Presidential visits to Kansas
He made a seven-day campaign tour to Atchison, Doniphan, Elwood, Leavenworth, and Troy, Kansas, November 30, to December 6, 1859. He later said “If I were to go West, I think I would go to Kansas.”
Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
He visited Leavenworth in 1868 prior to election, and again to Leavenworth in 1871. His train stopped at the Kansas Pacific Station in Topeka, on April 25, 1873. In 1880 he dedicated Merriam Park in Johnson County.
Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
He and his family traveled by train to Kansas in 1879. Their first stop was Fort Scott. They visited county fairs and events in Neosho Falls, September 22, Larned, September 26, and Topeka, September 27, where his arrival included fireworks and cannons.
Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
He and rode in a parade to the fairgrounds where he spoke to 20,000 Civil War veterans in Topeka on October 10, 1890.
Grover Cleveland (1885-1889) (1893-1897)
22nd and 24th President
He reportedly stayed at Hotel Josephine in Holton, 1891.
William McKinley (1897-1901)
He spoke in Leavenworth on October 24, 1892; made 17 speeches during a 24-hour visit on October 3, 1894; and spoke at the Ottawa Chautauqua on June 17, 1895. His presidential train later passed through the state.
He toured Kansas including a stop in Newton on July 2, 1900, and spoke at Hotel Stilwell in Pittsburg. He spoke to the G.A.R. state encampment in Hutchinson, August 13, 1901. He made two speeches in Topeka and attended church on September 29, 1902. His two-day trip included laying a cornerstone for a YMCA April 30, or May 1, 1903, and stops in St. Marys, Manhattan, Hays, Sharon Springs, and others along the Union Pacific rail line. He described this trip to Kansas as “one of the times of my life.” He made a whistle stop speech from his train in Lawrence in 1903. His visits included Emporia to see his friend William Allen White. On August 31, 1910, he delivered an address and dedicated John Brown Memorial Park in Osawatomie, and dedicated a fountain in what is now South Park in Lawrence. He made 17 speeches in Kansas on April 20, 1912. On September 21, 1912, he spoke at the depot platform near the campaign train in Baldwin City, Ottawa, and Topeka on September 21, 1912, then Emporia and the Hotel Stilwell in Pittsburg. In 1915 he presented a silver-mounted saddle to Miss Lucille Mulhall in Downs as a tribute to her ability as a horsewoman.
He visited the Kansas Semi-Centennial in Topeka on May 30, 1904. As Secretary of War he inspected Fort Leavenworth on June 19, 1907. On June 20 or 25, 1907, he spoke at the Ottawa Chautauqua. He attended church services and participated in inaugural ceremonies at Baker University on September 24, 1911; arrived in Topeka on September 24, 1911, made a stop in Iola on September 25, helped lay the cornerstone of G. A. R. Memorial Hall, which was built in honor of Civil War veterans and served for 80 years as home to the Kansas Historical Society, dedicated flag poles at Washburn College in Topeka, and stopped at Topeka Country Club on September 27; he made 17 talks including laying a cornerstone at City Auditorium in Hutchinson and stopping in Lawrence, Cherryvale, Coffeyville, Independence, Chanute, Ottawa, Atchison, and Leavenworth on September 28, 1911. He spoke in Topeka on December 15, 1916. He spoke in Wichita on May 29, 1919.
He spoke in Topeka on February 22, 1912, and again in Topeka and other towns on October 7, 1912, during his campaign. With Mrs. Wilson he spoke at Topeka High School and City Auditorium in Topeka on February 1 or 2, 1916. He was scheduled to speak in Wichita on September 26, 1919, but suffered a stroke upon arrival and cancelled his appearance and returned to Washington, D.C.
Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
He made a campaign appearance in Wichita and Arkansas City on October 9, 1920. He spoke in Dodge City and Sylvan Park; then drove a tractor during wheat harvest in Hutchinson where he also spoke at the State Fairgrounds and dedicated the Carey salt mine on June 23, 1923. Students later saved pennies for a monument to mark the site of his visit.
