Presidential visits to the central San Joaquin Valley

The Fresno BeeFebruary 12, 2014 

The central San Joaquin Valley's voters and close proximity to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks makes it a popular stop for sitting presidents:

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909): Roosevelt arrived via train in Raymond in May 1903, where he made an off-the-cuff speech to an unexpected crowd before leaving with naturalist John Muir and 30 troopers from the Ninth U.S. Cavalry (the legendary Buffalo soldiers) up Grub Gulch Road to spend four days in Yosemite National Park.

William H. Taft (1909-1913): Taft visited Yosemite in October 1909 with Muir as his guide before visiting Fresno, where he gave a speech at Courthouse Park and visited Kearney Park.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945): Roosevelt visited Yosemite in July 1938. His train passed through Fresno in the early morning, but the president was asleep.

Harry S. Truman (1945-1953): Truman was in Fresno in September 1948 with his re-election campaign train. The train also made stops in Merced, Tulare and Bakersfield.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): Kennedy visited in August 1962 to dedicate the San Luis Dam Project. He flew into Castle Air Force Base, stayed at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, visited the dam site near Los Banos and departed from the then-Fresno Air Terminal.

Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977): Ford visited Fresno in November 1974 to help Rep. Bob Mathias' re-election campaign and again in March 1976 as part of his own re-election campaign.

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): Carter visited Fresno in May 1977 to view problems caused by the drought. He also held a town hall meeting in Merced in July 1980.

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993): Bush went to a ranch just west of Fresno during a campaign stop in May 1992. He also visited Sequoia National Forest in July 1992 to discuss his environmental policies and to sign a proclamation to protect giant sequoia groves from logging.

Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Clinton visited Lincoln Middle School in Selma in September 1995. In September 1996, he stayed overnight and attended a rally at Morris E. Dailey Elementary School in Fresno. Clinton visited again in April 2000, landing at Bakersfield's Meadow Fields airport before touring the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest, where he signed a proclamation designating 328,000 acres around 34 groves of ancient sequoias as a national monument.

George W. Bush (2001-2009): In May 2001, Bush landed in Fresno en route to Sequoia National Park to discuss his environmental and energy policies. In October 2003, he spoke at a luncheon at the Fresno Convention Center and visited Ruiz Foods in Dinuba.

Compiled from reports in Fresno Bee archives

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