Little Rock Look Back: Taft in Town

One hundred and eight 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, to date. 

 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.

1 thought on “Little Rock Look Back: Taft in Town

  1. The Little Rock Train Station did suffer a big blaze HOWEVER, there was still a sizeable amount of quality brick-shell left. This fire-kissed portion was restored to train station needs. (Only in much later years was it converted into diverse uses.) The dramatic change in the structure, which gives many the impression it is a brand new construction from-the-ground-up, is the fact the origional, peaked-gable roof was not re-installed. Rather, they made the fine looking building sport a flat roof instead. Watch for Ray Hanley’s vintage Arkansas postcards in the newspaper — you can occasionally spot one of this splendid railroad station.

    This was an informative column. I am grateful to have these wonderful bits of history, photos and maps to read and from which to learn. Thank you for your extra efforts; your good toil is well noted and I am grateful for your kindness in sharing.

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