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June 28, 2017

The 25 U.S. Presidents That Have Visited Newport, RI Since 1781


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(This story was originally published on September 2, 2015.)

When Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton visited Newport for a fundraiser on August 31, 2015 and President’s Day coming soon, we got to thinking – “just how many of U.S. Presidents have visited Newport, RI?”

It’s an easier question to ask than answer as we learned as we started to go through data as many past and future U.S. Presidents have been guest in private homes for dinner, fundraisers (like Mrs. Clinton) or events without knowledge of the press or public.

For those keeping track at home, there are only 4 U.S. Presidents that have been recorded as visiting all 50 states including Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

The following is a list of U.S. Presidents who have visited Newport, RI before, during or after their term of office. Their visits have been documented by press, historians or organizations such as the Newport Historical Society.

The 25 U.S. Presidents That Have Visited Newport, RI

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1st President – President George Washington | In Office: April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797

George Washington came to Newport, Rhode Island on March 6, 1781 to meet with the Comte de Rochambeau, the acting French admiral Destouches, and all the senior French officers prior to the departure of the French fleet for the Chesapeake. Washington reportedly left Newport on the morning of March 13, 1781.

President George Washington arrived in Newport on August 17, 1790 from New York City with his secretaries and a number of government officials, including Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, New York Governor George Clinton, Supreme Court Justice John Blair, and South Carolina Congressman William Loughton Smith. This would be his fourth and final visit to Rhode Island.

According to the Newport Historical Society, George Washington visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

3rd President – Thomas Jefferson | In Office: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809

Jefferson visited Newport when he and his daughter, Martha, traveled through the state heading to Boston to sail for France.  Thomas Jefferson also visited Newport in 1790 as Secretary of State in the company of President George Washington.

According to the Newport Historical Society, Jefferson visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

5th President – James Monroe | In Office: March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825

According to the Newport Historical Society, James Monroe visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians

6th President – John Quincy Adams | In Office: March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829

According to the Newport Historical Society, John Quincy Adams visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians

7th President – Andrew Jackson | In Office: March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837

According to the Newport Historical Society, Andrew Jackson visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

8th President – Martin Van Buren | In Office: March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841

According to the Newport Historical Society, Martin Van Buren visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

10th President – John Tyler | In Office: April 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845

According to the Newport Historical Society, John Tyler visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

11th President – James Polk | In Office: March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849

According to the Newport Historical Society, James Polk visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

13th President – Millard Fillmore | In Office: July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853

Visited Newport, RI in June 1848, Summer of 1848 and several times during his presidency with his family according to “Millard Fillmore

According to the Newport Historical Society, Fillmore visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

15th President  – James Buchanan | In Office: March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861

According to the Newport Historical Society, James Buchanan visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

18th President – Ulysses S. Grant | In Office: March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877

According to Discover Newport: “1857-1911: Ida Lewis, the first female lighthouse keeper, operated the Lime Rock Light. Her many saves were legendary and she was visited by President Ulysses S. Grant and Vice-President Schuyler Colfax”

Another report from Ida Lewis Yacht Club: “Tales of Ida Lewis’s skill and courage spread so widely that both President Ulysses S. Grant (1867-1877) and Vice President Schuyler Colfax went to visit her in 1869. Colfax went out to the lighthouse to meet her, but there are two versions of Ida’s meeting with President Grant. One says that as Grant landed on Lime Rock, he stepped into water and got his feet wet. “I have come to see Ida Lewis,” he remarked, “and to see her I’d get wet up to my armpits if necessary.” The other version states that Ida rowed to shore and was conducted to the President’s carriage to meet him and his wife. Fame brought countless other visitors to the island to stare at Ida. Her wheelchair-bound father entertained himself by counting their numbers often a hundred a day; nine thousand in one summer alone.”

