Joe Biden joining long list of presidents who've visited Pueblo while in office

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President Joe Biden will become one of many presidents to visit Pueblo when he stops by the wind tower manufactory CS Wind this week.

Utilizing archives from the Pueblo City-County Library District, the Chieftain was able to confirm that at least 11 other U.S. presidents have visited Pueblo during their time in office. Of those presidents, six were Democrats and five were Republicans.

Two more former presidents, both of them Republicans, did not come to Pueblo during their presidency, but are known to have visited prior to taking office. Here is a history of U.S. presidents making stops in Pueblo, including when they came and how Pueblo residents responded.

Who was the first president to visit Pueblo?

Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president, was the first president to visit the then-young and rugged town of Pueblo.

During a tour of Colorado, Grant made a brief visit to Pueblo's Lindell Hotel, near Fifth Street and Santa Fe Avenue. He was treated to the "hearty cheers" of a large crowd and shook hands with several Pueblo residents on Oct. 6, 1875, according to the Colorado Daily Chieftain.

The two-term president and former commanding general of the U.S. Army was described by the Chieftain as being a stout and ruddy "middle-aged gentleman" wearing a plug hat "a size or two too large for him."

Residents were nonetheless eager to meet the president as the Pueblo Cornet Band played music to accompany the occasion. Grant and his accompanying party were reportedly pleased with their visit to southern Colorado, finding the area to be "further advanced than had been represented to them," according to the Chieftain.

Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the U.S. is shown in this undated photo.
Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the U.S. is shown in this undated photo.

Teddy helped open the Pueblo 'Y', Taft came to the fair

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president, made visits to Pueblo before, during and after his presidency. He campaigned in the city in 1900 while hoping to serve as vice president during then-President William McKinley's second term.

Roosevelt visited Pueblo again in May 1903, during his first term as president, with a message about the importance of brotherhood. That speech can be found on the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University's website.

After his presidency, Roosevelt dedicated the newly built Pueblo YMCA Building near Eighth Street and Santa Fe Avenue in 1910, according to a history compiled by Ralph C. Taylor. Video footage from the Library of Congress appears to show Roosevelt speaking in Pueblo again in 1912.

William Howard Taft, the 27th president, made his trip to Pueblo on Sept. 23, 1909. As Taft rode from Colorado Mineral Palace to the Colorado State Fairgrounds, windows of every building along the way were "crowded with joyous humanity" and bursts of applause, according to the Chieftain.

Taft's automobile arrived at the fairgrounds around 5 p.m. that evening. He viewed exhibits with "undoubted interest," had conversations with local farmers, and enjoyed watching horses and bronco riding during his tour of the fair, the Chieftain reported.

This photograph shows President Woodrow Wilson throwing the first pitch at the opening game of the baseball season on April 20, 1916. President Wilson threw out the first ball for the Washington Senators’ opening day games on both April 14, 1915, and April 20, 1916. In each match, the Washington Senators defeated the New York Yankees. The president attended both games with Edith Bolling Galt, who he married in December of 1915.

Wilson's address at Pueblo Memorial Hall was his last

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was 63 years old when he visited Pueblo on Sept. 25, 1919. The Steel City was one of many planned stops for Wilson that fall as he attempted to rally citizen support for his League of Nations — an international organization with a mission of world peace.

Wilson was in poor health the day he delivered a 55-minute speech at the newly built Pueblo Memorial Hall. While the speech was the first public address given at Memorial Hall, it would turn out to be Wilson's last large-scale public address before his 1924 death.

Near the end of his speech, Wilson struggled to speak as tears began falling down his face. His wife Edith had to help him off the stage when he finished. On Oct. 2, Wilson's poor health escalated as he suffered a stroke that would leave him incapacitated for the remainder of his presidency.

On Nov. 3, 1928, presidential candidate Herbert Hoover spoke in Pueblo. He was elected to the presidency three days later and came back to Pueblo to campaign days before the 1932 election. Unfortunately for Hoover, 58.15% of Pueblo County residents cast their vote for his opponent in 1932.

That opponent was none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt. Like his distant cousin Theodore, Franklin came to Pueblo multiple times. While governor of New York in 1930, he made a stop in Pueblo to praise the city for its industrial prowess.

FDR came to Pueblo at least two times while president — once on Oct. 12, 1936, and again on July 12, 1938. He spoke from a railroad car outside Pueblo Union Depot on both occasions. Harry S. Truman, Franklin Roosevelt's presidential successor, delivered a speech at the same place on Oct. 7, 1952.

President John F. Kennedy gives remarks regarding the interdependency of all states in the Union during his 1962 trip to Pueblo.
President John F. Kennedy gives remarks regarding the interdependency of all states in the Union during his 1962 trip to Pueblo.

Ike, Kennedy and Clinton among modern presidents to visit Pueblo

Mamie Doud, the wife of 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower, lived part of her early childhood in Pueblo and received medical care from Pueblo physician Dr. Herbert Black during her adulthood. Eisenhower visited Black in Pueblo as well, according to the history compiled by Taylor.

On Jan. 16, 1957, Eisenhower toured Pueblo County in 20-degree weather to speak with local ranchers about drought in the region.

On Aug. 17, 1962, John F. Kennedy became the fifth consecutive president to visit Pueblo. He came to Pueblo School District 60 Stadium, now Dutch Clark Stadium, to speak about the Arkansas Fryingpan Project designed to bring water from the Western Slope to Pueblo.

In 1986, then-vice president George H.W. Bush visited the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo to release a golden eagle. Bush would later be elected president in November 1988. He served one term as president before being defeated by Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in the 1992 election.

Clinton visited Pueblo twice during his campaign against Bush and twice while president. He addressed large crowds at Pueblo Community College in 1995 and the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center in 1996. Clinton came to the Pueblo again in 2016 to campaign for his wife Hillary.

Like Clinton, 44th President Barack Obama saw Pueblo as an important campaign spot. He made two stops in Pueblo while running for his first term in 2008 and returned in 2012 while campaigning for reelection.

Obama's campaign stops included South Union Avenue and the Colorado State Fairgrounds, but where he stopped to eat is what many Puebloans most remember about his visits. He ate lunch at Jorge's Sombrero during one of his 2008 campaign visits and ate breakfast at Romero's Cafe on Aug. 2, 2012.

Donald Trump hosted a rally at the Pueblo Convention Center on Oct. 3, 2016. Despite being countered by about 150 protestors that evening, Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pueblo County since 1972 on Nov. 8, 2016.

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Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be reached at JBartolo@gannett.com. Support local news, subscribe to The Pueblo Chieftain at subscribe.chieftain.com.

This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: What to know about U.S. presidents who've visited Pueblo in the past