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Boosting Evanston’s president count

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While President Obama on Thursday will become only the third president to have spent significant time in Evanston while in office, several more have stopped here before or after their stints as commander in chief.

While President Obama on Thursday will become only the third president to have spent significant time in Evanston while in office, several more have stopped here before or after their stints as commander in chief.

According to the Northwestern University Archives and the Evanston History Center, the list looks like this:

  • Abraham Lincoln spent a night in Evanston in April 1860, shortly before his nomination to run for president.
  • President-elect William McKinley had dinner at the Evanston home of Charles Gates Dawes in December 1896.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt spoke at Northwestern University in April 1903.
  • Herbert Hoover spoke during his 1928 presidential campaign from the Evanston front porch of Dawes, who was then serving as Calvin Coolidge's vice-president. Hoover also visited Northwestern University four times after he left the presidency.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed through Evanston by train in 1933.
  • President Dwight Eisenhower spoke to a World Council of Churches meeting in Evanston in August 1954.
  • Gerald Ford spoke at Northwestern in 1963, while he was a congressman, a decade before he became president.
  • Jimmy Carter spoke at Northwestern in 1975, the year before he was elected president.
  • Former president Bill Clinton spoke about health care issues at Northwestern in 2006.

A crowd waves to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, seen waving back at right, as his train passes through Evanston's Central Street station in this photo from the Evanston History Center

There also are reports that William Howard Taft and Harrry S Truman visited Evanston, but we haven't been able to pin down any details about those claimed visits.

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