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Power House

The summer White House of a really heavy hitter

OriginalSitePresidentTafthome©oganPhoto: Susan Ogan


t 300 pounds, William Howard Taft was by far America’s fattest president, and Washington, D.C. was a sweaty place to spend the summers for a fat guy. So Taft moved his summer White House to the friendly Republican territory of Boston’s Gold Coast. He spent the summers of 1909 and 1910 in a 14-room “cottage” on Woodbury Cove, which he leased from R.D. Evans, a poor immigrant who rose to become the president of U.S. Rubber, later Uniroyal. Taft moved farther inland for the summers of 1911 to 1912 to Parramatta, the hilltop estate of merchant Henry Peabody, at 70 Corning St. Parramatta has been converted into condominiums, while the R.D. Evans cottage was moved on a barge to Peaches Point in Marblehead, and an Italianate garden planted in its place. The 15-acre garden, nestled in the foundations of Taft’s summer White House, is open to the public.



The wife of Taft’s original host in Beverly forced him to move, annoyed that his guards searched her guests and trampled her flowers, while the curious climbed her trees and stole pieces of the house as souvenirs.

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