Saturday, October 6, 2012

She Saw the President--1907

Little Helen Hackleman traveled with her parents to downtown Indianapolis to see President Theodore Roosevelt speak to throngs of Hoosiers on May 30, 1907.  50,000 people gathered to hear the President with more along his motorcade route.  The purpose of the event was to dedicate a statue of Major General Henry Lawton (1843-1899), a Hoosier killed in the line of duty in the Philippine Insurrection following the Spanish American War.

President Theodore Roosevelt speaks to 50, 000 people in Indianapolis on May 30, 1907.

Roosevelt was nearing the end of his second and final term in office.  He chose the moment to discuss many important agenda items including his anti-trust stance.  Hundreds of other dignitaries mingled in the crowd that day.  If Helen Hackleman was at the Courthouse that morning, then she also watched as James Whitcomb Riley read a poem dedicated to the fallen officer.

Helen Hackleman poses on her front porch at 34 North Ritter Avenue on March 24, 1907.

Seven months after this photo was taken, the country fell into an economic panic that saw financial institutions on the verge of collapse all across the US.  The nation recovered after a few key executives, including J.P. Morgan, calmed investors by throwing their wealth into the stock market.  William Howard Taft, the heir to the Roosevelt legacy, won the Presidency in November of 1908.

In the historic image, Helen Hackleman sits and stands on her front porch at 34 North Ritter Avenue in these arty shots taken on March 24, 1907.  The home in the reflection of the glass is that of the Reverend Wilbur F. Walker at 39 North Ritter Avenue.

The Hackleman Home (34 North Ritter Avenue) on October 3, 2012

The Walker Home (39 North Ritter Avenue) on October 3, 2012

How many of us can say that we have seen a President?  For the Hacklemans, it was an important moment in their lives. The contemporary images show both homes in early October, 2012.   The historic Irvington image is courtesy of Karen Bastian Clark.

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