President Kennedy’s Visit to Dedicate Interstate Highway Wasn’t His First Trip to Cecil

Courtesy of Duke University

Courtesy of Duke University

As the Historical Society of Cecil County prepares to examine the 1960s in a new exhibit and series of programs, we are taking a look at some of the important local events, especially those that weren’t as well documented.

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When President John F. Kennedy visited here on November 14, 1963, to dedicate the Northeastern Expressway (I-95), he was traveling over familiar territory.

A few years earlier, Senator Kennedy made three stops in Cecil County during an intensive multi-day handshaking and speechmaking tour of Maryland.  Working to nail down the Democratic presidential nomination on that swing, the candidate spent Friday night in Havre de Grace with Senator Millard F. Tydings.

At an early hour on Saturday morning, May 14, 1960, officials from the “Kennedy for President Campaign” in Cecil County, chaired by Leonard Lockhart, met the candidate at Perryville, preparing to escort him to Elkton.  But first he greeted an early morning crowd of over 100 people at the Whistle Stop in Perryville.

A 15-car motorcade led by state troopers whisked the senator to Elkton for a 9 a.m. rally.  There a band played and flags flapped in the breeze as the political rally got underway in the courthouse parking lot, where a crowd of over 250 supporters welcomed the candidate.

Before leaving Cecil he went to the Elkton Senior High School to speak on “Youth and Their Needs.”  The Senator left town at 10:30 that Saturday morning en route by automobile to Centreville, Easton, Cambridge and Salisbury.   When he returned as president in 1963 to dedicate the Interstate a crowd of over 5,000 were on hand at the Mason Dixon Line.

The Dorothy Robinson Collection of Kodachrome color slides at the Historical Society contain hundreds of local images from the 1950s and 1960s.  Mrs. Robinson’s photographs document the Senator’s visit to Elkton.

Waiting for the arrival of Senator John F. Kennedy on his presidential campaign tour through Cecil County

Waiting for the arrival of Senator John F. Kennedy on his presidential campaign tour through Cecil County. Visit the Society to check out additional photographs of this visit.

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One response to “President Kennedy’s Visit to Dedicate Interstate Highway Wasn’t His First Trip to Cecil

  1. I was at the youth conference in 1960 as a 15 year old interested in gifted children in particular. I only got to see the top of his head as he walked to the auditorium as the press and non conference folks crowded all access to the auditorium.

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