President Donald Trump is set to visit Elkhart Thursday with a rally at North Side Gymnasium, it got us thinking; how many other sitting presidents have visited the City with a Hart?
While it might be difficult to know for sure about any pre-newspaper visits that there may have been, EPL’s extensive records of the Elkhart Truth and Daily Record help shed light on the past 150 years or so.
The New York Central Railroad definitely helped the early visits of presidents and candidates made to Elkhart. Back 116 years ago, former president Theodore Roosevelt made a short stop in Elkhart on his campaign train following the 1912 Progressive Party Convention in Chicago. After his nomination as the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party candidate, Roosevelt made a seven-minute stop in Elkhart to campaign.
The Elkhart Daily Record on Aug. 9, 1912, wrote that his speech was interrupted several times by an over-eager crowd, including several “elderly but determined women” who called themselves “suffragettes.”
On Oct. 26, 1948, then-President Harry Truman stopped his campaign train in Elkhart just one day ahead of his opponent, Thomas Dewey. Truman blasted the Republican-controlled Congress and told an estimated crowded of 10,000 that “If every voter casts his ballot in their favor…there is no doubt I will be the next president.”
The next presidential visit most will remember was Lyndon Johnson’s April 14, 1965 visit following the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak. Recovery was ongoing during Johnson’s visit and he promised that he would “do everything we can” for the victims of the tornadoes.
While many politicians made stops in the South Bend area as officials or on campaign stops, it wasn’t until Barack Obama made a post-inaugural visit to Elkhart, one of several he made as both a candidate and President, that a sitting President visited Elkhart. His first presidential visit was on Feb. 9, 2009, just weeks following his inauguration to tout a federal job creation stimulus grant that funded several Indiana projects.
He returned on June 1, 2016, bringing his presidency in full circle, to tout the progress the community had made since the bottom of the economic recession that wreaked havoc on the area’s economy. He also filmed a PBS Town Hall at the Lerner Theatre.
Trump will be the next chapter in presidential visitors and in the future that story will be found right here in the EPL archives.
Enjoy Stars Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You) with these Star Wars related titles in our collection you can check out to get into the galaxy.
All comic fans are sure to find something to enjoy on Free Comic Book Day at the Elkhart Public Library.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at all library branches, we’ll be giving away free comics.
At the downtown library, we’ll also be showing comic shows such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Batman: The Animated Series, among other shows.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, downtown, Jim McClain, Elkhart teacher and comic book creator of “The Solution Squad” will be speaking about education and comics, as well as selling copies of his comics.
Leading up to Free Comic Book Day, EPL will have other activities going as well:
- Beginning on April 18, all EPL branches will be participating in a Design Your Own Super Hero contest. A sheet will be available at all locations and children can create their own hero with superpowers and other stats. Entries are due by May 3. The works will be judged with the winner being unveiled during Free Comic Book Day on May 5.
- Beginning April 23, all comics and graphic novels will be eligible for a Golden Ticket prize upon checkout. Select titles have been labeled winners and upon checkout the patron will be notified if they are a winner. If so, they will be able to choose a prize from a box or could win a gift card to Secret Door Games or a pair of passes to the Hall of Heroes Museum in Elkhart.
Library clerk and Free Comic Book Day organizer Ambar Alvarez said that the day is about celebrating comics and having something for the whole family to do.
“There’s excitement, it’s kind of a holiday for comic book lovers,” she said. “It’s bringing in the fun to the library, comics have something for everyone: Fun, education and art all at the same time.”
Alvarez says that comics are sometimes overlooked as an artform and a medium, but they can span a large number of genres from political to satire.
“Comics are an invisible art, with sequential storytelling and the artwork, it’s not always seen as mainstream, it’s a medium just like filmmaking or writing,” she said.
“I want that amazement to think outside the box, I think that’s the power that comics have.”
For all K-12 students, Elkhart Public Library provides a space for after-school tutoring.
Throughout the school year, National Honor Society students from area high schools will be available to help any student with their homework, no matter the subject. Tutors are not unlimited, so it is a first come, first served basis.
Each location will host a night of Homework Help each week.
Monday – 5 to 8 p.m. downtown
Tuesday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Dunlap and Pierre Moran
Thursday – 4 to 7 p.m. at Osolo and Cleveland
Students interested in coming to Homework Help should bring their assignments, as well as the materials and supplies needed to complete projects. They will get help from qualified and knowledgeable National Honor Society students, and they also get to create a bond with a good role model from the community.
“Homework Help has been an ongoing program at EPL for more than 15 years,” says Chuck Pieri, Branch Children’s Librarian, “and when it started, I think it was especially important since the schools didn’t offer a lot of after-school programming for the students.”
But things are different this time around, and Homework Help is more of a supplement to the programs offered at schools. Pieri is hopeful this program will serve students well.
“I hope that the kids get the help they need for their assignments, as well as new skills and strategies to tackle these subjects on their own in the future,” Pieri says. “I’m happy that we can collaborate with the schools and create a safe learning environment where young kids and their peers can work together.”
While students are here for Homework Help, they will also get the chance to check out more of Elkhart Public Library’s resources.
“I also hope that while they are here they take advantage of all we have to offer,” Pieri says, “like getting a free library card, checking out books, or accessing digital music, eBooks and much more.”
Homework Help runs through Memorial Day.
When author Eric Litwin comes to town in May, it will be one more chapter in the story of how the Elkhart Education Foundation has invested in the success of local students.
Since August 2015, when the foundation board hired its first employee, Elkhart teachers and supporting organizations have received more than $150,000 in grants to support discovery and technical programs, educational field trips, and more. The goal is to make Elkhart “a highly sought-after destination for young families” as students here “discover their ‘spark,’” according to the foundation’s mission.
“Elkhart Community Schools can and will be that system,” says Ashley Molyneaux, executive director of EEF since August 2015. “The ‘One City One Mission’ movement helps EEF fund extracurricular programming, innovative teaching grants, and special programs that will enhance the educational experience for all students in Elkhart Community Schools.”
The foundation supplements Elkhart Community Schools’ annual operating budget and supports projects, activities and initiatives going beyond the normal classroom experience. The group also organizes the Summerscape Day Camp and annual back-to-school pep rally.
For more information on the Elkhart Education Foundation, visit OneCityOneMission.org.