When President Taft spoke at Convention Hall on August 23rd, 1911

When President Taft spoke at Convention Hall on August 23rd, 1911

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 24 Aug 1911, Thu, Page 1

In keeping with our Presidential Visits series, 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)


Democrat and Chronicle 01 Nov 1908 Sun Page 19

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.

Thu, Aug 24, 1911

Aug 24, 1911

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 in Rochester, 8/23/11

taft in Rochester

Taft in Rochester, 8/23/11

President Taft 1911 Panorama

Taft in Rochester, 8/23/11

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.

Democrat and Chronicle, 01 Nov 1908, Sun, Page 19

Democrat and Chronicle, 01 Nov 1908, Sun, Page 19

Democrat and Chronicle, 27 Oct 1908, Tue, Page 11

Democrat and Chronicle, 27 Oct 1908, Tue, Page 11


The Presidential Visits Series in its entirety: James Monroe to Donald Trump

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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