Presidential hopefuls who visited Buffalo, ended up in footnotes of history

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In 1900, William Jennings Bryan leaves his train to “thousands of howling, hurrahing men—insane with enthusiasm, some said they were—to make those who saw the whole believe that never had Buffalo such a grand demonstration for a political candidate.” (Buffalo Stories archives)
William Jennings Bryan speaks at the Broadway Market, 1900. (Buffalo Stories archives)

As soon as this evening, one of the two candidates for president will be written into the headlines of history — and the other will be written into the footnotes. On this Election Day, we take a look at some of the candidates who have come this close to the White House through the years, and the time they’ve spent here in Western New York.

1900: William Jennings Bryan

As he campaigned against President William McKinley, Congressman (and later Secretary of State) William Jennings Bryan filled the streets of Buffalo’s East Side as thousands jammed into the Broadway Market and surrounding streets to hear Jennings speak.

Buffalo Courier, 1900. (Buffalo Stories archives)

“On the East Side it seemed as if the whole populace had turned out to shout and cheer for Mr. Bryan,” wrote the Courier. It was estimated that 25,000 heard him at the Broadway Market, and another 8,000 heard an address at a convention hall. Another 40,000 lined the route between the two places.

—–

1936: Alfred Landon

Kansas’ governor came to Buffalo in his bid to unseat Franklin D. Roosevelt after Roosevelt’s first term in office.

Alfred Landon waves his hat to Buffalonians lined up in Shelton Square and along Main Street in August, 1936. Today, this spot has One M&T Plaza to the left, and the Main Place Tower and Mall to the right. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Landon rally at Offermann Stadium. The ballpark was one block east of Main Street at Michigan Avenue. The spot is now occupied by Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. (Buffalo Stories archives)

After parading through the streets, Landon stopped at the Statler Hotel for a tea put on by Buffalo’s Republican women. That night, Landon held a rally under the lights at Offermann Stadium, which was the home of the Bisons from 1924 to 1960.
—–
1952: Adlai Stevenson II

Stevenson was the man who took on Gen. Dwight Eisenhower for the Oval Office being vacated by Harry Truman in 1952. He then ran against the incumbent President Eisenhower in 1956.

Named after his grandfather — who was vice president during Grover Cleveland’s second term — Stevenson was governor of Illinois and was later named ambassador to the United Nations by President Kennedy.

Adlai Stevenson signs a campaign poster from the back of his train in Niagara Falls. Stevenson spoke to about 1,000 people just outside Niagara Falls New York Central Station.

—–
1964: Barry Goldwater

The Arizona senator joined his running mate, William E. Miller, in the congressman’s hometown of Lockport for a September 1964 campaign stop.

05-sep-1964-goldwater
Buffalo Stories archives

It was declared “Bill Miller Day” in Lockport in honor of the candidate for the vice presidency.  The crowds were compared favorably to four years earlier, when John F. Kennedy — then a senator and candidate for president — barnstormed through Niagara County, including a speech in Lockport.

One difference — despite the crowd’s being made up of people who knew, loved and were proud of their neighbor and his accomplishments — as many as 100 Niagara County sheriff’s deputies were there to keep order and protect the candidates. The stop was only 10 months removed from the assassination of President Kennedy.

—–

1968: Hubert Humphrey

Vice President Humphrey picked up the mantel of the Democratic Party following President Johnson’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election, and then the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Humphrey visited Buffalo many times during his time in the senate and during his time as vice president.

Hubert Humphrey speaks with anti-Vietnam War protesters, standing on Delaware Avenue, just off Niagara Square in front of the Statler Hotel in September, 1968. (Buffalo Stories archives)

 

Jim Fagan & Hubert Humphrey: two good guys

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Buffalo, NY – When Jim Fagan was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame, I sat with him and we went through dozens of his photos and mementos from his decades in radio– from his days as a disc jockey at Buffalo’s old WINE Radio in the 50s, to his decades as a newsman at WKBW.

When he showed me this photo as a clipping from the Tonawanda News, he beamed with pride at being photographed with Hubert Humphrey.

Congressman Thaddeus Dulski, Jim Fagan, Viced President Hubert Humphrey,  and EC Dem Chair Joe Crangle. 1968.
Congressman Thaddeus Dulski, Jim Fagan, Viced President Hubert Humphrey, and EC Dem Chair Joe Crangle. 1968.

“A good guy, a really good guy,” Jim said, his unmistakable voice trailing off.

Jim died this week, and everyone who knew him, felt about him the same way he felt about Hubert Humphrey. He was just a really good guy. Let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Buffalo in the ’70s: Hubert Humphrey and the Buffalo Braves

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic nominee for president in 1968 when he lost to Richard Nixon in the general election. In 1971, as he contemplated another run at Nixon the following year, he stopped in Buffalo for a pre-campaign visit and to take in the Buffalo Braves home opener at The Aud.

Humphrey-Hubert251

Senator Humphrey appears to be having a better time than Mayor Frank Sedita as the former VP gets ready to lob the ball out onto the court.

Humphrey-Hubert252-1

Humphrey visits quickly with the Braves cheerleaders. No record of whether an “ooh, ahh… Hubert on the warpath” chant broke out.

Humphrey-Hubert252

Fans directly behind them in the golds and reds don’t seem too interested in the courtside conversation going on between Braves owner Paul Snyder, Braves Captain Walt Hazzard, Vice President Humphrey, and Mayor Sedita. That night, Hazzard, in his first game with the Braves after being acquired from the Hawks in the offseason, led the Braves with 14 points as they were pounced by the Seattle Supersonics, 123-90.