One hundred and six years ago today (October 24, 1909), William Howard Taft became the third sitting president to visit Little Rock. His visit is the shortest presidential visit to the city. In this day of touchdowns at airports by politicians on the political stump, it is interesting to note that the shortest visit was made on a train. It was a true “whistle stop” visit.
Taft’s train arrived at Union Station (then a new building, it burned in 1920 and was replaced by the one standing there today) in Little Rock to a crowd of 15,000. President Taft stepped from the train, made brief remarks in a hoarse voice that few heard, stepped back onto the train and departed.
That same day he spoke in Texarkana and Arkadelphia. He was on his way to Helena to speak at a ceremony.