The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


February 17, 2014

Clinton and the Oval Office

Historical Society preserves evidence of visits by Commanders in Chief

CLINTON — Look no further than the Clinton Historical Society for evidence that the Commander in Chief was here.

The proof exists among the artifacts: Barack Obama hugs locals during the 2008 campaign; a black and white 1923 steam engine passes Clinton by rail bearing the casket of Warren G. Harding; a 1988 version of Gov. Terry Branstad smiles and waves from a car, passing a campaigning George H.W. Bush during RiverBoat Days.

But for a good story on the presidential seal, look no further than society volunteers.

Joan Turner remembers when her grandmother took her to see Harry S. Truman waving from the back of a train in the mid-1940s, just as World War II was ending. Jan Hansen was at the Clinton County Courthouse in 2000 when Vice President Al Gore, a presidential hopeful, celebrated his wife’s birthday.

To find multiple presidential connections, talk to Bob Soesbe.

“I was there when Roosevelt came through on a train,” said the 87-year-old. “That’s how they used to campaign. Dad took my brother and I down and there was a huge crowd.

“I can’t really say that I saw him, but he was there. And it was exciting to have the president come through Clinton.”

Soesbe’s presidential happenings span more than 70 years and 19 terms. The first happened when he was 10 and his dad took him to see Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was there again for H.W. and he’s in the picture with Obama.

On that day, he may have observed more than one president – the occasion was attended by anticipated 2016 candidate Hilary Clinton. Soesbe estimated nearly every presidential candidate over the last 20 years has rolled through town.

“We’ve really become a major stop for Chicago on west,” Soesbe said.

Clinton has a something of a penchant for commemorating presidential deaths. There was the Harding casket in 1923. In 1964, following the death of Iowa native Herbert Hoover, the local National Guard sent a contingent to West Branch to honor the 31st president’s burial.

Following James A. Garfield’s 1881 assassination, the community held a special memorial at the Davis Opera House. One of the Historical Society’s prized artifacts is a clipping from that event, calling Garfield a “guiding star of a whole brave nation.”

The city also has a knack for hosting candidates. There was Gore, H.W. Bush, Obama and Hilary Clinton.

But the earliest rumored visit happened back before Clinton even became a city. According to a 1994 article written by Everett Streit, a young, beardless Abraham Lincoln visited the town as a property assessor during the 1840s.

“The story is he did some surveying here in Clinton County,” Hansen said. “I don’t know what way there is to verify that, though.”

The Historical Society’s main focus is to collect what made Clinton County what it is now. If a record of a young Abe Lincoln exists, its within the thousands upon thousands of pages the society has maintained through the years, Hansen said.

“We’re basically all preservationists at heart,” she said. “If it has to do with Clinton County, we’re interested. While we have a narrow scope, we have evidence of several presidents when they’ve come.”


Text Only
  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • The Clinton Herald Jim Miller Low-cost, free cellphone options for seniors DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling SeniorDEAR SELDOM: For financially challenged seniors who only want a cell pho

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Off to market: Fulton Buy-Way yard sales are Aug. 8 and 9

    Flea market fans and bargain shoppers will once again make their way to Fulton.

    July 31, 2014

  • School supplies offered at events

    With students going back to school soon, Clinton families will have two opportunities to receive free back-to-school supplies.

    July 30, 2014

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • YWCA offers lifeguard training

    CLINTON — The YWCA will offer lifeguard training in August.The course will be held from Aug. 4 to 10 at the YWCA. This 30-hour class will meet from 5 to 9 p.m. for four weeknights and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. A possibility of adding a class from 1

    July 25, 2014

  • GPS race Teams race to complete challenges THOMSON, Ill. — A challenge in August will pit teams against each other to complete a series of challenges.The event will begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Thomson. Armed with GPS units, teams

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Habitat for Humanity hosts fundraiser

    CLINTON — Habitat for Humanity will host a fundraiser in Thomson, Illinois.The Clinton County group will showcase Laid Back Luau from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Heirloom Cafe in Thomson. The event will feature games, prizes, music train rides for

    July 25, 2014

  • Fire departments undergo grain bin rescue training OMAHA — The Goose Lake and Lost Nation Volunteer Fire Departments each have received lifesaving grain bin rescue equipment through a donation from Farm Credit Services of America.Goose Lake received its equipment July 14 and Lost Nation on July 15. E

    July 24, 2014

  • ADM donates $75K for fire boat purchase CLINTON — Archer Daniels Midland Company has donated $75,000 to the city of Clinton for a new fire and rescue boat for the Clinton Fire Department.The boat will help the fire department respond to fires, administer emergency medical services and resp

    July 24, 2014

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos

Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.


Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.