Coolidge Travels

Coolidge Travels


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Calvin Coolidge

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Calvin Coolidge, in full John Calvin Coolidge, (born July 4, 1872, Plymouth, Vermont, U.S.—died January 5, 1933, Northampton, Massachusetts), 30th president of the United States (1923–29). Coolidge acceded to the presidency after the death in office of Warren G. Harding, just as the Harding scandals were coming to light. He restored integrity to the executive branch of the federal government while continuing the conservative pro-business policies of his predecessor.

Why is Calvin Coolidge important?

Calvin Coolidge was the 30th president of the United States (1923–29). He acceded to the presidency after the death in office of Warren G. Harding, just as the Harding scandals were coming to light. He restored integrity to the executive branch of the federal government while continuing the conservative pro-business policies of his predecessor.

What was Calvin Coolidge’s family like?

Calvin Coolidge was the only son of John Calvin and Victoria Moor Coolidge. His father was a storekeeper, and his mother cultivated in him a love of nature and books. In 1905 he married Grace Anna Goodhue, a teacher at the Clarke Institute for the Deaf, with whom he had two sons.

What was Calvin Coolidge’s occupation?

Calvin Coolidge worked as a lawyer in Northampton, Massachusetts. A Republican, he entered politics as a city councilman in Northampton in 1898 and served in the Massachusetts state government before being elected governor in 1918. He was U.S. vice president under Warren G. Harding and assumed the presidency upon Harding’s death.

How did Calvin Coolidge become famous?

Calvin Coolidge captured national attention in 1919 during a strike by the Boston police. He refused to reinstate police officers who had been fired for striking, saying: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” This led to Coolidge becoming Harding’s vice presidential running mate in 1920.

What was Calvin Coolidge’s legacy?

Calvin Coolidge inherited an administration mired in scandal. A model of personal rectitude, he rooted out the perpetrators and restored American trust in the executive branch. However, the essence of his presidency was its noninterference in and bolstering of American business and industry. These policies did nothing to avert the Great Depression, which followed.


Technical Sergeant Charles Coolidge, US Army: Medal of Honor Series

One of two remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipients, Charles Coolidge, passed away on April 6, 2021 at the age of 99. He was awarded the Medal for his actions in France in 1944.

Top Image: Charles Coolidge courtesy of Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Charles Henry Coolidge was born in 1921, in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, a small town near Chattanooga. His family ran a printing company where Coolidge worked as a teenager and after finishing high school. Despite the Great Depression, his father worked hard to keep the business open and his employees paid, teaching Coolidge about loyalty and duty, lessons which served him well in the army. Graduating from high school in 1939, Coolidge opted out of going to college that fall. When asked why he had not, Coolidge replied that he figured war was coming and “it didn’t take a whole lot of education to go and shoot people.”

Drafted in the summer of 1942, Coolidge underwent training in Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina, where he was trained on a water-cooled .30 caliber machine gun and an 81 mm mortar. He was assigned to Company M, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division. In the spring of 1943, the 36th Division shipped out for the European theater, arriving in North Africa, where the division prepared for the invasion of Italy. During training in North Africa, Coolidge’s time in the mountains of Tennessee served him well. Responsible for carrying a heavy machine gun tripod, Coolidge often opted to not carry water due to the additional weight, relying instead on his knowledge of terrain to find drinkable water.

The 36th Infantry Division landed in Italy in September 1943, participating in the Battle of Salerno. Into the next year, Coolidge participated in some of the fiercest fights in Italy, including Anzio, San Pietro, the Rapido River, Monte Cassino, and the eventual capture of Rome. He had many close calls along the way and lost many good friends. During one retreat his helmet got knocked off. Never one to have enjoyed wearing it to begin with, Coolidge decided to forego a helmet, wearing a jeep cap instead, and pointing to the British as an example of shirking such gear.

