George and Barbara bush wave at their supporters in West Carrollton in August, 1988.

George H.W. Bush in Dayton region, southwest Ohio: Highlights from his visits

George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died Friday at the age of 94, made numerous visits to the Miami Valley while serving the country as Vice President and President. 

Here are highlights from some of his many visits.

» IN PHOTOS: George H.W. Bush and his appearances in southwest Ohio

Days after Bush accepted the Republican presidential nomination, he headed to the Miami Valley. Bush and running mate Sen. Dan Quayle and their wives Barbara Bush and Marilyn Quayle attended a rally Aug. 20, 1988 in West Carrollton.

The visit coincided with the West Carrolton Paper Festival. The owner of the Pirates Whip on Central Avenue offered a special deal on “Bush Burgers.” Two Bush burgers, fries and a soft drink could be had for $1.75. 

Bush, Quayle, their families and entourage stayed at Dayton’s Stouffer Center Plaza Hotel. They occupied more than 100 of the 297 rooms. 

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George Bush waits for a table at The Pine Club while campaigning in Dayton in 1988. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

Bush and his wife, along with another couple, ate dinner at the Pine Club that evening. The manager insisted they not receive special treatment, so the Secret Service was sent in to wait for a table. Bush took the bill, which came to $93, and gave the waitress a “generous 15 percent tip.”

Vice President George H.W. Bush speaking at the Central State University commencement on June 11, 1988.

June 12, 1988 - Central State University 

Bush received an honorary degree from Central State University. It came on June 12, 1988, during commencement exercises. The event coincided with his 64th birthday. 

Before the event Bush took a tour of the National Afro-American Museum with Dayton artist Willis “Bing” Davis. The artist was then head of the CSU art department and presented the Vice President with paintings.

» WHEN ELSE HAVE PRESIDENTS VISITED DAYTONIt dates back to 1840, when Presidential candidate William Henry Harrison held a downtown rally attended by 100,000

In October 1988, Bush came to Troy. He stopped at the Hobart Arena and met a crowd estimated at 8,000 with another 20,000 spectators lining the motor route to the city. He used the event to pledge a complete and total ban on chemical weapons. 

The arena was the home of the Miami Valley Sabres, a semi-professional hockey team. “Politics is not unlike hockey,” he told the crowd. “It is grueling, rough and tough.” 

President George H.W. Bush and Ohio Governor George Voinovich at the Community Picnic in Brookville, July, 1992.

In 1992, President Bush attended the 42nd annual Brookville Community Picnic July 24, 1992. The president “downed a roast-pork sandwich, shook hundreds of hands and tossed two perfect ringers in a game of horseshoes on July 24, 1992. 

» IN PHOTOS: What kinds of crowds have presidents drawn on visits to Dayton?

The reigning ‘Little Miss Brookville’ was chosen to welcome the president to Brookville. The Secret Service had 9-year-old Nikki Rowe waiting in place for hours near a baseball diamond where Bush was scheduled to participate in a softball game. An overnight rain made the field unplayable, and Bush never made it to the girl. She took the missed opportunity in stride. “I forgive him because he’s the president,” she said.

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