, from humble origins he had to fight a few badgers during his career. Power does strange things to a man, but as stated, the reality is far more reasonable than the reputation (IM[not so]HO). It is sad that many figures in history are remembered by a one-sentence description. I think you are in the minority, thought, when you think reality is more important than “the idea.” Spin is everything! [insert winking emoticon here]
    Your analysis of unneeded professions is most likely correct.

  • bkdunn

    I think being stuck in marketing departments has only made me less able to accept spin over reality. Which probably isn’t something I neede3d to become less able to accept. Oh well — maybe next life.

    I’m guessing I’ll become interested in the 60’s (and early 70’s) some day. Just not today, I guess. I’m looking at getting into the revolution-through-1812 period next.