It’s the kind of story that plays out even today, more than a hundred years later.
You’re a college kid getting ready to make the couple-hour trip home for Christmas, when you realize one of your football teammates isn’t going to be able to make the two day trip back home to be with his family—so you invite him home, knowing there’s always extra room at the table.
A Buffalo version of this story happened in 1913 when Louis Byrne, a cadet and football player at West Point, invited his fellow cadet and football teammate Ike—Yes, that Ike– home for Christmas.
Byrne’s late father was Col. John Byrne—a former Buffalo Police Commissioner and Commandant of the Pan American Expo Police Force. As a somewhat prominent Buffalo family, their comings and goings were fodder for the society pages of the newspapers.
Cadet Dwight D. Eisenhower’s visit to the Byrne residence on Summit Avenue in the Parkside neighborhood was written up in both The Buffalo Evening News and the Buffalo Morning Express.
Eisenhower’s next visit to Buffalo came 39 years later, when then-General Eisenhower made a speech in the run up to his election as President in 1952.
In his later years, one of Byrne’s favorite stories involved bossing Eisenhower around at West Point. A version of the story even made a nationally distributed Associated Press article.
Louis T. Byrne was an upperclassman at West Point in 1914, and one day was giving a plebe a “going over.”
“I suppose you expect to become a general?” Byrnes asked.
“Yes, sir I do, sir,” replied Dwight D. Eisenhower, the plebe.
You can visit the House where Ike stayed… by the way… on this weekend’s Parkside Tour of Homes— It was later owned by Mathias Hens of Hens & Kelly fame.
More on the Tour of Homes: www.parksidebuffalo.org