There have been a number of Presidential Visits to Oakland over the years.
According to the 1883, “History Of Alameda County”, the first sitting president to visit Oakland was Rutherford B. Hayes on September 6, 1880.
- On September 25, 1879, former president and general Ulysses S. Grant visited Oakland. As part of the visit, General Grant and various dignitaries rode in a parade from the Oakland wharf (where Jack London Square is now) up Broadway to City Hall, where reportedly 5,000 schoolchildren from local cities were arrayed along Fourteenth St. between Washington and Clay Streets, with 8,000 high school singers at the intersection of Washington and Fourteenth Streets (these figures, though provided by the Associated Press and printed in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, seem suspect, as in 1880 Oakland’s entire population was less than 36,000). The party then had a meal (”a collation was spread”) at Tubbs Hotel, and he finally spoke to Civil War veterans at Badger’s Park. He spent the night at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.45
- On September 6, 1880 President Rutherford B. Hayes became the first sitting president to visit Oakland. A reception for First Lady Lucy Hayes was hosted by the David Hewes Family and the Oakland chapter of the Ebell Society, at the home of David Hewes (now known as the Camron-Stanford House). 6 President and Mrs. Hayes left Oakland on the San Francisco ferry on September 9, 1880.
- On April 25, 1891 President Benjamin Harrison arrived at the Southern Pacific Railroad Station, and gave a short address before leaving Oakland on the ferry to San Francisco.
- On May 24, 1901 President William McKinley visited Oakland and addressed an audience from his carriage on Oak Street near Lake Merritt. Seated next to him was Oakland banker Edson Adams, head of the welcoming committee. McKinley had come to the Bay Area for the launching of the battleship, USS OHIO at the Union Iron Works in San Francisco. Four months later, President McKinley was assassinated.
- On May 14, 1903, Theodore Roosevelt came to town. His speech is here. During his visit, Roosevelt asked Governor George Pardee to consider running with him as Vice President; Pardee declined.
- In 1907, US Secretary of War William Howard Taft first visited Oakland, staying at the Key Route Inn. On October 5, 1909, Taft (now president) returned to Oakland to address UC Berkeley’s student body, then 175,000 people at Lake Merritt. This time he stayed in the Key Route Inn’s “Presidential Suite”. President Taft visited Oakland a third time on August 21, 1911, to lay the cornerstone of the new (current) Oakland City Hall. Again, he stayed at the Key Route Inn. On October 14, 1911, President Taft spoke at the groundbreaking of San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Invited to Oakland by Congressman Joseph R. Knowland and Mayor Frank K. Mott, when the sun went down, guess where he headed? Truly, it may be said that this Chief Executive loved him some K.R.I.
- [Ride Note: McKinley, T. Roosevelt and Taft paraded in F.M. Smith’s silver-monogrammed, custom Studebaker horse-drawn carriage (now in the OMCA’s collection, though no longer on display). Wilson, however, rode in a Cadillac. - M.]
- On September 17, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson stopped at Oakland’s Red Cross Canteen. Crowds of Oakland citizens happily greeted President and Mrs. Edith Wilson upon their arrival. President and Mrs. Wilson stayed in the “Presidential Suite” of the new Hotel Oakland. The next day, young women in Oakland greeted President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson with flowers and flags. The speech on the League of Nations [given at the Oakland Auditorium - M.] would be one of President Wilson’s last; the following week he had a stroke in Pueblo, Colorado.
- On August 3, 1923, the body of President Warren G. Harding, (who had died in San Francisco) was taken from the ferry at the Oakland Mole, transferred to the train for the long trip back to Washington, D.C.
- On November 8, 1932, President Herbert Hoover, along with Secretary of the Treasury Ogden L. Mills, and presidential secretary Lawrence Rickey, met with Oakland businessman Marshal Hale, and Oakland Chief of Police Jas Drew, at the Sixteenth Street Southern Pacific Depot.
