2 photographic postcards of Theodore Roosevelt and his Sept. 1, 1910 visit to Kansas City
A photographic post card taken in Kansas City Sept. 1, 1910, shows Theodore roosevelt being driven down Grand Avenue in an open carriage. A huge bouquet of roses is beside the former President, who is standing in the carriage.
The team of gray horses is driven by a man wearing a mackintosh and rain hat as protection against the elements. A policeman wearing white gloves, helmet and the dark blue uniform of the day walks beside the carriage.
Briggs Kodaks and Underwood Typewriter signs on two of the store fronts in the background help pinpoint the location. Briggs was at 914 Grand, according to an old city directory.
Roosevelt, who chose not to run for re-election for President in 1908, had stayed out of politics (and out of the country) from the time he left the White House until June, 1910. His visit to Kansas City was during a swing around the western part of the country. Although it was not a presidential election year, he played a part in the congressional campaigns of 1910. It was evident at each stop that his popularity had not diminished.
Roosevelt and his party had started out with two railroad cars on the tour. By the time his special train reached Kansas City on the return to New York, it had grown to nine cars.
Headlines of the day stated, President Taft Stands by T. R.; No Break Between the Two and T. R. Aligns Himself With the Progressives, Against Bossism.
Roosevelt's tour, which had covered several Midwestern states, had been hampered by early fall rains. However, they did not keep him from riding horseback 30 miles with the cowboys in Wyoming, a trip he enjoyed immensely.
The train made many short stops along the way where Roosevelt talked to large enthusiastic crowds, from the rear of his private car, the Republic. He made five speeches in Denver and several in Topeka. The parade in Osawatomie, Kan., had to be abandoned because of rain, and rain was pouring down when he arrived in Kansas City at the old Union Depot.
That day's issue of The Star reported: Thousands stand without umbrellas to see the ex-President pass through the streets. (Being considerate of those standing behind.) There was a big jam at the depot. Every bit of space in the old building was filled with Teddy Boosters.
Missouri's governor, Herbert S. Hadley, was the first to board the Roosevelt car. He was followed by W. T. Bland and E. M. Clendening of the Commercial Club. The party emerged from the private car, Senator Bristow of Kansas leading, followed by Gov. W. R. Stubbs of Kansas, Governor Hadley of Missouri and members of the reception committee and finally Mr. Roosevelt.
After the ride through the Downtown District a luncheon was held at the Baltimore Hotel. Members of the orchestra, who had braved the rain to furnish the music, played and sang a parody of Kelly, a popular song of the day:
Has anybody here seen Teddy. He's from Oyster Bay. His head is clear and heart is true He's insurgent through and through. Has anybody here seen Teddy? He is on his way.
That night 20,000 persons packed Convention Hall to hear Roosevelt. Many couldn't get into the hall and were turned away. The Kansas City Times of Sept. 2 called it a strong speech, and said, The Progressive Party leader gave voice to sentiments that made him a popular idol.
His entire speech of the night before was printed as well as descriptions of incidents of the day of the parade. Mention was made of stops at Westport High School and a talk at Portsmouth Auditorium in Kansas City, Kansas, to which 4,000 had made their way from a rained-out gathering at Huron Park.
Random items and advertisements, not political, in newspapers of the day told a story in themselves. Peck's Store advertised men's night shirts for 55 cents, or three for $1.55, and Gibson Girl Ties (shoes for ladies) at 98 cents a pair. The Parisian (now Harzfeld's) in an end-of-summer sale pictured ladies' pure linen suits, with floor length coats, for $3.98 and the Jones Store ad read 720 pairs of women's fast black, long elastic-topped, seamless hose at 10 cents a pair.
Pavlova, the dancer, and her ballet company announced a November program at Convention Hall; the Woman's Home Companion magazine told of a new monthly feature, Rose O'Neill's Kewpies; the Brush Runabout Co. of Detroit quoted a price of $485 for a roadster with an operation cost of 1 cent a mile, while Fletcher Cowherd, Jr., Auto Co. on Troost boasted: The most exquisite of all electrics, for those who want the best. (No price quoted.)
An article for women was titled How to Keep a Hired Girl, advice from one who has been 35 years at one place. A news story told of the arrival of three steam shovels that would be used to excavate for the new Union Station; another news item heralded, Flying as a business, the commercial side of the aeroplane being exploited. English as well as Americans are waking up to the possibilities of the business side of flying.
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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