In keeping with our Presidential Visits series (BELOW), on August 23rd, 1911, President William Howard Taft (27), starting what became a two month tour, attended the 45th annual Grand Army of the Republic encampment in Rochester. (Taft’s address at Convention Hall)
Taft would later visit Rochester as an ex-President in 1915. In BIG BILL, BIG BELL AND SCHOOL BELLS: An ex-president, the Liberty Bell, and several thousand school teachers come to town. Michael Nighan provides a lavish and comprehensive look at that memorable day.
Taft also spoke at Convention Hall in his successful 1908 campaign against the Democrat William Jennings Bryan.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle headline, the visit drew Rochester’s biggest crowd. However, crowd estimation can vary widely. Personally, I doubt the event surpassed the 100,000 who watched as General Elwell Otis passed through the Otis Arch in 1900. (see Remembering General Elwell Otis on his Day, June 15th: Rochester’s imperial war hero )
Interesting, according to the headline, Taft mentioned extremism among reformers. During the 1912 election, Theodore Roosevelt felt Taft was weak on reform. Roosevelt split with the Republican party and ran as the Bull Moose candidate, effectively dooming Taft’s chances at re-election. (see 1860/1912 Redux? from Michael Nighan )
Taft also campaigned in Rochester before becoming president. On October 31st, 1908, he spoke at Convention Hall. In the Fall election, Taft handily defeated the Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Taft’s running mate, Roger S. Sherman, also spoke at Convention Hall five days earlier.
In When President John Quincy Adams visited Rochester on July 27th and 28th, 1843 and toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, the grave of Nathaniel Rochester.
In On Abraham Lincoln in Rochester from Michael Nighan, a plaque and a train station.
In Memorial Day, 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison dedicated the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument in Washington Square Park with Frederick Douglass. And Occupy Rochester, Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the same park Occupy would occupy.
In October, 26th, 1898: the Rough Rider on his way to the Governor’s mansion. TR Comes to Town, again…and again…and again… by Michael Nighan., a statue of Teddy in School 29.
In BIG BILL, BIG BELL AND SCHOOL BELLS: An ex-president, the Liberty Bell, and several thousand school teachers come to town. it was William Howard Taft.
In FDR’s first visit to Rochester as a national candidate, September 23rd, 1920. And the League of Nations., Rachel in Washington Square Park.
In October 21st, 1920 in Rochester and Governor Harding’s return to normalcy. And the school named after him., a school in North Gates.
In Governor Roosevelt’s triumphant return to the Convention Hall, October 18th, 1932, a luncheon with Eleanor Roosevelt.
In FDR in Rochester en route to a New Deal landslide, October 17th, 1936, an unfinished portrait.
In October 23rd and 24th, 1952 when Ike and Adlai were in town back to back. And School 29., the Adlai E. Stevenson School.
In LBJ and RFK in Rochester, October 15th,1964, LBJ and RFK at the airport.
In 45 years ago when President Nixon visited Rochester. And 3 days later when East High School erupted in racial violence a media briefing at the Landmark Hotel in Pittsford.
In When Carter stumped Rochester in ’76. And Howard the Duck. it was Howard for Prez.
In 27 years ago today when President George H. W. Bush visited Wilson Magnet High School, a signed chalkboard.
In May 24th, 2005 when President Bush spent political capital in Greece. it is Dr. Bruce Kay
In 5 Meliora Weekends ago when President Clinton spoke., Great Books with President Seligman.
In , A seat at the President’s table four years later soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at Magnolia’s and an eyewitness account.
In Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers, the Trumprenuers at the airport.
In Memories of presidential visits on Election Day in Brighton, a vote for Talker.