Election 1940: Roosevelt's Aides Map Tour of Pittsburgh (10-8-40)


The Pittsburgh Press (October 8, 1940)


Minimum of Ballyhoo Stressed for ‘Non-Political’ Trip

By Kermit McFarland

President Roosevelt’s sole visit to Pittsburgh prior to the election next month will be a lighting, “non-political” appearance featured by strenuous Washington efforts to hold the ballyhoo to a minimum.

Arrangements for the President’s three-hour trip through the Pittsburgh district Friday almost exclusively are in charge of the Secret Service, whose agents have been here several days.

Although Mr. Roosevelt will be here within three days, detailed plans for this visit still were being held up by the Secret Service.

Unusual precautions were being taken for the President’s safety, far more precautions than were taken four years ago when he stormed Pennsylvania in his triumphant campaign for election to a second term.

The Secret Service fixed limits on the number of persons who will be permitted to board the presidential train either at Washington or en route on the trip which will take Mr. Roosevelt to Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Dayton.

In normal campaigns, local Democratic leaders take aboard at each stop various local candidates and other party luminaries. On this trip, it was plainly indicated, this practice will be reduced to a minimum.

To Visit Factories

The personnel of the motor caravan which will take Mr. Roosevelt from his train at East Liberty through the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co. and the Mesta Machine Co. mills is under the strict supervision of the Secret Service.

Aside from newspapermen traveling with the President, no more than two cars of local party leaders will be permitted, it was understood.

Special greetings, gifts and demonstrations planned by various political and civic organizations for the President’s visit probably will be abandoned as a result of Secret Service orders.

Mr. Roosevelt’s trip in the Pittsburgh district will begin about 10:30 a.m. Friday and end at the Pennsylvania Station downtown about 1:30 p.m.

To Visit Boroughs

In the meantime, the President plans to tour the Carnegie-Illinois mill at Munhall and the Mesta plant at West Homestead, visit seven nearby boroughs and dedicate the Pittsburgh Housing Authority’s project on Ruch Hill.

On his motor tour, Mr. Roosevelt in part will cover the ground visited last week by his Republican opponent, Wendell L. Willkie, on his five-hour, 53-mile trip around Allegheny County.

Mr. Roosevelt’s only speech will be delivered atop Ruch Hill where he will dedicate the housing project and present to one prospective occupant of the new homes a key.

Drawn by Lot

This family, the Housing Authority said, it will be designated as the one hundred thousandth U.S. family to occupy a federal housing project. The identity of this farmer has not been revealed, but has been drawn by lot in Washington – where practically every other detail of the President’s trip is being arranged.

The “one hundred thousandth” family, it was disclosed, is a white family which has been living on the Hill for several years in a one-room house. The family consists of a father, mother and four children.

On Ruch Hill, Mr. Roosevelt will speak over an amplification system from his auto.

Special bleachers are being erected for 300 invited guests, which will include civic, business and labor leaders, according to the Housing Authority. Space is available for a crowd of 100,000. Authority spokesmen said.

In addition to the President, the dedication ceremonies will include addresses by Mayor Cornelius D. Scully, Councilman George E. Evans (chairman of the Housing Authority) Nathan Strauss (administrator of the U.S. Housing Authority) will accompany the President from Washington, but will make no address.

Mr. Evans will introduce the President. All speeches, except Mr. Roosevelt’s will be held to two minutes. It is planned to broadcast the housing dedication ceremony.

Roosevelt’s Route Listed

Mr. Roosevelt is expected to leave Johnstown about 9 a.m. Previously, he will inspect flood control and defense facilities in the Johnstown district.

Following is the route of Mr. Roosevelt’s heavily-guarded motor caravan as it travels through the Pittsburgh district:

Leaving the East Liberty Station, the Presidential caravan will motor east in Penn. Ave. to Braddock Ave., going along Braddock Ave. through Regent Square, Edgewood, Swissvale and Rankin.

At Rankin, the tour will cross the Monongahela River to Whitaker, thence to Munhall via 8th Ave., Dixon St. and 4th Ave. Mr. Roosevelt will spend 20 minutes at this point in the Carnegie-Illinois mill.

Mesta Visit Scheduled

Leaving the mill, the party will go via 4th Ave. to Dixon St. to 8th Ave. through Homestead and West Homestead to the Mesta mill where another 20-minute stop will be made.

Leaving the Mesta mill, the caravan will travel in 8th Ave. to Hays, then along East Carson St. to South 10th St. across the South 10th St. Bridge to the Armstrong Tunnel to Forbes St., to Miltenberger St. to 5th Ave. to Dinwiddie St. to Center Ave. to Elmore St. to Ruch Hill where he will dedicate the housing project.

After the dedication ceremonies on Ruch Hill, estimated to take 20 minutes, Mr. Roosevelt’s car will follow Elmore St. to Wylie Ave., down Wylie to 5th Ave., down 5th Ave. to Liberty Ave., and up Liberty Ave. to the Pennsylvania Station.

’Concession’ Made

The chief ‘concession’ made to the political phase of the Roosevelt trip is this last-minute parade of 5th and Liberty Aves., through the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, where Mr. Willkie last Thursday traveled to so much tumultuous acclaim.

This part of the trip is expected to occur just before 1:30 p.m., an hour later than Mr. Willkie’s trip.

No decisions so far have been reached about which local Democratic dignitaries will ride in the Roosevelt caravan. However, Mayor Scully, U.S. Senator Joseph F. Guffey, National Committeeman David L. Lawrence and the County Commissioners are likely to have prominent parts in the “non-political” visit.

John M. Carmody, Federal Works Administrator, is expected to accompany the President on the trip.