Presidents that have Visited Newark

by Nat Bodian


Whatever the reason, Newarkers have always honored and cherished visits from future presidents, presidents, and former presidents, and have been the most gracious of hosts.

The names of the presidents and former presidents that follow reflect the best efforts of my research. If you know of any other presidents who also visited Newark, email them to me and I will add their names to this list by date of visit.

A sad addition to the following list is a stop in Newark of the remains of an assassinated President on a funeral train, enroute to his final resting place.

The list of Newark visitors, with dates of visit, follows:

#43. (2001 - 2008) George Walker Bush

June 16, 2003. The President, after spending Fathers Day with his father at Kennebunkport, Maine, flew into Newark Airport and made brief morning stops in Orange and at the Wyndham Newark Airport Hotel before returning to Washington.

June 24, 2000. Campaigning for the presidency, George W. Bush flew into Newark Airport and attended a Republican fundraiser at the Newark Airport Sheraton Hotel. During his visit, he also toured Port Newark.

#42. (1993-2001) William Jefferson Clinton

Five Newark visits during Presidency.

October 4, 1995. Visited Newark Airport to greet Pope John Paul II on his arrival in America to participate in the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations organization.

March 3, 1997
October 8, 1997
October 18, 1999
November 4, 1999. President' s Newark visit was the first stop of a two-day four-state swing to encourage economic growth in poor urban and rural neighborhoods. Also in-the-classroom money for job training, and grants for educational programs and equipment.
One of his Newark stops was at Malcolm X. Shabazz High School (formerly South Side) on Johnson Avenue.

#41. (1989-1993) George Herbert Walker Bush

September 22, 1989. Visited Newark for New Jersey State Republican Party fundraiser.

November 3, 1989. Flew into Newark Airport, enroute to Republican rally in Bloomfield.

September 24, 1991. Arrived at Newark Airport, enroute from Republican dinner in East Brunswick to Washington DC.

August 24, 1992. In Newark to address students and faculty at Lincoln Technical Institute.

September 30, 1992. Law Enforcement endorsement at Newark Airport. Then address at Construction Laborer Local 472 at union headquarters.

The George Herbert Walker Bush Presidential Library also shows Newark visits during his years as Vice President and just prior to the 1980 primary elections on these dates: October 21, 1980; October 19, 1982; July 22, 1986; May 25, 1988; May 26, 1988; and November 5, 1988.

#40. (1981-1989) Ronald Reagan

The Reagan Presidential Library reported that President Reagan visited Newark many times during his two terms as President, but no visits specifically to the City of Newark.

The Presidents Newark trips were brief trips through Newark Airport with occasional meetings at hotels around the Airport.

#39. (1977-1981) James Earl Carter

October 29, 1980. President Carter paid a visit to Newark during the 1980 presidential campaign. Earlier, President Carter had flown from Washington to Newark Airport on Wednesday, August 13, enroute to the Democratic National Convention in New York City.

#38. (1974-1977) Gerald Ford

October 4, 1975. On this date, President Ford attended several political events in Newark. He motored from the Airport to the Robert Treat Hotel where he attended a reception with New Jersey Republican leaders. He then posed for a photo opportunity with candidates for State Assembly. He then spoke at a fundraising dinner before returning to the Airport.

June 6, 1976. President Ford landed at Newark Airport, attended events at Paterson and West Orange, and then returned to Newark Airport for departure.

#37. (1969-1974) Richard Nixon

October 4 and October 31, 1960. Campaign appearances in race against John F. Kennedy.

November 19, 1963. Address before Newark Chamber of Commerce.

November 11, 1964. Address at Republican fund-raising event.

October 17, 1970. Campaign appearance as President.

#36. (1963-1969) Lyndon B. Johnson

October 7, 1966. President Lyndon Johnson visited Newark to speak at a Democratic rally in Military Park.

#35. (1961-1963) John F. Kennedy

September 15, 1960. Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy visited Newark and made a speech at Newark City Hall.

November 6, 1960. Two days before the Presidential election, Kennedy again came to Newark and gave a speech at the Mosque Theatre at 1020 Broad Street, attended by a capacity crowd of nearly 3,000 persons. He defeated Richard Nixon to win the presidency two days later.

October 12, 1962. President Kennedy made his only presidential visit to Newark with a Columbus Day speech at Newark City Hall.

#34. (1953-1961) Dwight Eisenhower

May 14, 1959. Flew into Newark Airport. Then automobile to New York for groundbreaking of Lincoln Center. Also stopped by U. S. World Trade Fair.

