Iowa History Daily: On April 28, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt passed through Iowa making nine speeches as he returned from a vacation at Yellowstone Park. The two-day stint took the President to stops at Osceola, Shenandoah, Clarinda, Sharpsburg, Van Wert, Ottumwa, and Des Moines as he made his way toward the dedication of the site for the upcoming St. Louis World’s Fair.
“The president comes to Iowa feeling ‘bully,’” boasted the Des Moines Register, and Teddy touched on the success of Governor Taft in the Philippines, the Panama Canal Treaty, and his ‘trust-busting’ of Northern Securities as he made orations for Iowans throughout the state. Processions of the Iowa National Guard, tree planting, and other festivities accompanied the President’s stops. Roosevelt closed the first day attending the dedication of the Oskaloosa YMCA building in the honor of his good friend, Iowa Congressman John F. Lacey (of Lacey-Keosauqua State Park fame).
“When I come to Iowa I feel I can learn rather than teach, because in peace and war, you men and women have acted on these principles, a capacity for organization and recognition of individual initiative,” Roosevelt said during his speech in Keokuk’s Rand Park on the second day of the trek.
Following the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, tight security accompanied the boisterous president. When the train spent the night on a Rock Island Railroad siding in Ottumwa, sixteen men stood guard over the car in addition to eight Ottumwa police officers. Roosevelt made it through the trip safely, and even visited Iowa again in 1907 and 1910. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar