On Wednesday, September 30, Teddy Roosevelt came to Edgemont once again.
Roosevelt first was in Edgemont in 1903. In 1990, Gib Young was hired to come and play Teddy and speak as part of the Centennial Celebration.
According to Mary Hollenbeck, president of the historical society, they decided that it would be fun to have Gib aka “Teddy” be in town again.
The school held a program that afternoon. Susan Ostenson said that everyone was thrilled at the school - even the little kids. The third grade children had favorite part moments, the kindergarten kids sat well and all seemed to be wonderful. Teddy was very impressed with all of the students in Edgemont.
At the park, a chuckwagon style meal was served at 6 p.m. After supper, Mark Hollenbeck introduced Major Matthew Burr of the United States Army, who then introduced Teddy after a brief historical lesson.
Major Burr took us back to September 30, 1915. After listing Teddy’s many accomplishments and what he had done in his lifetime, he also talked about how much fun the White House was during Teddy’s years in office.
In 1915, the average life expectancy was almost 40 years of age, you purchased fuel for your car at the local drugstore and the speed limit was 10 miles per hour. 90 percent of all births happened in the home and 90 percent of all doctors did not have a college degree.
Most woman washed their hair once a month and used egg yolks or borax for shampoo. The population of Las Vegas, NV was 40 and the Cubs had not won a world series for eight years.
Teddy spoke of his westward trip in 1903. Today he noticed that the trains were much more noisy and commerce with them was still thriving in Edgemont.
Teddy also spoke of how he gave pretty much the same speech on his westward trip. When he was at Yellowstone, he wanted to hunt very badly, but he had left everything alone.
Teddy apologized for skipping the original dinner in 1903. That was not the only big reception that he skipped. He hoped the Edgemont Ladies were not to mad about it.
Teddy felt his two greatest accomplishments during his presidency were the Panama Canal and sailing around the world with the Great White Fleet.
Teddy knew that the Canal would be built, but the question was who would build and when. The French made a gallant effort. The Germans or the English could have, but England signed a treaty with America to let them build, and it froze Teddy’s blood to have the Germans control between the two oceans.
Most of the negotiations were with Columbia. 51 Panama Revolutions had taken place before 1903. They didn’t want to be a part of Columbia. In October of 1903, Panama revolted again and successfully succeeded. America and 12 other nations recognized Panama.
After sending an open letter in to President Wilson, to not send Columbia money and to not give up the Canal, things turned out okay.
Towards the end of Teddy’s administration, the Great White Fleet was sent around the world. Every other country at the time was sending two or three ships, America sent 16.
Roosevelt always enjoyed the Navy and ships. He wanted to build the Navy up. They were seventh at the time, even behind Chili. Roosevelt wanted them to be a very close second behind Great Britain.
Roosevelt was fought very hard when he wanted to send the 16 ships around the world and leave four at home. But it worked well. Japan gave them a very warm welcome. Turkey had a volcano erupt shortly before the American Navy got there. It killed 4000 people. Turkey was very glad to see our Navy.
Roosevelt enjoyed every minute of being in the White House. He also enjoyed being able to go for walks in Rock Creek Park. He didn’t like sitting behind a desk the entire time. Anybody that wanted to do business with him at the time, knew that they had to go for walks with him.
All in all it was a very enjoyable evening and thanks for gracing us with your presence once again.