May 23, 1903: Teddy Roosevelt comes to town

President Obama’s April 22 visit to Oso made him the ninth president to visit Everett. The first was Theodore Roosevelt, who stopped by 111 years ago today.

Roosevelt was on an eight-week, 25-state tour to promote conservation. His trip to Washington included stops in Pioneer Square and Queen Anne Hill, as well as a speech in front of an audience of 50,000 at the University of Washington.

Once in Everett, Roosevelt traveled through town on Hewitt Avenue and gave a speech on Colby Avenue. The Herald staff at the time couldn’t contain their enthusiasm:

“In many respects he is the most remarkable president the nation has known since the days of Washington himself,” they wrote on the front page. “His patriotism and high standard of citizenship, his constancy coupled with a reputation to dare and to do what he believes to be right, together with an intelligent discrimination between right and wrong, appeal strongly to every section of the union. He is a teacher and a preacher, a writer and a fighter. His entire career has been stamped by unswerving integrity and devotion to correct principles. He practices what he preaches. Welcome to the president of the United States.”

During the trip in Washington, Roosevelt detailed the great potential of Alaska, referring to the Northwest as a bridge between the U.S. and the new territory.

While this was Everett’s first executive encounter, Seattle had seen two presidents before Roosevelt’s visit: Rutherford Hayes in 1880 and Benjamin Harrison in 1891.

Read more about the trip here, click here to read about Everett’s numerous brushes with presidents, and take a look at the May 23, 1903, edition in our collection of historical front pages.

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