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  • Writer's pictureJivko Stefanov

Charleston’s Presidential History

Charleston is rich in history including its interactions with Presidents of the United States.

George Washington

Our nation’s very first president visited Charleston. He wanted to learn the impact of the Revolutionary War, so he visited for 10 days. James Monroe

During Monroe’s tour of the south in 1819, he visited properties currently standing (Confederate House – 62 Broad and Laurens-Rutledge House – 117 Broad.) His portrait was painted during his stay. While the original hangs in Charleston’s City Council Chambers a replica hangs in the White House. Abraham Lincoln

Though Lincoln did not visit Charleston, granddaughter Jessie Lincoln Randolph purchased Sword Gate House (Legare Street) in 1930 intending to make it her summer home. Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy visited the great city in 1902 in order to attend the South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Explosion. William Howard Taft

Taft visited his friend, then-mayor R. Goodwin Rhett. While in town, he climbed to the top of the city’s first skyscraper, Peoples Building, and had dinner at Rhett’s home, now the John Rutledge House Inn. It was during this dinner Rhett’s cook, William Deas, invented she-crab soup. Franklin D. Roosevelt

A friend of mayor Burnet R. Maybank, Franklin made frequent trips to the city. He visited the Citadel, left from Charleston for a South American cruise, and spent the longest vacation of his presidency at Hobcaw Barony. Dwight D. Eisenhower

A longtime friend of The Citadel’s president, Mark Clark, in 1955 Ike received an honorary degree from the school. Gerald Ford

Ford also received an honorary degree from The Citadel. John F. Kennedy

JFK was stationed in Charleston. During this time (pre-Jackie O) he had an affair with a Danish immigrant who was suspected to be a Nazi spy at the time. While in Charleston, their room was bugged by the FBI and they were followed throughout the city. Jimmy Carter

Jimmy hade a quick stop in 1977 to address the Southern Legislative Conference. George H.W. Bush

George and first lady Barbara Bush met while George was studying at Ashley Hall. They were married and had the longest marriage in presidential history, just under 73 years. George W. Bush

George spoke at The Citadel shortly after the September 11 attacks to rally support for the war on terror. He then returned in 2006 to speak at the Air Force Base on the same issue. Barack Obama

Barack visited the city during his campaign and during his acceptance speech declared his campaign, “was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.” Donald Trump

Weeks after becoming president, Trump visited Boeing’s facility to address his “America First” policy.

Information derived from Jen Ashley’s “Presidential Ties to Charleston

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