By summer 1944, Coolidge was a seasoned combat veteran. He had been awarded the Silver Star for his actions at Anzio in May of that year. At one point his company, normally 130 strong, was whittled down to 27 men. There had been many close calls and lessons learned when, in August 1944, Coolidge participated in the landings in Southern France, code named Operation Dragoon. After suffering heavy casualties in Italy, most of the troops in Coolidge’s company were green replacements, fresh from boot camp. Resistance was weak in the early days of the drive north into France, and Coolidge recalled in his oral history covering 500 miles in the first month. As summer turned into fall, and the drive northward into France began to turn east into Germany, resistance became stronger.

In late October 1944, the 141st was in Belmont-sur-Buttant, France, in the Vosges Mountains less than 100 miles from the German border. By this time, Coolidge was a squad leader in charge of 12 men. Attached to Company K, Coolidge and his squad along with a platoon from Company K made contact with what they believed to be an enemy company in the woods near Belmont. Being the most senior man present, Coolidge took command of what became a three-day standoff between the small group of Americans and the German infantry company. Unfazed by German small arms, machine-gun, and eventually tank fire, Coolidge provided calm and courageous leadership to the green men under his command. Risking his own life numerous times, Coolidge’s heroics and leadership during the three-day engagement resulted in a Medal of Honor. When asked how he survived the ordeal, Coolidge responded, “I didn’t care about me, I cared about my men. I’d do anything for them.” Coolidge survived the war, and, miraculously, was never wounded—a feat which he credited to his faith.

Coolidge shakes hands with Lieutenant General Wade Haislip after being presented with the Medal of Honor on June 18, 1945. Image from the National Archives and Records Administration.

After his return home, Coolidge (seated in the center on the back of the jeep) participated in an Armed Forces Day parade in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Coolidge, along with fellow Tennessean Medal of Honor recipients Paul Huff (left) and Raymond Cooley (right) were driving in a jeep by WWI Medal of Honor recipient Alvin York. Courtesy of the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

To hear Coolidge recount the story of his Medal of Honor action, listen to his oral history in the Museum’s Digital Collection. After the war, Coolidge returned home to Signal Mountain, Tennessee, where he eventually took over the family’s printing business, Chattanooga Printing & Engraving. He married Frances Seepe and the couple had three sons. Coolidge retired from the family business at 95, and at his death on April 6, 2021, at age 99, he was one of only two WWII Medal of Honor recipients still living.


20th-Century Country Elegance

Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens is a signature example of an estate designed in “The Country Place” style. From about 1890 to 1930, wealthy Americans showcased their travels and taste by drawing inspiration from European garden design in order to transform their rural land holdings into summer retreats. The Stevens Family, one of the founding families of North Andover, acquired Ashdale Farm in 1729 and farmed the land for generations. Helen Stevens inherited the property, and after her marriage to John Gardner Coolidge the property became their summer home. Around 1914, she and John began the decades-long transformation of the farm into an elegant agricultural estate.

John Gardner Coolidge was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, a nephew of Isabella Stewart Gardner, and a member of the wealthy Boston elite. John served as a diplomat in Pretoria, Mexico, Nicaragua Europe and Asia. He and Helen filled their country house with art and furniture from their trips around the world. The house itself was re-designed in 1918 when the Coolidges hired preservation architect Joseph Everett Chandler to remodel the Italianate style home (originally two connected farmhouses) into the Colonial Revival style that stands today.

Helen and Chandler added the walled rose garden, greenhouse, serpentine brick wall and potager garden (or French vegetable garden) that exist today. Typical of The Country Place Era, the fields, orchard, and woodlands remained part of the working estate and served as a pastoral backdrop to the formal gardens.

In 1962 Helen Stevens Coolidge died. Wanting the property to be enjoyed by the public, she bequeathed Ashdale Farm to The Trustees of Reservations. It was renamed the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in to honor Helen and her husband. Additional land was acquired in later decades, and restoration efforts by The Trustees have been ongoing. For more information, visit the History tab on this webpage.

