Presidential Visits
All but two of the U.S. Presidents since Grant have visited Wyoming. The exceptions are Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. Oddly, Harrison was president when Wyoming became a state and his son lived in the capital city of the neighboring state of Montana. A grandson, William Henry Harrison, served in Congress from Wyoming for five terms, (1951-1955, 1961-1965 and 1967-1969). Twenty presidents visited the state during their terms of office. Several others came to Wyoming either to campaign for themselves or other candidates or to relax and enjoy the scenery either before or after their presidential terms.

U.S. Grant

Grant stopped in Wyoming while enroute to the West Coast during his second term. He spoke at a Cheyenne banquet given in his honor. It was not his first visit to Wyoming. Grant had traveled through when he was in the army.

After he left office, Grant made a last minute stop in Cheyenne on August 25, 1880, on his way home to Illinois from Denver. The stop was not planned but merely a transfer of trains, and the local newspaper editor helped to plan a quick greeting with General Brackett from Fort D.A. Russell. Several prominent local citizens personally greeted the small party of President & Mrs. Grant and his personal secretary, Mr. Smith. They dined in the Union Pacific Depot dining room, still entertaining well wishers, the General gave a quick speech from the balcony of the depot hotel. Apparently Governor Hoyt was conspicuously absent after greeting the party. As they were leaving, the Glafcke's presented Mrs. Grant with a bouquet of flowers.

Rutherford B. Hayes

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President Hayes addressed a small crowd in Cheyenne from the depot platform On September 4, 1880, during their nearly two month long trip through the western United States. First Lady Hayes, General William T. Sherman and Secretary of War William Evarts were among the traveling party.

James A. Garfield

Garfield crossed Wyoming by horse from Montana when he was an army general in 1872. He was moving to his new assignment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Garfield’s term was too short for a return visit to Wyoming. He was assassinated and died eight months into his term.

Chester A. Arthur

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President Chester Arthur and his party at Upper Basin, Yellowstone, 1883.(WSA Sub Neg 23923)

Among the more forgettable presidents, Arthur spent the most time in Wyoming of any 19th century chief executive. In August 1883, he and a large contingent took the train to Green River and then rode cross-country to Yellowstone. During his visit, a single horse courier kept him in touch with world and national affairs with one mail delivery per day. Always the immaculate dresser, Arthur compromised between style and cowboy regalia during his two-month Wyoming vacation. His costume often consisted of a business suit, knee-length leather leggings, a heavy watch chain and a sailor cap.

William McKinley

McKinley merely peered out of the train window while his railway car passed through the state back to Washington, D. C. The president was visiting the West Coast when he received word that his wife had become seriously ill. The urgency necessitated a non-stop return on the shortest route, the Union Pacific line across Wyoming.

Theodore Roosevelt

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President Theodore Roosevelt made several trips to Wyoming, including this stop in Newcastle.(WSA Sub Neg 6403)

Probably the most popular presidential visitor, TR made speech stops at several stations from Evanston east to Laramie and as far north as Newcastle (spring of 1903). In Laramie, he spoke from the front steps of Old Main and then took a circuitous 65-mile horseback ride over the summit to Cheyenne. Roosevelt had been in Wyoming in the 1880s, when as a North Dakota rancher, he visited the Cheyenne Club and Buffalo twice. In 1900, he made speeches in the state including talks at, Green River, Rawlins, Medicine Bow, Laramie and Cheyenne. He returned to Wyoming in July 1910, two years after he left the White House.

William Howard Taft

Taft campaigned widely throughout the state in 1911. He gave speeches in Laramie on October 4 and Rock Springs on October 5, among the numerous appearances. On October 20, 1911, he spoke in Newcastle from the steps of the newly constructed Weston County Courthouse.

Woodrow Wilson

In the fall of 1919, Wilson embarked on a national speaking tour to promote American entry into the League of Nations. By the time he arrived in Cheyenne on Sept. 24, he had spoken in nearly 40 cities during a three-week period. After a warm reception at the depot, he visited Fort Russell (now Warren Air Force Base) and gave a speech at the Princess Theater in downtown Cheyenne. “He had a look of almost inexpressible weariness,” the Cheyenne newspaper reported, “and he has deep lines around his eyes.” The next day, Wilson gave a speech in Pueblo, Colo., and at its conclusion, he collapsed from exhaustion. He returned non-stop on the train to Washington, D. C., where he suffered a stroke a few days later. He was incapacitated for the rest of his term.

