The Coolidges in Florida, January-February 1930

Having visited Florida near the end of his term to dedicate Bok Tower in Lake Wales, February 1, 1929, Calvin, and his wife Grace, came back to visit the state from January 8-February 13, 1930.

They visited a number of places during their brief time here before heading West, reaching California by February 19th. In this picture, snapped on the 24th of January, Mr.  Coolidge is touring the Orange Festival in Winter Haven while Mrs. Coolidge is not present, having remained in Mount Dora to plant a cypress for the local Garden Club that day. The Citrus Queen, Ruth Snyder, is presenting former President Coolidge with grapefruit while Mrs. Trumbull, wife of the Connecticut Governor and mother-in-law of Cal’s son John, samples an orange. Lakeside Inn manager, Archie Hurlburt, stands between them and at the far right of the photo, then-Major James Van Fleet, former head coach of the Gators and ROTC director for the University of Florida, Gainesville, watches the informal ceremony.

The same day, January 24th, Mrs. Coolidge remained behind in Mount Dora (where they stayed at Lakeside Inn for a month) to plant this cypress for local Garden Club, dedicating the Community Center.

The same day, January 24th, Mrs. Coolidge remained behind in Mount Dora (where the Coolidges stayed at Lakeside Inn for a month) to plant this cypress for the local Garden Club, dedicating the Community Center.

While the inscription is blurred, it was assumed that Calvin, not Grace, would dedicate the Community Building. As it turned out, he was out of town at the Orange Festival, while she planted the tree. Unfortunately, it did not last long being a variety of cypress that did not adapt well to the Florida climate.

While the inscription is blurred, it reads “Dedication…By Calvin Coolidge.” This is not actually the case. It was assumed that Calvin, not Grace, would dedicate the Community Building. As it turned out, he was out of town at the Orange Festival in Winter Haven, while she planted the tree. Unfortunately, the tree did not last long, being a variety of cypress that did not adapt well to Florida climes.

This note corrects the inscription on the handle but beware when taking the tour at the Mount Dora Historical Society Museum: They characterize Cal as too mean and rude to participate in the ceremony. They omit that he was not even there...but spent the afternoon in Winter Haven that day.

This note corrects the inscription on the handle but beware when taking the tour at the Mount Dora Historical Society Museum: They characterize Cal as too mean and rude to participate in the ceremony. They neglect to mention that he was not even there…but spent the afternoon in Winter Haven that day, as pictured above.

The Coolidges in Florida, January-February 1930

One thought on “The Coolidges in Florida, January-February 1930

  1. Reblogged this on The Importance of the Obvious and commented:

    Note the corrections to the record of this day’s events. Unfortunately, the State Archives get the caption wrong as well, attributing this visit to Florida being the same one in which then-President Coolidge dedicated Bok Tower. Florida Memory mistakenly identifies the woman to Coolidge’s right as Grace. This is actually Mrs. Trumbull. Jim Cooke rightly notes that the photo has been flipped.

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