Visitors today can enjoy this peaceful outdoor “hidden gem” year-round. They can also tour the Main House where Chinese porcelain and other Asian artifacts mingle with American furniture and American and European decorative arts. The entry hall mural was painted by Spanish artist Joseph Remidas. A dramatic split staircase, delft-tiled dining-room fireplace and tavern ballroom are also on display.

Please note: The Main House is currently not open to the public.


Vice Presidency and Presidency

After 10 ballots, Republican delegates settled on Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio as their presidential nominee in 1920, and Coolidge was nominated as vice president. Harding and Coolidge beat opponents James M. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide, taking every state outside of the South.

Coolidge was the first vice president to attend cabinet meetings, in addition to giving speeches and performing other official duties. The Coolidges attended Washington parties, where guests remarked on the terse and quiet demeanor of "Silent Cal.”

On August 2, 1923, President Harding died while traveling in California. Coolidge was in Vermont visiting his family home, which had neither electricity nor a telephone, when a messenger brought word of Harding’s death. He was sworn in by his father, who was a notary public.

Coolidge addressed Congress in December, giving the first presidential speech to be broadcast to the nation over the radio. His agenda mirrored Harding’s to a large extent. Coolidge signed the Immigration Act later that year, restricting immigration from southern and eastern European countries.

President Coolidge was nominated for the presidency in 1924. Shortly after the convention, however, he experienced a personal tragedy. Coolidge&aposs younger son, Calvin Jr., developed an infected blister and, several days later, died of sepsis. Coolidge became depressed. In spite of his subdued campaigning, he won a popular vote majority of 2.5 million over his two opponents&apos combined total.


Contents

John Calvin Coolidge Jr. was born on July 4, 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, the only U.S. president to be born on Independence Day. He was the elder of the two children of John Calvin Coolidge Sr. (1845–1926) and Victoria Josephine Moor (1846–1885). Although named for his father, John, from early childhood Coolidge was addressed by his middle name, Calvin. His middle name was selected in honor of John Calvin, considered a founder of the Congregational church in which Coolidge was raised and remained active throughout his life. [7]

Coolidge Senior engaged in many occupations and developed a statewide reputation as a prosperous farmer, storekeeper, and public servant. He held various local offices, including justice of the peace and tax collector and served in the Vermont House of Representatives as well as the Vermont Senate. [8] Coolidge's mother was the daughter of Hiram Dunlap Moor, a Plymouth Notch farmer and Abigail Franklin. [9] She was chronically ill and died at the age of 39, perhaps from tuberculosis, when Coolidge was twelve years old. His younger sister, Abigail Grace Coolidge (1875–1890), died at the age of 15, probably of appendicitis, when Coolidge was 18. Coolidge's father married a Plymouth schoolteacher in 1891, and lived to the age of 80. [10]

Coolidge's family had deep roots in New England his earliest American ancestor, John Coolidge, emigrated from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, England, around 1630 and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts. [11] Coolidge's great-great-grandfather, also named John Coolidge, was an American military officer in the Revolutionary War and one of the first selectmen of the town of Plymouth. [12] His grandfather Calvin Galusha Coolidge served in the Vermont House of Representatives. [13] Coolidge was also a descendant of Samuel Appleton, who settled in Ipswich and led the Massachusetts Bay Colony during King Philip's War. [14]

Coolidge as an Amherst College undergraduate

Education and law practice

Coolidge attended Black River Academy and then St. Johnsbury Academy, before enrolling at Amherst College, where he distinguished himself in the debating class. As a senior, he joined the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta and graduated cum laude. While at Amherst, Coolidge was profoundly influenced by philosophy professor Charles Edward Garman, a Congregational mystic, with a neo-Hegelian philosophy.

