July 29, 2019
The day 40,000 people greeted a president for a Jamestown anniversary celebrationBreaking News
tags: Roosevelt, Trump
The Republican commander in chief arrived on his presidential yacht as U.S. battle ships fired their guns in a salute that lasted a full five minutes.
President Theodore Roosevelt had sailed to Norfolk on April 26, 1907, to celebrate the first English colonists to establish a permanent settlement at Jamestown. It was the opening day of the Jamestown Exposition, honoring the 300th anniversary of the arrival of three ships led by Captain Christopher Newport in 1607.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will travel to Jamestown to give a speech marking the 400th anniversary of the first meeting of a representative legislature in the future United States.
Trump’s address to a special commemorative session of the Virginia General Assembly will no doubt attract many supporters, but it will also draw protesters, just as the president’s appearance on the Mall on the Fourth of July did. Many of the state’s Democratic political leaders said they will boycott the Trump talk.
There were no protesters when Roosevelt arrived 112 years ago.
At 8:30 a.m., Roosevelt’s presidential yacht, the Mayflower, “appeared out of the north, skimmed across the shining blue and threaded her way through the lanes” of 50 U.S. and foreign battle ships, The Washington Post reported. The ships’ guns fired their salute. “At last the smoke cleared away, and the President was perceived — on the deck of the Mayflower — his high hat in hand and his frock coat flapping in the breeze,” the Philadelphia Inquirer said. Admirals arrived at the yacht to greet the president.
As Roosevelt stepped from the gangplank to go ashore, the head of the exposition greeted him. “Welcome to Old Virginia,” he said to the 46-year-old Roosevelt, who responded: “I’m glad to be here. It’s bully.”
A crowd generally estimated at about 40,000 people turned out for the opening of the exposition, which resembled a World’s Fair. The site stretched over 340 acres of grounds and water. At least 37 foreign nations were represented as well as the U.S. government. Scores of American companies and more than 20 states planned to construct exhibition buildings. Pennsylvania, for example, wanted to build a replica of Independence Hall. There was a “War Path” amusement park, a Wild West show and a re-creation of the San Francisco earthquake. The cost of admission was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children.