June 29, 1959. Flew into Newark Airport. Then automobile to New York to attend Soviet Exhibit at the New York Coliseum.

September26, 1960. Flew into Newark Airport. Then automobile to New York where President met with United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdul Nassar and Egyptian officials. Evening attended National Conference of Catholic Charities and met with Cardinal Spellman.

#33. (1945-1953) Harry S. Truman

October 7, 1948. He visited Newark during his re-election campaign.

October 21, 1952. The President spent the day in Newark campaigning for the Democratic Party.

#32. (1933-1945) Franklin Delano Roosevelt

President Roosevelt was in Newark on four occasions, as follows:

November 1932. The first Roosevelt visit was most likely a late campaign swing days before the presidential election, because he ran up a huge plurality in the November 1932 election.

September 1935. The President was seen late afternoon, motoring down Ferry Street just below the new Penn Station. He was seated in the back of an open touring car. Possibly he had been in Newark to witness the "Festival of Progress" parade, held September 11 on Broad Street. It may have been a payback to Newark for its overwhelming vote for him in his 1932 election. Newarkers in 1932 gave Roosevelt 99,277 votes to 37, 495 for Herbert Hoover.

The 1935 Roosevelt was recalled for me by my younger brother, Al, then age 12, who was a rear-seat passenger in a car traveling up Ferry Street in the opposite direction. His recollection was made on July 24, 2003.

January 18, 1936. President Roosevelt attended the National Emergency Council meeting at the Robert Treat Hotel. He arrived by train at 1:45 P. M., motored to and from the meeting where he made some extemporaneous remarks, then departed Newark by train at 4:00 P. M.

October 28, 1940. President Roosevelt arrived in Newark by train from Washington. He had invited the mayors of Northern New Jersey municipalities to accompany him on an inspection tour of the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company in Kearny.

Visit by Wire

February 13, 1934. President Roosevelt officially opened the new Newark radio station WNEW by pressing a specially-rigged button at his White House desk.

#31. (1929-1933) Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover visited Newark once as a candidate for president, once as president and twice as an ex president. The dates of his four Newark visits follow:

September 17 and 18, 1928. Herbert Hoover gave his first major campaign speech in the East at the Sussex Avenue Armory (1st Regiment Armory) on September 17. His speech emphasized the Republican Party's accomplishments with regard to employment, Prohibition, and increased foreign trade.

On September 18th, Hoover spoke briefly at a luncheon at the Newark Elks Club.

May 23, 1939. He gave a speech at the Boys Club of America at the Newark Boys' Club. He spoke on making boys into good citizens.

October 31, 1932. Enroute to a radio broadcast in New York City, he stopped off in Newark and spoke to a capacity audience at the Mosque Theatre. He spoke on reinforcing protective tariffs.

August 10, 1961. His fourth Newark visit again took him to the Newark Boys' Club. He spoke briefly at the Boys' Club while celebrating his 87th birthday there. He died three years later in New York.

#28. (1913-1921) Woodrow Wilson

May 17, 1916. President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson checked into the newly-opened Robert Treat Hotel at 50 Park Place, overlooking Military Park.

Their visit was to attend the Newark Board of Trade Dinner, held in conjunction with the celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the settlement of Newark by Captain Robert Treat, a Puritan from Connecticut.

The President and First Lady were checked into a luxurious fifth floor suite, which has since been known as the "Presidential Suite".

The Robert Treat Hotel has since been designated a national historic landmark.

As the President's arrival coincide with the City's Great Parade on Broad Street which officially ended the Anniversary Celebration, it is believed that the President also witnessed the Parade.

September 30, 1910. Woodrow, president of Princeton University, kicked off his campaign for the governorship of New Jersey with an appearance in Newark, after being nominated Sept. 15.

November 5, 1910. Wilson wrapped up his six-week long campaign in Newark on the evening of November 6th at the Krueger Auditorium on Belmont Avenue to a large crowd. He won the election and became Governor of New Jersey on January 7, 1911.

The year following his election as Governor of new Jersey, he was elected President of the United States on November 5, 1912.

#27 (1907-1913) William H. Taft

November 2, 1912. On this date, the statue of George Washington was dedicated in Washington Park. President William Howard Taft had been scheduled to visit Newark and deliver an address at the statue's dedication. He cancelled to attend the funeral of his vice president and close friend, James S. Sherman, who died of Bright's disease three days earlier on October 30.