According to the Newport Historical Society, Grant visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

19th President – Rutherford Hayes | In Office: March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881

According to the Newport Historical Society, Hayes visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

21st President – Chester Arthur | In Office: September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885

According to the Newport Historical Society, Arthur visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

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22nd President – Grover Cleveland | In Office: March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889

According to the Newport Historical Society, Cleveland visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

23rd President –  Benjamin Harrison | In Office: March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893

President Harrison visited Newport on July 5, 1889 according to Rambles in America, Past and Present

According to the Newport Historical Society, Harrison visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

26th President – Theodore Roosevelt | In Office: September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909

According to the Newport Historical Society: President Theodore Roosevelt (Colonel Theodore Roosevelt) met with Captain Edward H. Campbell, Commandant, which took place at the Naval Training Station in Newport on October 17, 1918.

34th President – Dwight Eisenhower | In Office: January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961

President Dwight Eisenhower vacationed several times in Newport, staying here for weeks at a time during several summers. In 1957, he was here as he dealt with the crisis over school integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. The home he stayed in during two of his summers in Newport, at Fort Adams, is now called Eisenhower House.

According to the Newport Historical Society, Eisenhower visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

35th President – John Kennedy | In Office: January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963

President John F. Kennedy visited Hammersmith Farm, the Newport estate owned by his wife’s family, and Newport frequently.

According to the Newport Historical Society, Kennedy visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

37th President – Richard Nixon | In Office: January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974

Richard Nixon visited Newport on August 1st 1960 and spoke at the graduation exercises of the Naval Officer Candidate School on March 12, 1971.

According to the Newport Historical Society, Nixon visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

38th President – Gerald Ford | In Office: August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977

According to the Newport Historical Society, Ford visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

40th President – Ronald Reagan | In Office: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989

According to the Newport Historical Society, Reagan visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

41st President – George H.W. Bush | In Office: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993

According to the Newport Historical Society, Reagan George H.W. Bush visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

42nd President – Bill Clinton | In Office: January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001

Bill Clinton visited Newport, RI in December of 1998 and toured the Water Facility and spoke at Fort Adams State Park.

According to the Newport Historical Society, Clinton visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

43rd President – George W. Bush | In Office: January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009

President Bush visited the Naval War College in Newport in June 2007 for the 50th anniversary of the Naval Command Center.

According to the Newport Historical Society, George W. Bush visited Newport, Rhode Island. Details of his visit are few and far between but his visit has been documented by the press and historians.

44th President – Barack Obama | In Office: January 20, 2009 – Present

President Barack Obama visited Newport, RI in late August of 2014 for a political fundraiser.

The Following 18 U.S. Presidents Have No Recorded Visit To Newport, RI Before, During Or After Their Presidency

2nd President – John Adams | In Office: March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801

No recorded visit before, during or after his presidency.

But, Fort Adams State Park which was established on July 4, 1799 is named after the second President of the United States who authorized its construction

  • 4th President – James Madison | In Office: March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
  • 9th President – William Harrison | In Office: March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
  • 12th President – Zachary Taylor | In Office: March 4, 1849[a] – July 9, 1850
  • 14th President – Franklin Pierce | In Office: March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
  • 16th President – Abraham Lincoln | In Office: March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
  • 17th President – Andrew Johnson | In Office: April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
  • 20th President – James Garfield | In Office: March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
  • 25th President – William McKinley | In Office: March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
  • 27th President – William Taft | In Office: July 11, 1921 – February 3, 1930
  • 28th President – Woodrow Wilson | In Office: March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921
  • 29th President – Warren Harding | In Office: March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
  • 30th President – Calvin Coolidge | In Office: August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
  • 31st President – Herbert Hoover | In Office: March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
  • 32nd President – Franklin Roosevelt | In Office: March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
  • 33rd President – Harry Truman | In Office: April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
  • 36th President – Lyndon Johnson | In Office: November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
  • 39th President – Jimmy Carter | In Office: January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981

 

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