Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidents in Hudson

On this Presidents' Day, Gossips recounts the Presidents who have paid visits to Hudson over the years.

Martin Van Buren visited Hudson at midterm on July 19, 1839. Van Buren was a Democrat, the city leaders of the time were Whigs, and the President's reception--in the seat of his home county--was anything but enthusiastic. The following excerpts are from the Columbia Republican.

It was supposed that Mr. Van Buren's advent into his native State would be marked by peculiar demonstrations of joy and that as he approached his native county, where he was reared, and where in youth and in manhood, he laid his deep and dark scheme of ambition, that he would be greeted by a pageant, brilliant, glorious and unprecedented in the history of Presidential tours. Such were some of the bright anticipations of our "Democratic fellow citizens"--but alas! how far removed from reality.

After the Common Council had wisely refused to squander the people's money in defraying the expense of Mr. Van Buren's electioneering tour, and had indignantly refused to degrade their official stations, by doing personal homage, the Fire Department, (whose splendid appearance on gala days have won for them an enviable reputation) were requested to turn out--but they too by a vote of 10 to 3, refused to be used. Thus in effect, did the City of Hudson refuse to receive Mr. Van Buren; not because she is inhospitable--but because her people are too patriotic to give countenance to such gross departures from Republican usages as have disgraced every step of the President's progress. . . . 
In February 1861, Abraham Lincoln made his inaugural journey from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington, D.C. Hudson was one of the eighty-three stops on his route. An incident that occurred during Lincoln's brief stop in Hudson is mentioned in the second volume of Carl Sandburg's biography of Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years. Soon after this volume was published, the following item appeared on the front page of the Hudson Daily Register, on February 9, 1940. 
Lincoln "Bussed" Girls Here in '61 and They Liked It
In Carl Sandburg's life of Abraham Lincoln recently published, he referred to the stop of Lincoln's train at Hudson on his way from Springfield, Ill., to Washington, on February 19th, 1861, and goes on to say: "A pleasing incident occurred at Hudson. Several young ladies came into the car and the President folded them rapturously to his throbbing bosom. They said: 'Don't,' which induced the President to believe that they liked it."
Theodore Roosevelt visited Hudson in 1914, five years after he left the White House. He was here to speak at the Hudson Opera House, and this story discovered in the Boston Globe for October 8, 1914, and often retold by HOH executive director Gary Schiro, tells what happened when Roosevelt was here.

Roosevelt Unwilling to Speak in Hudson Opera House Until Friends Get Food for Him
Hudson, N.Y., Oct. 7--Col. Roosevelt likes the soup they make in Hudson. He proved it yesterday when he called for a second bowl of vegetable soup as he stood in the wings of the Opera House. So the crowd waited 10 minutes while his nephew, Theodore Douglas Robinson and two local Progressives chased to a lunchroom across the street and returned with a big bowl of vegetable soup. One was not enough so the colonel had a second bowl. "Now that'll do til dinner time," he said as he climbed into the motor car to resume his tour, "I have to be fed. I want man-sized victuals from this time on or I'll strike."
Recently Lisa Durfee discovered this photograph of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and published it on her blog The Tainted Lady Lounge. A notation on the photograph gives the date 1932, the last year that FDR was governor of New York, and provides this identification: "Gov. Roosevelt at Dedication (Firemen's Home)." As Durfee points out, the Memorial Hospital at the Firemen's Home that was completed in 1932.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget that a deceased President Lincoln passed through as well, who began his political life as a Whig and made his final trip through Hudson a Republican.