On October 14, 1963 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned in Bloomington. FDR’s whistle stop tour pulled into Union Depot on the city’s west side (see photo on the right) at 2:35 p.m. An estimated 20,000 area residents crowded the Chicago & Alton Railroad tracks to hear the Democratic incumbent speak for seven minutes. The photo on the left shows Roosevelt from the train’s rear observation platform. That’s Illinois Secretary of State Edward J. Hughes in the middle and U.S. Senator J. Hamilton Lewis of Illinois on the right.
With the nation still mired in the Great Depression, Roosevelt would go on to defeat Republican challenger Alf Landon in one of the more lopsided presidential races in U.S. history.