#26. (1901-1909) Theodore Roosevelt

May 30, 1911. Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt visited Newark to unveil the newly-installed statue of Abraham Lincoln, seated in front of the Essex County Court House. The statue was by Gutzon Borglum, one of the country's greatest sculptors.

The ex-president tendered the gift of the statue to Newark Mayor Jacob Haussling on behalf of Lincoln Post, G. A. R. The statue was a gift, provided for in the will of Amos H. Van Horn, who had been a member of the post.

#18 (1869-1877) Ulysses S. Grant

December 28, 1880. Ulysses S. Grant, in the company of Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and George B. McClellan, the three leading Civil War generals, attended the unveiling ceremonies for a life-sized statue of General Philip Kearny, in Military Park.

Following the unveiling ceremonies, Grant, who in the previous November had been defeated in his candidacy for a third term as President, had lunch at the home of Senator Frederick T. Frelinghuysen at his home at the head of Military Park.

October 1872. As a candidate for re-election, President U. S. Grant visited the Newark Industrial Exposition, held August 20 to October 10, 1972, a display of Newark's industrial diversity that attracted more than 130,000 visitors. The Exposition was at a skating rink on Washington Street1. He later won re-election over his opponent, Horace Greely, who also visited the Exposition during the election campaign. While visiting the Industrial Exposition, President Grant also attended the horse races at Newark's Waverly Park track. This track would later become the Weequahic Park race track.

#16. (1861-1865) Abraham Lincoln

February 21, 1861. President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Newark at the Morris and Essex Station on North Broad Street at 9:30 A.M. The train had left Jersey City earlier that morning bearing the president on his journey to his March 4th Inaugural in Washington.

Mayor Bigelow and a committee of leading Newark citizens greeting Lincoln at the station, after which he stepped into a barouche drawn by four gray horses, in a procession that moved north up Broad Street to the Chestnut Street Station where he would take another train. Despite a heavy snow storm that day, 25,000 of Newark's 71,000 residents lined the Broad Street route to cheer their new president on.2

April 24, 1865. Less than four years after his visit to Newark as President-elect, the funeral train bearing President Lincoln's remains paused for about 20 minutes in Newark on a Sunday morning on the way to Lincoln's burial in Springfield, Illinois.

When the funeral train stopped at the Chestnut Railroad Depot at 9:00 A.M., the sobbing of thousands could be heard above the steaming and hiss of the locomotive.

The engineers pulled the throttle at 9:20 A.M. and the train moved on toward its final destination.

#14 (1853 - 1857) Franklin Pierce

In 1853, enroute to the opening of America's first World's Fair in New York City, early in his presidency, President Pierce stopped in Newark and spoke briefly from the steps of the MacGregor House at the corner of Broad and William Streets.

#8. (1837-1841) Martin Van Buren

(See entry for Andrew Jackson).

#7. (1829-1837) Andrew Jackson

June 14, 1833. President Andrew Jackson paid a visit to Newark, accompanied by his vice president, Martin Van Buren, who would succeed him as President four years later in 1837.

#2. (1797-1801) John Adams

August 2, 1791. President Adams visited Newark on his way from Philadelphia to his home in Massachusetts. During his Newark visit, he was presented with an address and a sixteen gun salute.

July 1798. President Adams visited Newark on his way to New York. Militia and crowds cheered the President as his coach passed through Newark, but it did not stop. President Adams passed through Newark in his coach two more times in 1798, again without stopping.

June 1800. The records indicate that President Adams again passed through Newark in his coach, but there is no information to mark the event.

#1. (1789-1797) George Washington

June 25, 1775. George Washington paused briefly in Newark, on his way from Philadelphia, where he'd been a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he would assume command of the Continental Army.

November 28, 1776. After defeat and retirement from Long Island, General Washington and his army of 3,000 troops withdrew to Newark, where they remained for six days before heading for New Brunswick and a subsequent victory at Trenton. The population of Newark at the time of General Washington's visit was about 1,000.

January 3, 1777. After General Washington defeated the British forces in a spectacular battle at Princeton on January 3, 1777, he went on to winter quarters in Morristown.

In the course of spending two winters encamped at Morristown, General Washington made many trips to Newark in his capacity as Commander-in-chief.

He often visited with Captain Nathaniel Camp at his residence on what is now Broad and Camp Streets.

Washington also attended services at Trinity Church on Broad Street.

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