Coolidge explained Garman's ethics forty years later:

[T]here is a standard of righteousness that might does not make right, that the end does not justify the means, and that expediency as a working principle is bound to fail. The only hope of perfecting human relationships is in accordance with the law of service under which men are not so solicitous about what they shall get as they are about what they shall give. Yet people are entitled to the rewards of their industry. What they earn is theirs, no matter how small or how great. But the possession of property carries the obligation to use it in a larger service. [15]

At his father's urging after graduation, Coolidge moved to Northampton, Massachusetts to become a lawyer. To avoid the cost of law school, Coolidge followed the common practice of apprenticing with a local law firm, Hammond & Field, and reading law with them. John C. Hammond and Henry P. Field, both Amherst graduates, introduced Coolidge to law practice in the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts. In 1897, Coolidge was admitted to the Massachusetts bar, becoming a country lawyer. [16] With his savings and a small inheritance from his grandfather, Coolidge opened his own law office in Northampton in 1898. He practiced commercial law, believing that he served his clients best by staying out of court. As his reputation as a hard-working and diligent attorney grew, local banks and other businesses began to retain his services. [17]

Marriage and family

In 1903, Coolidge met Grace Goodhue, a University of Vermont graduate and teacher at Northampton's Clarke School for the Deaf. They married on October 4, 1905 at 2:30 p.m. in a small ceremony which took place in the parlor of Grace's family's house, having overcome her mother's objections to the marriage. [18] The newlyweds went on a honeymoon trip to Montreal, originally planned for two weeks but cut short by a week at Coolidge's request. After 25 years he wrote of Grace, "for almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities and I have rejoiced in her graces". [19]

The Coolidges had two sons: John (September 7, 1906 – May 31, 2000) and Calvin Jr. (April 13, 1908 – July 7, 1924). Calvin Jr. died at age 16 from blood poisoning. On June 30, 1924 Calvin Jr. had played tennis with his brother on the White House tennis courts without putting on socks and developed a blister on one of his toes. The blister subsequently degenerated into sepsis and Calvin Jr. died a little over a week later. [20] The President never forgave himself for Calvin Jr's death. [21] His eldest John said it "hurt [Coolidge] terribly." John became a railroad executive, helped to start the Coolidge Foundation, and was instrumental in creating the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. [22]

Coolidge was frugal, and when it came to securing a home, he insisted upon renting. He and his wife attended Northampton's Edwards Congregational Church before and after his presidency. [23] [24]

City offices

The Republican Party was dominant in New England at the time, and Coolidge followed the example of Hammond and Field by becoming active in local politics. [25] In 1896, Coolidge campaigned for Republican presidential candidate William McKinley, and the next year he was selected to be a member of the Republican City Committee. [26] In 1898, he won election to the City Council of Northampton, placing second in a ward where the top three candidates were elected. [25] The position offered no salary but provided Coolidge invaluable political experience. [27] In 1899, he declined renomination, running instead for City Solicitor, a position elected by the City Council. He was elected for a one-year term in 1900, and reelected in 1901. [28] This position gave Coolidge more experience as a lawyer and paid a salary of $600 (equivalent to $18,665 in 2020). [28] In 1902, the city council selected a Democrat for city solicitor, and Coolidge returned to private practice. [29] Soon thereafter, however, the clerk of courts for the county died, and Coolidge was chosen to replace him. The position paid well, but it barred him from practicing law, so he remained at the job for only one-year. [29] In 1904, Coolidge suffered his sole defeat at the ballot box, losing an election to the Northampton school board. When told that some of his neighbors voted against him because he had no children in the schools he would govern, the recently married Coolidge replied, "Might give me time!" [29]

Massachusetts state legislator and mayor

In 1906, the local Republican committee nominated Coolidge for election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He won a close victory over the incumbent Democrat, and reported to Boston for the 1907 session of the Massachusetts General Court. [30] In his freshman term, Coolidge served on minor committees and, although he usually voted with the party, was known as a Progressive Republican, voting in favor of such measures as women's suffrage and the direct election of Senators. [31] While in Boston, Coolidge became an ally, and then a liegeman, of then U.S. Senator Winthrop Murray Crane who controlled the western faction of the Massachusetts Republican Party Crane's party rival in the east of the commonwealth was U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. [32] Coolidge forged another key strategic alliance with Guy Currier, who had served in both state houses and had the social distinction, wealth, personal charm and broad circle of friends which Coolidge lacked, and which would have a lasting impact on his political career. [33] In 1907, he was elected to a second term, and in the 1908 session Coolidge was more outspoken, though not in a leadership position. [34]

