Charlotte a frequent stop for US presidents
This story has been shared from sister station News14.com
cycle, the history of North Carolina's role in presidential politics goes back centuries. For three presidents, North Carolina was called home.
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney criss-cross North Carolina in this 2012 election cycle, the history of North Carolina's role in presidential politics goes back centuries.
For three presidents, North Carolina was called home.
The seventh president, Andrew Jackson, was born on the North and South Carolina border near Waxhaw. James K. Polk is from Pineville and eventually became the 11th president. Raleigh-native Andrew Johnson was the 17th president.
The Carolina Room at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library is a history lesson on presidents and the Carolinas.
UNC Charlotte also started a website, Presidential Visits to Charlotte , to track these visits.
"We've got Washington here," said librarian Thomas Cole.
George Washington stopped in Charlotte on his southern tour following the Revolutionary War.
"He spent a night and said Charlotte is a 'trifling place'," said Cole.
In the 20th Century, the route to the White House frequently came through North Carolina. Theodore Roosevelt came in 1905.
"Presidents tended to come on May 20 for the Mecklenburg Declaration holiday," said Cole. "That was a big local patriotic celebration where Mecklenburg County celebrated its Revolutionary War roots."
William Taft received a hero's welcome when he came to the Mecklenburg Declaration celebration in 1909.
Woodrow Wilson, who spent one year at Davidson College, came to celebrate Mecklenburg Declaration in 1916.
"Wilson came through in may of an election year in 1916, so it was part of solidifying support," said Cole.
That's when president's started visiting more often in election years.
Franklin Roosevelt came to visit Charlotte in 1936. Speaking to a packed crowd at Memorial Stadium at the Green Pasture Rally, the rain stopped, and the president symbolically pointed out a sign to the end of the Great Depression.
"When he says I think I see a rainbow, people took it as a sign of national hope," said Cole.
Thousands greeted President Dwight Eisenhower at Freedom Park in 1954, later in that decade.
"Kennedy came through as a Senator in 1959 and a presidential candidate in 1960," said Cole. "His personal charm carried the day. The pictures of him riding down Tryon Street shows he was relating well to the crowd and using the charisma he was so famous for. He ended up carrying the state over Nixon."
President Gerald Ford participated in the bicentennial Freedom Day Celebration at Freedom Park in 1975.
Georgia native Jimmy Carter visited North Carolina as well.
In 1994, Bill Clinton took a ride through Charlotte.
"He takes his '67 Mustang Convertible on a joy ride 250 yards down the Charlotte Motor Speedway," said Cole showing a picture of the event.
Then Sen. Barack Obama visited the area many times during his 2008 campaign. He spoke at UNC Charlotte the night before his historic victory.
Showing history often makes a stop in North Carolina.
"Charlotte and North Carolina have been on the radar for Presidents since Washington. It seems fitting to have the spotlight here for the DNC," said Cole.
Many other presidents visited other parts of North Carolina while on vacation, specifically to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville and Pinehurst to play some golf.