Election 1940: Pittsburgh Awaits Roosevelt Visit (10-10-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 10, 1940)


President to View Defense Factories and Dedicate Housing Project

By Kermit McFarland

President Roosevelt tomorrow will pay Pittsburgh his third visit since he first was nominated for President in 1932.

Mr. Roosevelt is coming here on a hurried trip during which he will view a flood control project at Johnstown, defense preparations at Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Dayton, Ohio, and dedicate the new Pittsburgh housing project.

Most of this the President plans to do in a single day.

Mr. Roosevelt’s Pittsburgh speech will be broadcast at 1 p.m. tomorrow over Station KDKA, Saturday at 9 p.m. his Dayton, Ohio, address will be heard locally over Stations KDKA, WCAE and WJAS. The latter station will carry a third speech by the President Sunday night from 10:30 to 11.

He will scan the $8 million flood walls along the Conemaugh River while his special train travels between Johnstown and Seward early tomorrow.

Immediately on his arrival at the East Liberty station here – scheduled for 11:30 a.m., but likely to be nearer noon – Mr. Roosevelt will motor to the armor plate mill of the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co. in Munhall.

Dedicates Housing

He then will motor through the Mesta Machine Co. plant at West Homestead.

By 1 p.m. or possibly 1:30 p.m., the Presidential party expects to be on Ruch Hill, in the Hill District, where Mr. Roosevelt in a 15-minute speech will dedicate the $12,800,000 Terrace Village housing project now nearing completion.

By way of dedication, the President will present the one hundred thousandth family to be provided with federal-aid housing a key to the family’s new home.

Will Speak Saturday

Mr. Roosevelt’s special 12-car train is scheduled to leave the Downtown Pennsylvania Station immediately after the President returns from Ruch Hill via 5th Ave. and Liberty Ave.

He will go directly to Youngstown for an inspection of steel mills there and thence ton Dayton, where the U.S. Army air base, now basing expanded, is located. Mr. Roosevelt will deliver a nationwide address from Dayton Saturday.

For the first time, major broadcasting companies will “beam” the President’s Dayton address in English directly to all of the American republics.

Ordinarily a translated version of the President’s words is broadcast after he has talked in English to his home audience. This procedure also will be followed Saturday night, following direct transmission of the address.

Mr. Roosevelt today added a stop at Newton Falls, Ohio, where he will view from the train the proposed site for a huge new power plant.

In making his hurry-up trip through Pittsburgh, Mr. Roosevelt will travel about 25 miles motoring through Point Breeze to the edge of Wilkinsburg, then through Swissvale, Edgewood and Rankin, across the Monongahela River to Whitaker and thence to the Munhall plant of the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co.

Few Dedication Guests

From the Mesta plant in West Homestead his motor caravan will follow East Carson St. to the South 10th St. Bridge, and cross to the Hill District via the Armstrong Tunnel, Forbes St., Miltenberger St., 5th Ave., Dinwiddie St., Center Ave. and Elmore St.

Officials of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority said there is space for a crowd of 100,000 on a flat playground area facing a high embankment from which Mr. Roosevelt will dedicate the Terrace Village project. No persons, except a few officials and invited guests, will be permitted atop this embankment. Streets leading to the embankment will be barricaded.

The space at the foot of this embankment is fed by Kirkpatrick St., Reed St., Breckenridge St., Wadsworth St. and Soho St.

Housing Authority officials said the best parking space for autos will be available in the vicinity of Pitt Stadium.

Mr. Roosevelt’s special train, after an overnight trip from Washington via Harrisburg and Altoona, is scheduled into Johnstown around 9 a.m. tomorrow.

At the Johnstown station the train will be boarded by U.S. Senator Joseph F. Guffey, National Committeeman David L. Lawrence, Democratic State Chairman Meredith Meyers and Philadelphia City Treasurer Luther A. Harr, Guffey campaign manager.

Mr. Guffey and Mr. Lawrence will go to Johnstown from Greensburg, where they will appear at a Democratic rally to be addressed tonight by Federal Security Administrator Paul V. McNutt.

Inspects From Train

Mayor John A. Conway of Johnstown, Lieut. Col. L. D. Worsham (U.S. Army district engineer) and A. L. Hertz (supervising engineer of the Conemaugh River flood wall project), also will board the train at Johnstown.

