Taft and Graft in 1912
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

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SeacoastNH.com Presents  
Historic Portsmouth #430

Speaking of POTUS in Portsmouth, here is a photograph I had not seen until recently. It shows President William Howard Taft seated in a convertible flanked by police. Taft arrived here on October 23, 1912 as part of his re-election campaign. (Continued below)

 

READ MORE: Half US Presidents visited Portsmouth

The campaign failed, in part, due to the creation of Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive “Bull Moose” party. Woodrow Wilson ended up winning the presidency. Taft visited the former Elks Home on Pleasant and Court streets where he signed the register. Another image shows Taft at the Rockingham Hotel.  Taft’s arrival came just as the city was trying to clean out the Red Light district on Water Street, now Marcy Street. Four marines had been found dead in the South End that summer. With work slack at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, officials pushed to get rid of corrupt Portsmouth’s Marshal Thomas Entwistle who had allowed the city’s sex trade to flourish. On September 21 the Portsmouth Herald announced that Entwistle had resigned, but the newspaper had to retract the report when the police official refused to go. With the incoming mayor vowing to close the brothels and with President Taft due to visit the city, Entwistle was finally forced out of his job.  (Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum)

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BONUS CLOSE-UPS

President Taft in Portsmouth, NH area / Portsmouth Athenaeum photo

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(c) SeacoastNH.com text and Portsmouth Athenaeum photo