Much like its namesake, the Richard Nixon Library has traveled a long, tumultuous road in its development, which finally gets under way Friday with ground-breaking ceremonies by Nixon's two daughters.

In a ceremony complete with celebrities and a brass band, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox were to signal a bulldozer to begin churning up the land adjacent to the tiny white wood-frame house where their father was born 75 years ago.But Nixon, the nation's only chief executive to resign his office and the only modern-era president since Herbert Hoover without a research institution in his name, did not plan to attend the ceremony.

"He wants his daughters to do it," said Kevin Cartwright, a spokesman for the ground-breaking festivities.