FDR discovery: 80-year-old, long-buried photos of president’s Bay Area visit

FDR discovery: 80-year-old, long-buried photos of president’s Bay Area visit

Picture taker obscure/San Francisco Chronicle

You don’t unearth shrouded presidential history consistently.While an ongoing chase for photographs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime 1942 voyage through the Bay Area demonstrated vain, the hunt turned up photograph negatives from FDR’s 1938 San Francisco visit that haven’t been distributed in decades.

In ongoing decades, when a president stops in the Bay Area it’s normally short and exhausting, and it quite often spins around raising support. Eighty years back, a president’s visit was an immense news story.

While a few presidents had gone by San Francisco before Roosevelt – and one, Warren G. Harding, kicked the bucket inside city limits – these give off an impression of being the most seasoned staff photographs in our chronicle of a visit by the country’s CEO.

Roosevelt left Washington, D.C., on July 7, 1938, on a cross-country visit to help his New Deal program and to battle for liberal competitors in that year’s Democratic primaries. The escort traversed the nation in an exceptional 10-auto prepare and touched base in Crockett not long after 9 a.m. July 14. The mainstream president was welcomed by 20,000 well-wishers and gave a 10-inch sugar solid shape from a delegate of the C&H Sugar Co. refinery, which is still in activity today underneath the Carquinez Bridge.

On the vehicle segment of the visit, Roosevelt rode in the number one spot auto, a seven-traveler 1927 Packard. The motorcade twisted through rustic Solano County, west to Mare Island, and afterward through downtown San Rafael, with a short stop at Dominican College before intersection the Golden Gate Bridge.

Military delegates welcomed the president as the motorcade ceased partially over the traverse. Caps were evacuated and everything except the president remained as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played. Roosevelt likewise met Army troops at the Presidio.

Nobody who has been to the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid year ought to be shocked by The Chronicle’s July 15, 1938, Page 2 feature: “Door Bridge mist welcomes president’s S.F. passage.”

A half-million observers lined the boulevards of San Francisco as Roosevelt and his motorcade strutted from the Golden Gate to the Civic Center before making a beeline for the Bay Bridge. Their solitary protracted stop was a lunch get-together and discourse at the Exposition Administration Building on Treasure Island, where the president talked about the expanding strains far and wide.

FDR, maybe predicting the coming war, railed against the spike in weapons spending in Europe and over the globe: “We intensely seek after the day when the other driving countries of the world will understand that their present course should unavoidably prompt calamity.”


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