May 30-31, 2008: the Hauenstein Center patnered with the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries (MHAL) and the Michigan Senate to commemorate President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1907 visit to the state. Events took place in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan. MHAL Director William Anderson (pictured) welcomed a Lansing audience to the start of festivities.
“President Roosevelt’s visit to Lansing was a monumental page from Michigan’s political history,” said Anderson. “This is a great opportunity for students, teachers and politics and history fans to experience — nearly firsthand — the impact of Roosevelt’s 1907 stop in Michigan.”
Historian H. W. Brands kicked off the event with a talk about Theodore Roosevelt’s life and presidency at the Michigan State Library.
Keith McGough, a professional actor and TR character interpreter re-enacted the president’s visit, traveling to the capitol building in a 1907 Oldsmobile, reading out the president’s speech to the Michigan Senate, and departing to great fanfare.
“Let us set our faces like flint against predatory wealth, but also against predatory poverty,” TR told the Michigan Senate 100 years ago. “We are against the wealthy man when we ought to be against him, not because he is wealthy, but because he has misused his wealth, and we are against any man, rich or poor, if he does wrong.”
Theodore Roosevelt’s Great-Grandson Tweed Roosevelt talked about TR’s legacy and the historical importance of his Michigan visit.
Hauensteiners — Mandi Bird, Patrick Reagan, Brian Flanagan, and Gleaves Whitney — in the Senate gallary with William Anderson and Greg Dykehouse, a teacher at Holland’s Black River Academy
Theodore Roosevelt, portrayed by Keith McGough, departs the Michigan capitol building.
Returning from the capitol, the Hauenstein Center hosted Tweed Roosevelt in Loosemore Auditorium on Grand Valley’s downtown Grand Rapids campus.
In 1913, just one year after his unsuccessful bid for a third term as president, a sick and dejected Theodore Roosevet nearly died on the River of Doubt in the Amazon basin. An ill-fated scientific expedition took him to South America, where in addition to the adventure he sought TR contracted malaria and a flesh-eating bacterial infection. He barely escaped the rainforest with his life and never full recovered. He died five years later at the age of 60.
Tweed Roosevelt retraced his great-grandfather’s path down the since-renamed Roosevelt River almost 80 years later.
At Grand Valley, Mr. Roosevelt recounted his trip and reflected on the hardships his great-grandfather must have faced.
Tweed with John Wardrop, a regular attendee at Hauenstein Center events.