Bell Anthology - Presidential Visits

The Raymond M. Bell Anthology

Presidential Visits to Washington, Pennsylvania
            There is record of 5 United States presidents visiting 
      Washington: 1817 Monroe, 1869 & 1871 Grant, 1892 Harrison, 
      1922 Harding, 1962 Kennedy.  On May 4-1817 James Monroe spoke 
      at Washington College, the next day at Jefferson College.  
      He was exploring "the west."
            U.S. Grant dedicated the Washington Town Hall on 
      September 18-1869.  On a later visit, September 17-1871, he 
      attended services in the Methodist Church on West Wheeling 
      Street.  This building later belonged to the Saint Paul 
      African Episcopal Church and was torn down recently.  
      Benjamin Harrison made a quick trip, December 2-1892, for 
      the funeral of his father-in-law, Professor John W. Scott.
            In July 1922 (3rd and 7th) Warren Harding a visit in 
      connection with a National Pike celebration.  Earlier he had 
      attended a Vankirk reunion, as a Vankirk descendant.  On 
      October 13-1962 John Kennedy spoke at the courthouse.  His 
      motorcade came in from the east on Beau Street with sirens 
      sounding.  The crowd extended for half a block in all 
            The National Pike in early days was the principal road 
      from the west.  Presidents-elect were in Washington: Andrew 
      Jackson February 1-1829, James Polk February 10-1845, Zachary 
      Taylor February 21-1849.  They were all headed for inauguration 
      day.  Jackson made other visits, e.g. 1825.  There may have 
      been others.
            Former president John Q. Adams was in Washington November 
      25-1843.  Taft spoke at W. and J. College in 1915.  Truman 
      liked to stop at the George Washington Hotel.  Before election 
      to the presidency McKinley spoke at the fair grounds, Nixon 
      visited Jessop Steel Company.  
            Other important visitors have been: Lafayette May 25-1825, 
      James G. Blaine October 26-1886, William J. Bryan 1915.  Henry 
      Clay was in Washington frequently, for his son attended 
      Washington College, class of 1840.
            In recent years vice-presidential candidates have spoken 
      at the courthouse: 1952 Sparkman, 1968 Muskie, 1976 or 80 Mondale.  
      The visit of Muskie made national headlines.  More research 
      may reveal more interesting events in Washington.  
                               Raymond M. Bell

This article was transcribed by Les Peine of Canton, OH in February 1998.

Raymond M. Bell Anthology     Genealogy in Washington Co., PA

Published with permission of Raymond M. Bell.