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Harding visits Butte

President Warren Harding addresses the Boy Scouts in Butte in 1923. The East Ridge can be seen in the background.

Since 1900, 13 presidents or former presidents have visited the Mining City.

First was President Theodore Roosevelt, who made his first official stopover in the Mining City in September 1900.

Following is an overview of each president's visit, including the years he served in office.

Theodore Roosevelt

1901-09, Republican

He visited Sept. 1, 1900, when he was a candidate for vice president and May 27, 1903, as U.S. president. President Roosevelt paraded down Granite Street in a horse-driven buggy. Later, the president spoke from the balcony of the Finlen Hotel and addressed a labor meeting at Columbia Gardens. According to The Montana Standard of June 10, 1956, Roosevelt also visited Butte May 28, 1885, when he was "a cowpuncher in Dakota."

William Howard Taft

1909-13, Republican

William Howard Taft was here twice: once in September 1909 for two hours in Butte which included a descent into the Leonard Mine, and again Oct. 19, 1911, that time as a guest of Butte newspapermen. On that visit, he ate breakfast at the Silver Bow Club. Taft was out West to break ground for the Panama-Pacific International exposition.

Warren G. Harding

1921-23, Republican

With his wife Florence, President Warren G. Harding visited Butte June 28, 1923, and was taken underground in the Leonard Mine. Also accompanying him were Henry Cantwell Wallace, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Frederick Gillett of Massachusetts, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. President Harding also visited Clark Park. Harding Way, southeast of Butte, is named in honor of the 29th president.

Herbert Hoover

1929-33, Republican

Former President Herbert Hoover stopped briefly at the Butte airport Aug. 26, 1939, en route to Helena to address a statewide meeting of Republicans.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

1933-45, Democrat

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a candidate for president when he visited Butte for three hours Sept. 19, 1932. He delivered a 10-minute talk on the steps of the Silver Bow County Courthouse. He also visited Butte Aug. 18, 1920, when he was Secretary of the Navy. He is pictured in the Anaconda Standard on the steps of the mansion at 829 W. Park.

Harry Truman

1945-53, Democrat

President Truman came to Butte three times: June 8, 1948; May 12, 1950, en route on a 6,400-mile "report to the people" train tour; and Oct. 26, 1956, as a former president, arriving on Western Airlines and giving an address in the Butte High auditorium seeking support for Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

1953-61, Republican

Dwight D. Eisenhower — "General Ike" — was a GOP presidential candidate when he whistle-stopped in Butte Oct. 5, 1952, at the Northern Pacific depot aboard a special 18-car train.

John F. Kennedy

1961-63, Democrat

Kennedy was a candidate for president when he was honored in the Silver Bow ballroom of the Finlen Hotel March 8, 1959. He spoke before attendants of the Jefferson-Jackson Day banquet. His wife Jacqueline also attended and was given a copper cocktail tray made from copper mined in Butte. Kennedy was given a Charles M. Russell print. He was also presented with a lifetime membership in the South Side Democratic Club. His Butte appearance was the only one in Montana on a trip out West.

Lyndon B. Johnson.

1963-69, Democrat

Air Force One carrying President Lyndon B. Johnson landed at the Butte airport Oct. 12, 1964, and Johnson spoke in the Butte Civic Center.

Gerald Ford

1974-77, Republican

Former President Gerald Ford was guest speaker at a Montana Power Co. annual meeting May 8, 1980, in the Butte Civic Center. Ford was flown to Butte on a Montana Power jet to give the speech, which took 40 minutes.

Richard M. Nixon

1969-74, Republican

As a senator, he gave a speech in the Silver Bow ballroom of the Finlen Hotel Nov. 1, 1951. He was elected vice president in the Eisenhower landslides of 1952 and 1956.

Bill Clinton

1993-2001, Democrat

Former President Bill Clinton wowed a crowd of 1,000 Butte residents on April 1, 2008, at the Butte High School's Richardson gym. The 42nd president was campaigning for presidential candidate and wife Hillary Clinton. Former Montana Rep. Pat Williams greeted President Clinton by saying "Mr. President, welcome to the Democratic party's birthplace in the Rocky Mountains."

Barack Obama

2009-17, Democrat

In 2008, President Barack Obama stopped by twice — the first time was April 4, 2008, as he and another presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, spoke to a raucous crowd at the Butte Civic Center. It was reported that the soon-to-be commander-in-chief received 70 standing ovations.

Apparently Butte appealed to the future president, because he and his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha were back a few months later to spend the 4th of July holiday in Butte and enjoy the patriotic festivities.

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