They will ride with the President as his train, operating under a “slow order,” travels up the Conemaugh Valley. Mr. Roosevelt will inspect the flood wall project from his observation car as the train move slowly toward Seward.

At Seward, the Johnstown officials will leave the train which then will make a non-stop run to East Liberty.

Mr. Roosevelt will spend about 20 minutes each in the Carnegie-Illinois and the Mesta plants.

At the Carnegie-Illinois plant, a “heat” is being prepared so the President may view armor plate being “pressed.”

It is estimated that the armor plate mill has a backlog of defense orders sufficient to keep the plant running at capacity for the next five years.

The Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co. mills in the Pittsburgh district are said to have defense orders aggregating at least $10 million.

Carnegie-Illinois is the second largest armor plate manufacturer in the U.S. (Bethlehem Steel Corp., whose Johnstown plant Mr. Roosevelt will pass tomorrow morning, is the biggest) and the Homestead Works is the hub of the U.S. Steel subsidiary’s armor plant production.

Plant Is Expanding

Mesta Machine has orders for gun and shell forgings estimated at nearly $9 million. The company has installed a 6,000-ton forging press, capable of producing six-inch shell forgings, and still is expanding its plant for defense business.

Unusual precautions are being taken by the U.S. Secret Service and local police in behalf of the President’s safety.

Col. Edmund W. Starling, veteran chief of the Secret Service’s White House detail, and his assistant, Michael Reilly, already have been in Pittsburgh and Johnstown preparing Mr. Roosevelt’s route and conferring with local police.

The Secret Service yesterday made a thorough inspection of the ground and buildings near the point where Mr. Roosevelt will speak in Terrace Village.

They also have driven chauffeurs for the Presidential convoy over the route of Mr. Roosevelt’s trip several times.

All available City police – between 500 and 600 men – have been ordered on duty during the President’s visit. Police courts will be held at 8 a.m. so that the officers will not be tied up in court. All City detectives also have been assigned to duty in the crowd and along the President’s route, as well as 28 deputy sheriffs. In addition, about 150 firemen have volunteered for duty.

Streets Roped Off

Police plan to rope off streets where large crowds are expected to prevent the people from charging the President’s car. This will apply in particular ton Wylie Ave., 5th Ave. and Liberty Ave. downtown.

Leaving Pittsburgh, Mr. Roosevelt will eat lunch on his train, probably shortly after 2 p.m.

Stephen Early, White House Secretary, said the President definitely will make no rear platform appearances at any point on his trip, which will take him back to Washington Sunday morning.

Thus, Mr. Roosevelt’s third visit to Pittsburgh will be quiet unlike his previous appearances.

In 1936, when he was a candidate for a second term, he arrived in the City at 8 p.m. and paraded from the B&O Station to Forbes Field, where he delivered a major campaign address to a howling, cheering crowd of 60,000 which jam-packed both the playing field and the stands.

Before he spoke, he was presented with a medal by the United Mine Workers. On the platform with him sat former Gov. George H. Earle, Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Guffey and other Democratic luminaries.

On this trip an unqualified ban has been placed on all gifts and except for his two mill stops and the housing speech, Mr. Roosevelt’s auto will be kept moving.

Eight years ago, Mr. Roosevelt, then Governor of New York and the Democratic “challenger” for the Presidency, also spoke at Forbes Field, attracting a crowd of 35,000 on that occasion.

Cheered By Crowds

His first campaign trip into the district brought him into the city at 9 a.m. He then went on a 150-mile motor trip to Wheeling, W. Va., where he delivered an afternoon speech.

En route to Wheeling, he was greeted all along the way by cheering crowds at Crafton, Carnegie, Heidelberg, Bridgeville, Canonsburg and Washington. Returning, he was seen by more thousands who lined the streets and roadways through Wellsburg, Steubenville, Coraopolis and McKees Rocks.

He remained in Pittsburgh that time from 5:15 until 11:30, stopping at the Pittsburgher Hotel for dinner before going to Forbes Field.

UPDATE: The reports of the visit Oct. 11 —
Election 1940: Thousands Hail Roosevelt On Pittsburgh Defense (10-11-40)