Warren G. Harding

Harding rode through Wyoming on the way to Alaska in June 1923. He made brief stops at Cheyenne and Laramie and then took a short sightseeing tour of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in early July. On July 18, he made the first visit to Canada by an American president. Five weeks after he left Wyoming, Harding died in San Francisco. The train carrying his casket crossed southern Wyoming, returning the president’s body to Washington. The train stopped for 27 minutes in Cheyenne where a crowd estimated at 10,000 came to the depot to pay respects on the Sunday afternoon of August 5, 1923.

Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge spent summers in South Dakota and came into Wyoming from time to time for short sightseeing excursions. In August 1927, he vacationed in Yellowstone, passing back and forth through Cody.

Herbert Hoover

Hoover stopped in Cheyenne the night before his defeat in the 1932 election. In the election the next day, Hoover gained 43.9 percent of the vote in Wyoming, losing the state to Franklin Roosevelt by the biggest margin ever recorded to that time.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor leaving St. Marks Episcopal Church in Cheyenne. They attended the Sunday morning service during their 1932 visit.(WSA Brammar Neg 3911)

FDR campaigned in Wyoming in 1932 and, as president, visited the state on three occasions.

On October 12, 1936, Eleanor and President Franklin Roosevelt stopped in Cheyenne during a campaign swing through nine western states. The 20-hour pause was the longest of the trip and the couples' second visit to the Capitol City. The Sunday "rest" just happened to coincide with Eleanor's birthday. They were treated to a tour of the city and Fort Warren and worshiped at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Governor Leslie Miller presented the first lady with a very large bouquet of dahlia, probably grown by him on the state capitol grounds. [1]

Eleanor Roosevelt made a brief stop at the Cheyenne airport on May 1, 1937 on her way from Cleveland to Seattle to visit her daughter and grandchildren. [2]

On September 25, 1937, Roosevelt gave a speech to 10,000 people assembled at the depot in Casper. Between Cheyenne and Casper, they stopped in several towns and visited with locals from the back platform of their rail car. [3] The president and first lady then continued by train to Yellowstone National Park, where they met their daughter, Anne, and her family and spent the next couple days exploring the park. During a drive in an open automobile, the President fed three bears, one of which put its paws on the side of the car very near the President. No one was harmed and the car immediately drove on, though the bear caused a traffic jam by continuing to stand in the middle of the road. [4]In her daily column, Eleanor spoke of the need to educate the public about the conservation of the parks in light of stone chipping souvenir hunters of the day and others who had thrown tax tokens into the pools in the park. [5]

Harry Truman

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Governor Hickey greets President Truman at the Cheyenne Airport. Chalane, Tracy McCraken and JD Clark at left.(WSA Brammar Neg 5477)

Truman “whistle-stopped” through Wyoming during the 1948 campaign. Large crowds met his train at depots throughout the state and Truman spoke to several of the assembled crowds from the back platform of his train. In Cheyenne, he spoke from the front porch of the Governor’s Mansion on June 6, 1948. At other places, when his train simply stopped for crew changes or re-fueling, Truman waved from the platform of the rail car. On May 9, 1950, Truman was in Casper. He spoke at the Natrona County High School auditorium and attended dedication ceremonies for Kortes Dam. As a former president, he rode a stagecoach down Casper’s 2nd Street in July 1953.

Dwight Eisenhower

Ike campaigned in Wyoming in 1952. His wife, Mamie, once lived in Denver, Colorado, where they visited frequently during his presidency. He did not travel north to Wyoming during that campaign. Many years before he was president, Eisenhower did get to know Wyoming roads. In 1919, he led an army unit of motorized vehicles across country and through southern Wyoming. The expedition was designed to show the need for better highways as a defense measure. After Eisenhower became President, he initiated the interstate highway system.

John F. Kennedy

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Before he was president, Kennedy spoke to a party fund raiser at Casper on June 4, 1958. During his presidency, JFK spoke to the largest crowd ever assembled to hear a speaker in Wyoming. The September 23, 1963, speech was made in the field house at the University of Wyoming before some 12,000 people. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, less than two months later.

