Eisenhower’s Visit And Enduring Friendship

In the comments to last week’s post about President Eisenhower’s 1960 visit to Rice, someone asked about the route that his motorcade took. I was able to turn up a Houston Post piece that describes it and I was frankly astounded at the description of the reception that he received from Houstonians:

Ike route and crowd

 

As I looked through the files about this visit I ran across something else wonderful. We have a couple copies of the 24-page protocol memo that I mentioned in the first post and one of them, I noticed, is annotated. I instantly recognized the handwriting–it belonged to Alan Chapman (whose handwriting, oddly enough, was also discussed last week in the comments to this post). I instantly realized that his comments were jokes, in the time-honored academic tradition of mocking the administration:

Ike AJC commentary

There was a note attached to the memo, instructing the recipient–Chapman’s close friend and colleague in the Mechanical Engineering Department, Franz Brotzen, who was overseas in 1960 on a Guggenheim Fellowship–to destroy it along with the snarky commentary. Obviously he did not do that and the reason he didn’t was that he was a pack rat. (So was Chapman, by the way.) They wrote each other regularly that year and I found both halves of this correspondence buried deep in file cabinets when I cleaned out their offices after their deaths.

daddy_and_alan(2)

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Eisenhower’s Visit And Enduring Friendship

  1. Brad Bucher says:

    Melissa,

    An interesting side note to Ike’s motorcade. A friend an fellow Rice alum, Hans Wendenburg, and I were seniors at Bellaire high school in 1960. Our civics teacher asked us to invite a judge to come talk to our class. That afternoon I drove downtown to ask judge Brown (if my memory is correct) and parked in the lot reserved for judges at the courthouse building. This was about 4pm. After the short visit I exited onto Main street heading towards Bellaire. We were the only car on Main street!!! People were lined on both sides of the street. How we got onto Main without being stopped I have no idea. We drove down the entire way to the Shamrock waving to the throngs like only 2 crazy high school students would do. I can attest that the number of people was amazing.

    Brad Bucher > WordPress.com > Melissa Kean posted: “In the comments to last week’s post about > President Eisenhower’s 1960 visit to Rice, someone asked about the > route that his motorcade took. I was able to turn up a Houston Post > piece that describes it and I was frankly astounded at the description > of the ” >

  2. Karl Benson says:

    As one who came of age in the Eisenhower years, I am astounded that you are astounded at the reception Ike received in Houston. World War II was only 15 years distant. This man won the war in Europe. He was a hero. The country’s respect and admiration for Ike ran wide and deep. Where do we find such men today?

    • Bill Allison says:

      I think that what was astounding was the population of Houston was only a little over 900,000, so one third of the City came out!

    • almadenmike says:

      Also, there wasn’t much, if any, live television coverage of such events. If you wanted to see it, you had to attend in person. And our lives weren’t so focused and self-optimized as they seem to be today; we felt we could take the time to join in and participate in the festivities.

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