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President-Elect Hoover toured East Tennessee in fall 1928

Bob Cox • Oct 23, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The news that president-elect Herbert Hoover was making a tour through East Tennessee in the fall of 1928 was carried by newspapers across the country and abroad. One newspaper opened the news with four subtitles:

"Hoover Planning Busy Program on Tennessee Tour/Strenuous Schedule Arranged for Nominee's Visit Early Next Month/To Leave October 5/Will Speak in Elizabethtown the Next Day — Plans Other Talks.

"Washington, Sept 25, 1928: A rather strenuous schedule had been arranged for Herbert Hoover on his one-day excursion into the South early next month, during which he will visit two cities and pass through a dozen others in the Tennessee and Virginia mountains by train and or automobile.

"The Republican presidential candidate will make two speeches, the principal one being at Elizabethton in mid-afternoon on October 6 and the other at Johnson City late in the day just before he boards his private train for the overnight return run to Washington, DC.

"As this schedule is now arranged, the party will leave here over the Southern railway at 11 p.m. on the night of October 5. The first stop will be at Lynchburg, where the transfer will be made to the Norfolk and Western in Bristol, which straddles the Virginia-Tennessee line. It is to be reached around 9:30 a.m., and there the nominee will make a rear platform appearance.

"Switching back to the Southern, the special will then proceed to Elizabethton, arriving about 11:30 a.m. The train will be halted outside the city limits and the party will motor through the town. The parade will end in time for luncheon at 12:30 a.m., at which time Mr. Hoover will be the honored guest and he may have a word or two to say.

"At 2 p.m., the nominee is to review a procession in connection with the Battle of King's Mountain celebration, which then will be in progress then. From the review stand, the nominee will be taken to a natural outdoor amphitheater, where he will deliver the fourth prepared address of the campaign, but one which will be as nearly non-political in character as can be delivered by the presidency.

"Should Hoover encounter bad weather, the speaking will be moved to a pavilion, which is reputed to have a seating capacity of 7,000. If the exercises are held out of doors, a crowd many times that size is expected to be within the range of his voice as preparations are being made to run excursion trains into the town from four states: North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.

"The speech is to be carried over a large part of the South by radio, but there has been no effort to establish a national hookup because of the late hour of the delivery.

"After the address, Hoover and his party will enter automobiles for the ten-mile ride over a mountain highway to Johnson City, which is planning a fine welcome for the Republican nominee. Hoover will go to the Soldiers' Home facility there, one of the largest in the country, and will motor through the city to his train, which will be procured from Elizabethton early in the afternoon.

"The Elizabethton speech now is reaching its final form and as he did yesterday; the Republican standard-bearer will spend the afternoon at home working on it. He had only one engagement for the day and that one late in the afternoon with Roy O. West, new Secretary of the Interior, and for years Secretary of the Republican National Committee."

Reach Bob Cox at boblcox@bcyesteryear.com or go to www.bcyesteryear.com.

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