Instead of vying for another term in the State House, Coolidge returned home to his growing family and ran for mayor of Northampton when the incumbent Democrat retired. He was well liked in the town, and defeated his challenger by a vote of 1,597 to 1,409. [35] During his first term (1910 to 1911), he increased teachers' salaries and retired some of the city's debt while still managing to effect a slight tax decrease. [36] He was renominated in 1911, and defeated the same opponent by a slightly larger margin. [37]

In 1911, the State Senator for the Hampshire County area retired and successfully encouraged Coolidge to run for his seat for the 1912 session Coolidge defeated his Democratic opponent by a large margin. [38] At the start of that term, he became chairman of a committee to arbitrate the "Bread and Roses" strike by the workers of the American Woolen Company in Lawrence, Massachusetts. [b] After two tense months, the company agreed to the workers' demands, in a settlement proposed by the committee. [39] A major issue affecting Massachusetts Republicans that year was the party split between the progressive wing, which favored Theodore Roosevelt, and the conservative wing, which favored William Howard Taft. Although he favored some progressive measures, Coolidge refused to leave the Republican party. [40] When the new Progressive Party declined to run a candidate in his state senate district, Coolidge won reelection against his Democratic opponent by an increased margin. [40]

"Do the day's work. If it is to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it is to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don't be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don't be a demagogue. Don't hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don't hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don't hurry to legislate. Give the administration a chance to catch up with legislation."
"Have Faith in Massachusetts" as delivered by Calvin Coolidge to the Massachusetts State Senate, 1914 [41]

In the 1913 session, Coolidge enjoyed renowned success in arduously navigating to passage the Western Trolley Act, which connected Northampton with a dozen similar industrial communities in western Massachusetts. [42] Coolidge intended to retire after his second term as was the custom, but when the president of the state senate, Levi H. Greenwood, considered running for lieutenant governor, Coolidge decided to run again for the Senate in the hopes of being elected as its presiding officer. [43] Although Greenwood later decided to run for reelection to the Senate, he was defeated primarily due to his opposition to women's suffrage Coolidge was in favor of the women's vote, won his own re-election and with Crane's help, assumed the presidency of a closely divided Senate. [44] After his election in January 1914, Coolidge delivered a published and frequently quoted speech entitled Have Faith in Massachusetts, which summarized his philosophy of government. [41]

Coolidge's speech was well received, and he attracted some admirers on its account [45] towards the end of the term, many of them were proposing his name for nomination to lieutenant governor. After winning reelection to the Senate by an increased margin in the 1914 elections, Coolidge was reelected unanimously to be President of the Senate. [46] Coolidge's supporters, led by fellow Amherst alumnus Frank Stearns, encouraged him again to run for lieutenant governor. [47] Stearns, an executive with the Boston department store R. H. Stearns, became another key ally, and began a publicity campaign on Coolidge's behalf before he announced his candidacy at the end of the 1915 legislative session. [48]

Coolidge entered the primary election for lieutenant governor and was nominated to run alongside gubernatorial candidate Samuel W. McCall. Coolidge was the leading vote-getter in the Republican primary, and balanced the Republican ticket by adding a western presence to McCall's eastern base of support. [49] McCall and Coolidge won the 1915 election to their respective one-year terms, with Coolidge defeating his opponent by more than 50,000 votes. [50]

In Massachusetts, the lieutenant governor does not preside over the state Senate, as is the case in many other states nevertheless, as lieutenant governor, Coolidge was a deputy governor functioning as administrative inspector and was a member of the governor's council. He was also chairman of the finance committee and the pardons committee. [51] As a full-time elected official, Coolidge discontinued his law practice in 1916, though his family continued to live in Northampton. [52] McCall and Coolidge were both reelected in 1916 and again in 1917. When McCall decided that he would not stand for a fourth term, Coolidge announced his intention to run for governor. [53]

