Looking back at JFK’s visits to the Miami Valley

John F. Kennedy, the nation’s 35th President of the United States, was no stranger to the Miami Valley.

John F. Kennedy made a second tirp to Dayton as the Democratic nominee during the 1960 fall campaign. The year before he spoke to the Dayton Bar Association at the Biltmore Hotel. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: Dayton Daily News Archive

Kennedy spoke at the Dayton Bar Association at the Biltmore Hotel on Sept. 17, 1959. Kennedy, who was running for the Democratic Party nomination, did not realize the event was a black tie affair. 

Price Stores sent over a tailor who took the Senator’s measurements and dressed him for the evening. Several days later, an employee at the store found an envelope with money in a pocket of the tuxedo. 

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Sen. John F. Kennedy spoke to a crowd estimated at more than 7,500 on Oct. 17, 1960, at Wittenberg Stadium. Behind him, from left, are County Commissioner Jack Hamilton, E.G. Patmos, then president of Springfield’s City Commission Wittenberg University President Clarence Stoughton and Ohio Gov. Michael V. DiSalle. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: submitted photo

Charles Fidler at Price Stores wrote a letter to Kennedy and returned the $105. Kennedy wrote back thanking the men for their honesty and included $25 as reward. A copy of Kennedy’s letter is hanging in Price Stores today. 


In 1960, Sen. Kennedy was greeted by 2,000 people at Cox Municipal Airport just after midnight on Oct. 17. He would speak at a downtown rally later that day. Banners at the airport read, “Kennedy Is The Remedy” and “Girls, Girls for Jack. Wow!” 

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A crowd gathers around the Old Courthouse in downtown Dayton to hear John F. Kennedy speak Oct. 18, 1960. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Kennedy later made a stop at Wittenberg University in Springfield where he spoke to a crowd of more than 7,000. He addressed college students' responsibilities to help their nation as well as themselves, according to Dayton Daily News archives, part of a campaign theme that would result in the creation of the Peace Corps.

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