Cincinnati man has collected political artifacts for nearly 40 years

CINCINNATI - In this age of constant congressional bickering, there's one place where all the political parties come together. That place is Mark Gelke's house in Cincinnati.

PHOTOS: Some of Mark Gelke's political artifacts

It's one place you'll find Democrats, Republicans, and even a few Whigs. You could almost call it the Smithsonian of Cincinnati.
"I'm non-partisan when it comes to collecting. I have things from the liberty party, which was an anti-slavery party in the 19th century. I have things from the American party in more recent times back in the 1980's," said Mark Gelke.
Gelke is known for keeping his promises and everyone else's.
There is one poster where President William McKinley promised friends prosperity with full protection for American businesses. Another document shows where President Ulysses S. Grant promised to help the working man.
"That's been a part of campaigning since the beginning. Making promises. Telling the people what they would do to make the country better and that is reflected in many of the campaign items," Gelke said.
Just about every inch of Gelke's 1,700 square foot home is covered with political artifacts.
"We have things hanging in every room, including our downstairs bathroom," Gelke said.
Gelke has been collecting presidential campaign memorabilia like banners, newspaper articles, and lanterns for nearly 40 years.
"Candles would be inserted in the inside and they would be carried on poles and parades and hung at various campaign events," Gelke explained as he pointed at several paper lanterns hanging from his ceiling.
Gelke says he's considering running his own campaign for more space for his own collection.
You can become a collector too by holding onto items from President Obama's inauguration 
"Any of the memorabilia that the vendors are selling at the inauguration would be very collectable," Gelke said.
Print this article Back to Top