Excitement! President Obama is coming to town!
The question has arisen several times over the last few weeks…what presidents came to visit Bridgeport over the years? We know that George Washington, our first president came here ins 1789. And Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln came to Bridgeport in 1860 and had his first plate of fried oysters.
Before becoming President, Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the train station where a huge crowd came in attendance and a man brought a black bear, with a sign, “One that you didn’t get, Mr. President,” referring to his love for the sport of hunting.
And in 1962 President Kennedy spoke to 10,000 people at Bridgeport airport, where he was met by then Mayor Sam Tedesco and U.S. Senator Thomas J. Dodd.
Here is the Presidential Visitor List that we have compiled:
18th and 19th Century
George Washington: 1789 (travelling on the Post Road)
Abraham Lincoln: March 10, 1860
Theodore Roosevelt: June 29, 1905; after becoming President, Dec. 14, 1919; July 4, 1921
Mrs. Warren G. Harding A visit by the widow for the dedication of the building of Harding H.S.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Oct. 22, 1936; Nov. 5, 1944; also 1940; Sept. 4, 1932 as candidate. Eleonor Roosevelt came to Bridgeport several times and spoke at Klein Auditorium
Harry S. Truman: 1948; Oct. 19, 1952
Dwight D. Eisenhower: Oct. 21, 1952
John F. Kennedy: 1960 and 1962
Lyndon B. Johnson: Oct. 1963 as V.P., 1 month before assassination
Richard M. Nixon: 1956; 1960; 1970 with wife Patricia
Gerald R. Ford: unknown
James Carter: multiple visits, dates (we are looking for dates)
Ronald Reagan: Oct. 2, 1984, also in 1954 at G.E. plant* (before he was President when he was a spokesperson for GE)
George H.W. Bush: Sacred Heart University, Oct. 20, 1980
William J. Clinton: Oct. 15, 1994; March 10, 1998*
George W. Bush: April 9, 2002; April 5, 2006*
Photograph: Courtesy of Bridgeport History Center, Bridgeport Public Library, Alexander Feldman photographer