The Amarillo Pioneer

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One Time in Amarillo: Franklin D. Roosevelt Visits Amarillo (1938)

In July of 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Amarillo and participated in a parade.

On July 11, 1938, President Roosevelt participated in a parade in Amarillo. Roosevelt's parade began on South 3rd Avenue and traveled down Polk Street, up South 24th Avenue, then traveled down Washington Street, ending in Elwood Park.

President Roosevelt was greeted the night before with banners and advertisements from institutions such as Blackburn Brothers Clothiers, the Maverick Club and local celebrities such as Cal Farley.

Local businesses also took advantage of Roosevelt's visit by offering their products and services to residents and visitors, alike. One such example was a local used car dealership that circulated a flyer reading "Let's all cooperate to make President Roosevelt's visit a big occasion! We're doing our part by offering bigger used car values for less money!"

When Roosevelt arrived, an unexpected rain storm hit the panhandle. The storm was unexpected as it fell right in the middle of the dustbowl. President Roosevelt was quoted in his speech in Elwood Park as saying, "If I had talked to the newspapermen on the train today they would have given me a hundred to one odds it wouldn't rain in Amarillo."

The crowd on hand for Roosevelt's speech was estimated to be at least 150,000 people. During his speech, Roosevelt discussed issues such as soil, water, and agriculture as the 150,000 person crowd frequently interrupted the President with applause and cheers.

The huge crowd was not only from the Amarillo area, but included many from the surrounding states and areas. New Mexico Governor Clyde Tingley even made the trip to Amarillo for Roosevelt's speech and stayed in the Herring Hotel.

When asked by a crowd about his visit to Amarillo, Tingley was documented as saying, "You know, I was mighty happy when I came over here."

Roosevelt's speech was an impressive sight and left an impact on the many generations of Amarilloans who were in attendance.

Photo by the Los Angeles Times

Photo by the Los Angeles Times

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