Presidents Having Visited New Bedford
February is the month Americans celebrate Presidents Day. So, I wanted to give this former Washington’s Birthday holiday a local spin by trying to find out how many presidents either campaigned or visited New Bedford and this area. So before we start, take a guess as to about how many presidents came to New Bedford. To start, we have to go back to September 28, 1843, when President John Quincy Adams was guest at a public reception at City Hall. Honest Abe Lincoln held a packed Liberty Hall audience spellbound during a two-hour address in September 1848. President Grant made a visit to New Bedford on August 31, 1874 and attended a reception at the Free Public Library and dined at the former Parker House. President Grover Cleveland came to New Bedford frequently for brief visits during the time he made his summer home in Marion. Teddy Roosevelt arrived in New Bedford on April 27, 1912 at the Pearl Street Station and then spoke at the Bristol Arena. Then there was William Howard Taft, Silent Cal Coolidge in 1918, FDR in Fairhaven in 1925, President Harry S. Truman in 1945, Dwight D. Eisenhower in ’52, and don’t forget JFK many times, Ronald Reagan at the Olympia Building and Bill Clinton in Nov of 2002. 13 in all. A pretty impressive record! Special thanks to Jay Avilla of Spinner Publications for helping research this.