That time the president came to Los Angeles...
It's Presidents Day. And while Los Angeles -- or California itself, for that matter -- couldn't be part of the travel itinerary for presidents George Washington (it wasn't yet part of the United States) and Abraham Lincoln (he was a bit preoccupied with the Civil War), we've compiled a snapshot of some of the presidents who have passed through the City of Angels over the decades.
Check out below Obama giving the commencement speech in 2014 at UC Irvine (OK, so it's not exactly L.A.), a dripping wet JFK emerging from the Pacific, and FDR at the Hollywood Bowl -- along with several other presidents in between. (For more interesting tidbits about Los Angeles, check out #WeAreLA.)
A little presidential trivia:
Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, was the first sitting president to visit Los Angeles, and the Western region, in 1880, the same year the University of Southern California formally opened.
L.A. was more of a village then. The outlying areas around the city center were transforming from ranchland to orange groves, mostly. (Ever notice the preponderance of Orange Grove streets throughout the region?)
The Los Angeles Times would begin publishing a year later, as the Los Angeles Daily Times. (More on that here.)
As we're living the electoral process now, here's another fun fact: Hayes didn't win the popular vote; he squeaked into office by a margin of one electoral vote.
Although some have praised his commitment to civil service reform and defense of civil rights, historians tend to rank Hayes in the bottom half of U.S. presidents. (Sorry, Mr. President.)
Who knows. Maybe by this time next year, the newly inaugurated 45th president might have already visited our fine city.
Follow me on Twitter for a curious view of Los Angeles: @mmaltais
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