11 - James Polk

James Polk was born November 2, 1795, on his family's farm in Pineville, North Carolina.  The home is no longer standing, but several farm buildings have been reconstructed on what North Carolina has dedicated as the James K Polk State Historic Site.  I visited in 1977:

Polk enrolled at the University of North Carolina in 1816.  He lived in a room on the southwest corner of the third floor of the South Building until he graduated in 1818.  This building is now used as the main administration building; I have not visited this site.

In 1819, Polk moved to Tennessee to begin his legal career and lived in the family home in Columbia.  While he spent time away over the years in the militia and in elected office, this remained his home until he entered the presidency.  I have not visited the James K Polk Home & Museum.

Polk served as U.S. president from 1845 to 1849, and thus, lived in the White House.

When Polk retired from the presidency after only one term, he toured the eastern seaboard, down to New Orleans, and then up the Mississippi to his new home in Nashville, which he named Polk Place.  However, Polk returned from his trip ill, and died shortly thereafter, marking the shortest retirement of any U.S. president (only three months).  Polk Place was later demolished and a Best Western currently occupies the space.  There is a marker across the street; I have not yet visited the site.

Polk died on June 15, 1849, and was buried at home.  His remains were later moved and his tomb is now on the grounds of the Tennessee capitol building in Nashville.  I visited this site in 1975:

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