1918 election

Coolidge was unopposed for the Republican nomination for Governor of Massachusetts in 1918. He and his running mate, Channing Cox, a Boston lawyer and Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, ran on the previous administration's record: fiscal conservatism, a vague opposition to Prohibition, support for women's suffrage, and support for American involvement in World War I. [54] The issue of the war proved divisive, especially among Irish and German Americans. [55] Coolidge was elected by a margin of 16,773 votes over his opponent, Richard H. Long, in the smallest margin of victory of any of his statewide campaigns. [56]

Boston Police Strike

In 1919, in reaction to a plan of the policemen of the Boston Police Department to register with a union, Police Commissioner Edwin U. Curtis announced that such an act would not be tolerated. In August of that year, the American Federation of Labor issued a charter to the Boston Police Union. [57] Curtis declared the union's leaders were guilty of insubordination and would be relieved of duty, but indicated he would cancel their suspension if the union was dissolved by September 4. [58] The mayor of Boston, Andrew Peters, convinced Curtis to delay his action for a few days, but with no results, and Curtis suspended the union leaders on September 8. [59] The following day, about three-quarters of the policemen in Boston went on strike. [60] [c] Coolidge, tacitly but fully in support of Curtis' position, closely monitored the situation but initially deferred to the local authorities. He anticipated that only a resulting measure of lawlessness could sufficiently prompt the public to understand and appreciate the controlling principle – that a policeman does not strike. That night and the next, there was sporadic violence and rioting in the unruly city. [61] Peters, concerned about sympathy strikes by the firemen and others, called up some units of the Massachusetts National Guard stationed in the Boston area pursuant to an old and obscure legal authority, and relieved Curtis of duty. [62]

"Your assertion that the Commissioner was wrong cannot justify the wrong of leaving the city unguarded. That furnished the opportunity the criminal element furnished the action. There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time. . I am equally determined to defend the sovereignty of Massachusetts and to maintain the authority and jurisdiction over her public officers where it has been placed by the Constitution and laws of her people."
"Telegram from Governor Calvin Coolidge to Samuel Gompers", September 14, 1919 [63]

Coolidge, sensing the severity of circumstances were then in need of his intervention, conferred with Crane's operative, William Butler, and then acted. [64] He called up more units of the National Guard, restored Curtis to office, and took personal control of the police force. [65] Curtis proclaimed that all of the strikers were fired from their jobs, and Coolidge called for a new police force to be recruited. [66] That night Coolidge received a telegram from AFL leader Samuel Gompers. "Whatever disorder has occurred", Gompers wrote, "is due to Curtis's order in which the right of the policemen has been denied…" [67] Coolidge publicly answered Gompers's telegram, denying any justification whatsoever for the strike – and his response launched him into the national consciousness. [67] Newspapers across the nation picked up on Coolidge's statement and he became the newest hero to opponents of the strike. In the midst of the First Red Scare, many Americans were terrified of the spread of communist revolution, like those that had taken place in Russia, Hungary, and Germany. While Coolidge had lost some friends among organized labor, conservatives across the nation had seen a rising star. [68] Although he usually acted with deliberation, the Boston police strike gave him a national reputation as a decisive leader, and as a strict enforcer of law and order.