He spoke in Topeka on October 13, 1920. He spoke in Hutchinson on December 10, 1922. He made a campaign appearance in Strong City with his vice presidential running mate, Charles Curtis of Kansas, in 1928. In 1929 or 1930 he visited a cousin, Harriet Miles Odell, who lived in Topeka. His train made a stop in Liberal on November 14, 1932, then Pratt and Hutchinson. He made a stop in Kansas City, Missouri, on November 15, 1932. He returned to dedicate a park and monument to William Allen White family in Emporia on July 11, 1950.
He spoke at Topeka, Lawrence, and Salina on October 5, 1920, during campaigns as vice presidential nominee. His train stopped to campaign in Colby and Topeka in 1932. He spoke at the Wyandotte County courthouse on October 13, 1936, and his train paused in Olathe. He spoke at the railroad station and Lawrence Stadium in Wichita on October 13, 1936.
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)
He spoke in Topeka in 1944. He visited Emporia and signed legislation to authorize the William Allen White commemorative stamp in 1948. He toured flood damaged areas near Kansas City in 1951. He spoke in Topeka in February 1957 and again on April 24, 1957. He visited the home of his niece, Martha Ann Swoyer in Oskaloosa in 1960 or 1961. He dedicated Capital City Bank in Topeka on November 29, 1964.
As a 19-year-old, he spoke about politics in Abilene on November 18, 1909. He visited Topeka in June 1945. He returned from the war amid celebration to Abilene June 21-21, 1945. He spoke in Kansas City, Missouri, October 15-17, 1953, and included a trip to Abilene.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
He spoke in Topeka in 1957. He spoke at Fort Hays State University in Hays on November 29, 1959, also appearing in Dodge City and Kansas City, and the Allis Hotel and Wichita University in Wichita. He spoke at Lawrence Stadium in Wichita and Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village on October 22, 1960.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
He spoke at the Wichita Municipal Airport in Wichita on October 29, 1964. He reviewed an F-105 Thunderchief demonstration at McConnell Air Force Base, followed by a parade in Wichita, on November 22, 1967.
He spoke at Kansas State University in Manhattan, on September 16, 1970.
He helped campaign in Kansas for Nancy Landon Kassebaum on October 24, 1973. He spoke at Century II in Wichita on November 2, 1974. He spoke on the steps of the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka on February 11, 1975. He attended the Governors Prayer Breakfast in Topeka on February 21, 1975. He visited Russell and Kansas City on August 18, 1976. He spoke at Kansas State University on February 20, 1978. He helped campaign for his party in Kansas in August 1982.
He spoke at Kansas State University in Manhattan on October 26, 1967, and again on September 9, 1982. He celebrated Alfred Landon’s 100th birthday in Topeka on September 6, 1987.
George H. W. Bush (1989-1993)
He spoke at Kansas State University in Manhattan on September 9, 1985. He campaigned for Mike Hayden in Topeka on September 6, 1990.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
He spoke in Topeka in 1988. He conducted a round table discussion in Topeka on April 7, 1994. He visited Wichita on November 17, 1997. He spoke at Kansas State University on March 2, 2007. He spoke in Topeka on March 2, 2007.
George W. Bush (2001-2008)
He helped campaign for his party in Topeka on October 2, 1996. He spoke at Brown v. Board National Historic Site dedication on May 17, 2004. He presented a volunteer award to Janet Dunn, Lawrence, in Topeka and spoke at Kansas State University on January 23, 2006. He helped campaign for his party in Kansas in November 2006. He visited General Motors plant in Kansas City, Kansas, on March 20, 2007. He spoke at commencement ceremonies for Greensburg High School on May 4, 2008.
Barack Obama (2008-2016)
He spoke in Topeka in 2006. He spoke in El Dorado, the city where his grandparents had lived, in 2007. He spoke in Osawatomie on December 6, 2011. He spoke at the University of Kansas in Lawrence on January 22, 2015.
Entry: Presidential visits to Kansas
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: January 2015
Date Modified: October 2015
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.