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Overseer of Eisenhower library talks about president's legacy

September 01, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION and JULIE GREENE
  • Karl Weissenbach talks about a photo of President Dwight D. Eisenhower that was taken at Fort Ritchie with cabinet members. Weissenbach, who is the director of the Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library, spoke to a group at Morris Frock American Legion.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

Karl Weissenbach returned to Washington County on Wednesday, but this time he was leading a different charge.

Weissenbach formerly was director of the Cascade Committee, a group that dealt with quality-of-life issues in the community after Fort Ritchie closed in 1998.

Now, he serves as director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kan.

Weissenbach said he has enjoyed overseeing the library and museum, but it felt good to be back in Washington County.

"I'm glad to be back in Hagerstown. I'm looking forward to going to Krumpe's after while for donuts," Weissenbach told about 25 people at a Potomac Highlands WWII Roundtable meeting at Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 on Northern Avenue.

Weissenbach was named director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in April 1998. Before that, he was director of the President Nixon Materials Staff in College Park, Md.

After dealing with complex issues on the Nixon project, like overseeing the release of more than 2,000 hours of White House tape recordings, Weissenbach said he was ready for a change.

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Weissenbach said he was eager to move into the country's heartland and delve into the job of running the Eisenhower library and museum.

Weissenbach talked about the legacy of Eisenhower and how the 34th U.S. president continues to shape the times in which we live.

Weissenbach said Eisenhower built the greatest public works project in history -- the nation's interstate system -- and his other accomplishments included growing the U.S. from 48 to 50 states, building the St. Lawrence Seaway, establishing NASA and expanding educational opportunities through the National Defense Education Act.

Eisenhower also desegregated every federal military base and school he could by executive order, Weissenbach said.

"None of his achievements were accidents. They were all the result of his leadership," Weissenbach said.

Weissenbach also showed photographs of the library and museum, and historical pictures of Eisenhower, including one showing Eisenhower after a cabinet meeting at Fort Ritchie.

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