Lyndon B. Johnson

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Cheyenne Mayor Bill Nation greets President Lyndon Johnson at the Cheyenne Airport. Senator Gale McGee stands just to the right of the president.(WSA Brammar Neg 5586)

LBJ toured Wyoming many times when he was a senator from Texas. Soon after he became vice president, Johnson again visited the state. He gave speeches at Cheyenne in 1962 and Casper in July, 1963. During the 1964 campaign, President Johnson spoke to a crowd of 4,000 people at Casper on October 12. He was given a jade cuff-link set and his wife received jade earrings.

Richard M. Nixon

While he was vice president, Nixon made campaign visits to Wyoming in 1954, 1956 (when he spoke on Main Street in Sheridan), 1958 (at Casper on October 17), and 1960. He also gave a campaign speeches in Wyoming for Barry Goldwater on October 22, 1964, and for state Republican candidates two years later. He did not visit the state during his presidency, however.

Gerald R. Ford

Ford’s associations with Wyoming were numerous. Ford, of all presidents, had the closest family ties to the state. His grandparents were pioneers in the central part of the state and Ford worked in Wyoming during the summers in his college years and even served as a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 1936 (he is the only US President to work as a forest ranger).[6] In 1978, he visited briefly in Casper where he met several people who had known his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. C. H. King.

Jimmy Carter

Carter and his wife vacationed in Jackson Hole in August, 1978.

Ronald Reagan

Reagan made a campaign stop in Casper in 1976. He gave a speech in Cheyenne at Storey Gymnasium March 2, 1982, and visited Casper at the end of October 1982, while he was president. After he left the White House, Reagan and his wife Nancy vacationed in Jackson Hole. In July 1992, they were guests at the Lost Creek Ranch. During one day’s visit, they shopped in Jackson stores.

George H. W. Bush

In July 1988, during the Democratic Party’s convention, Vice President Bush fished near Cody. Four years later, when the Democrats were meeting in convention at New York (1992), President Bush visited at the ranch owned by Secretary of State James Baker in Sublette County. Bush also made brief visits to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone in the summer of 1989 and in 1990 for the state centennial. He spoke at the official statehood centennial celebration at the Wyoming State Capitol Building in 1990. After his presidency, he spoke at the University of Wyoming. He also attended Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Bill Clinton

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Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton accepts a cowboy hat from Governor Mike Sullivan and Secretary of State Kathy Karpan at the Cheyenne Airport, December 3, 1991.(WSA Riley Collection)

Clinton often visited the state when he was governor of Arkansas.When he was a candidate, he made a campaign appearance at the Cheyenne airport during the 1992 election campaign. As President, he vacationed in Jackson Hole for 17 days in August 1995, and again in 1996. he played golf at the Jackson Golf and Tennis Club. Clinton, his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea rafted down the Snake River. The first family were guests at the summer home of Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The Clintons participated in at least one official event during their Wyoming vacation, a ceremony commemorating women suffrage. About 450 people attended the event. Clinton also vacationed in Jackson Hole in August 1996, where he finished writing a book. In 2008, during his wife's primary election bid, Clinton spoke at campaign rallies in Casper, Riverton, Rock Springs, and Laramie. He visited Cheyenne on April 4, 2016, to again campaign for his wife.[7]

George W. Bush

During the 2000 campaign, Bush appeared with Dick Cheney in Casper. Cheney, Bush’s vice president, frequently returned to his home in Jackson Hole during the two Bush-Cheney terms.

Barack Obama

President Obama visited Yellowstone National Park with his family on August 15, 2009, as part of a business/vacation trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. [8]

Donald Trump

As of December 2017, President Trump has not made an official visit to the state.
  1. ^ Eleanor Roosevelt's diary entry can be found at Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day, October 12, 1936," The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Digital Edition (2017) (accessed December 2017)
  2. ^ Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day, May 1, 1937," The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Digital Edition (2017), (accessed December 2017)
  3. ^ Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day, September 25, 1937," The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Digital Edition (2017), (accessed December 2017)
  4. ^ Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day, September 27, 1937," The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Digital Edition (2017) (accessed December 2017)
  5. ^ Eleanor Roosevelt, "My Day, September 28, 1937," The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Digital Edition (2017) (accessed December 2017)
  6. ^ "President Ford Was a Yellowstone Ranger" Yellowstone Park Foundation, August 26, 2009. (accessed April 2016)
  7. ^ "Bill Clinton Talks Energy in Cheyenne" by Trevor Brown, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, April 4, 2016. (accessed April 2016)
  8. ^ "President Visits Yellowstone: The Obama Family Takes and Outing to See American Icon Old Faithful" Yellowstone Park Foundation, August 2009. (accessed April 2016)