Nearly 85 Years Ago, President Roosevelt Came to Hannibal
Hannibal has seen several presidents come through the area in the town's history. It's been nearly a century since President Franklin D. Roosevelt paid a visit to help open a very important bridge. Retro video helps us imagine what that event was like.
The occasion for the president's visit was the opening of the Mark Twain Bridge and Hannibal's centennial celebration. This video was shared over a decade ago on YouTube thanks to the Roosevelt Presidential Library. Here's how they described what you're about to see:
FDR at the Dedication Ceremonies for the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge - FDR Presidential Library 1936 - Video 106 - The Hannibal, Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Silent, grainy footage includes scene of Franklin D. Roosevelt at bridge dedication ceremonies, September 4, 1936. From President Roosevelt's collection.
The events surrounding President Roosevelt's visit are captivating. You'll see the Missouri Highway Patrol preparing for his arrival. There's the parade with the president's motorcade. Clips of his speech and other dignitaries are included. Near the end, there's also footage of what appears to be a football game between Hannibal and Quincy.
Looking at the boats on the Mississippi, I had to wonder how many (or maybe all) of them were Secret Service.
Mark Twain and his tales still live, though the years have passed and time has wrought its changes on the Mississippi. The little white town drowsing in the sunshine of the days of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer has become the metropolis of Northeastern Missouri..The tiny handful of complacent population has grown to twenty-five thousand souls—the seventh largest city in your State and the fourth in bustling industry. The old steamboat landing is still there; the railroads and the buses and the trucks have not ended water transportation on the river—and for that I am very glad.
If you have a few moments to spare, check out all of Roosevelt's speech from that day. It's an interesting read for what was one of the most historical moments in our area's history.