Staunton’s Son Comes Home

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Woodrow and Ellen Wilson arrive at the Staunton, Virginia train depot. Courtesy of WWPL

Once Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912, numerous cities and towns in the United States wanted to meet him. Having received countless offers, he found that there was one town he had to make the journey to: his birthplace of Staunton, VA.  As a result of the decision, the town anticipated and celebrated his arrival. The town became fully decorated and a number of events were planned for Wilson and his guests. In our library, we have a copy of the official program of events that were created by the Authority Central Committee.

WW program 2

There were two events that began the on the night of Friday, December 27.  At 7:50 pm, the President-elect and party arrived followed by a torchlight procession through the town. Shortly after at 8:45 pm the town band appeared for a serenade and there was a public speaking event by distinguished speaks at the Virginia Hotel.

WW program 1

On Saturday, December 28, also the president’s birthday there were five main events. The day began at 10:00 am with a reception at the Manse of the First Presbyterian Church to the State, County and City Officials that included official guests of the city and members of the Wilson Celebration committee. At 12:00 noon, there was a review of the parade at Main Street Public School Building. Followed by this at 2:30 pm was an address of welcome by Doctor Fraser and a response by Wilson at Mary Baldwin Seminary. Shortly after at 3:00 pm was a public reception at Mary Baldwin Seminary.   At 4:00 pm, a reception to Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Mann by Ladies of the City and County was held at Stuart Hall.

While this was the official program of events, it was indicated that various other events would take place later as well. However, just from the events on this program it is clear how honored, and how special, this event was for the town of Staunton. Despite it being over 100 years since the event, it is still a moment in time the town holds in high regard.

Written by WWPL intern Hayley Moore

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