- On July 9, 1933 Former President Hoover joined Governor James Rolph Jr. San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi and Oakland Mayor Fred Morcom at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the San Francisco Bay Bridge. November 12, 1936 Opening Day of the Bay Bridge, former President Hoover attended with Governor Frank Merriam, San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi and Oakland Mayor William J. McCracken. There is a photo where the two men are surrounded by Miss Alameda County, Miss San Francisco County, Miss San Francisco and Miss Oakland, Miss Prosperity and Miss Bay Bridge. … Is there still a Miss Bay Bridge contest that we’re missing?? More importantly, what about Miss Oakland?
- On January 19, 1935 former President Herbert and Mrs. Lou Hoover joined in greeting Amelia Earhart upon the noted woman flier’s arrival at the Athens Athletic Club to attend the national testimonial banquet.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt came to the Bay Area on July 14, 1939 for a tour of the newly finished bridges and to visit the site of 1939 Golden Gate Exposition. President Roosevelt visited Oakland Tribune publisher and former congressman Joseph R. Knowland. FDR and Knowland were friends when the former was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and the latter a member of the House. Knowland was a member of the Finance Committee for Treasure Island. Whether this trip or another during WWII, FDR stayed at the Kaiser House with Henry J. Kaiser. President Roosevelt's "Floating White House," the USS Potomac, is now fully refurbished and has been permanently homeported in Oakland since 1995.
- First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt visited Oakland on March 10, 1947. Although Mrs. R. was not a President, it’s still awesome that she stopped by!
- President Harry S. Truman visited Berkeley to speak at Memorial Stadium to the graduates the University of California on June 12, 1948. Truman went out Telegraph Avenue to Berkeley, the same route travelled by President John F. Kennedy, fourteen years later.
- On September 22, 1948 President Truman delivered a speech to a crowd of 10,000 from the Lake Merritt Bandstand in Lakeside Park. (transcript)
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mrs. Mamie Eisenhower went to San Francisco for a rally on October 8, 1952, visited the University of California on October 9, 1952, and even went to deliver a speech in Martinez on the same day. President Eisenhower came to Oakland to dine at the Grotto in Jack London Square with former US congressman and Oakland Tribune Publisher, Joseph R. Knowland and his son, United States Senator William F. Knowland, August 19, 1956, on the eve of the Republican National Convention at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. On October 20, 1958 President Eisenhower arrived in Oakland to campaign for California gubernatorial candidate, Senator Bill Knowland.
- Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy greeted supporters at de Fremery Park in West Oakland on November 2, 1960. On March 23, 1962, President Kennedy’s motorcade travelled from Alameda Naval Air Station into Oakland, JFK went out Telegraph Avenue to the University of California, Berkeley to give the “Charter Day” address. Kennedy left Berkeley, not stopping in Oakland on his way to San Francisco.
- On October 21, 1962 Former Vice President of the United States Richard Nixon campaigned for governor of California at the Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church in Oakland.
- President Richard Nixon and Mrs. Patricia Nixon took a ride aboard BART from San Leandro to Oakland on September 27, 1972.
- President Gerald R. Ford visited Walnut Creek and Oakland on May 25, 1976, before going to San Francisco.
- On July 3, 1980 President Jimmy Carter toured the Port of Oakland with Mayor Lionel Wilson, and other city and port officials.
On Oct. 20, 1989, President George H. W. Bush toured the earthquake-damaged Cypress Structure in West Oakland.
- Presidential candidate George Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush visited Oakland, September 14, 1990.
- President Bill Clinton jogged through Lakeside Park in Oakland October 4, 1993.
- On July 23, 2012 President Barack Obama attended a private fundraiser for 25 people before meeting at the Fox Oakland Theatre in Oakland before 2,000 supporters at a fundraising reception.
- [Other dates and reasons for visits to Oakland by President Barack Obama??]
Links and References
- Photos from the Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division
- George Pardee on Wikipedia
- Presidential Visits The Knave, Oakland Tribune, January 20, 1946.
- Gen. Grant in California New York Times, September 26, 1879 94115281.pdf
- Oakland’s Ovation Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1879
- The Hewes Camron-Stanford House website
- Visits from the Chief by Annalee Allen Oakland Tribune July 3, 2000 (p2)