National Geographic : 1969 Jul
"Icome from the very heart of America" GUILDHALL ADDRESS, LONDON, 1945 IRST WHISTLE STOP on the road to fame, this modest frame house in Denison, Texas (above), now a memo rial open to the public, saw the birth of Dwight David Eisenhower on Octo ber 14, 1890. Growing up in Abilene, Kansas, he lived the robust life of a prairie youngster-camping (right, forefront) along a wooded creek with friends, roughhousing with five broth ers, helping with family chores while earning money on the side, and learn ing a stern but compassionate rural ethic-all a part of "the great and priceless privilege of being raised in a small town," as Ike wrote. He dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer, "arriving in Abilene, steam engine hissing, bell ringing." Instead, he went to West Point-after narrowly missing an appointment to Annapolis because of the age limit. More athletic than scholarly, the wiry lad was hailed as a potential All-American halfback (left) until a knee injury in his sopho more year ended his football career.