1919 election

Coolidge and Cox were renominated for their respective offices in 1919. By this time Coolidge's supporters (especially Stearns) had publicized his actions in the Police Strike around the state and the nation and some of Coolidge's speeches were published in book form. [41] He faced the same opponent as in 1918, Richard Long, but this time Coolidge defeated him by 125,101 votes, more than seven times his margin of victory from a year earlier. [d] His actions in the police strike, combined with the massive electoral victory, led to suggestions that Coolidge run for president in 1920. [70]

Legislation and vetoes as governor

By the time Coolidge was inaugurated on January 2, 1919, the First World War had ended, and Coolidge pushed the legislature to give a $100 bonus (equivalent to $1,493 in 2020) to Massachusetts veterans. He also signed a bill reducing the work week for women and children from fifty-four hours to forty-eight, saying, "We must humanize the industry, or the system will break down." [71] He signed into law a budget that kept the tax rates the same, while trimming $4 million from expenditures, thus allowing the state to retire some of its debt. [72]

Coolidge also wielded the veto pen as governor. His most publicized veto prevented an increase in legislators' pay by 50%. [73] Although Coolidge was personally opposed to Prohibition, he vetoed a bill in May 1920 that would have allowed the sale of beer or wine of 2.75% alcohol or less, in Massachusetts in violation of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. "Opinions and instructions do not outmatch the Constitution," he said in his veto message. "Against it, they are void." [74]

1920 election

At the 1920 Republican National Convention, most of the delegates were selected by state party caucuses, not primaries. As such, the field was divided among many local favorites. [75] Coolidge was one such candidate, and while he placed as high as sixth in the voting, the powerful party bosses running the convention, primarily the party's U.S. Senators, never considered him seriously. [76] After ten ballots, the bosses and then the delegates settled on Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio as their nominee for president. [77] When the time came to select a vice presidential nominee, the bosses also made and announced their decision on whom they wanted – Sen. Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin – and then prematurely departed after his name was put forth, relying on the rank and file to confirm their decision. A delegate from Oregon, Wallace McCamant, having read Have Faith in Massachusetts, proposed Coolidge for vice president instead. The suggestion caught on quickly with the masses starving for an act of independence from the absent bosses, and Coolidge was unexpectedly nominated. [78]

The Democrats nominated another Ohioan, James M. Cox, for president and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for vice president. The question of the United States joining the League of Nations was a major issue in the campaign, as was the unfinished legacy of Progressivism. [79] Harding ran a "front-porch" campaign from his home in Marion, Ohio, but Coolidge took to the campaign trail in the Upper South, New York, and New England – his audiences carefully limited to those familiar with Coolidge and those placing a premium upon concise and short speeches. [80] On November 2, 1920, Harding and Coolidge were victorious in a landslide, winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote, including every state outside the South. [79] They also won in Tennessee, the first time a Republican ticket had won a Southern state since Reconstruction. [79]

"Silent Cal"

The U.S. vice-presidency did not carry many official duties, but Coolidge was invited by President Harding to attend cabinet meetings, making him the first vice president to do so. [81] He gave a number of unremarkable speeches around the country. [82]

As vice president, Coolidge and his vivacious wife Grace were invited to quite a few parties, where the legend of "Silent Cal" was born. It is from this time that most of the jokes and anecdotes involving Coolidge originate, such as Coolidge being "silent in five languages". [83] Although Coolidge was known to be a skilled and effective public speaker, in private he was a man of few words and was commonly referred to as "Silent Cal". An apocryphal story has it that a person seated next to him at a dinner, said to him, "I made a bet today that I could get more than two words out of you." He replied, "You lose." [84] However, on April 22, 1923, Coolidge himself said that the "You lose" quotation never occurred. The story about it was related by Frank B. Noyes, President of the Associated Press, to their membership at their annual luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, when toasting and introducing Coolidge, who was the invited speaker. After the introduction and before his prepared remarks, Coolidge said to the membership, "Your President [referring to Noyes] has given you a perfect example of one of those rumors now current in Washington which is without any foundation." [85] Dorothy Parker, upon learning that Coolidge had died, reportedly remarked, "How can they tell?" [86] Coolidge often seemed uncomfortable among fashionable Washington society when asked why he continued to attend so many of their dinner parties, he replied, "Got to eat somewhere." [87] Alice Roosevelt Longworth, a leading Republican wit, underscored Coolidge's silence and his dour personality: "When he wished he were elsewhere, he pursed his lips, folded his arms, and said nothing. He looked then precisely as though he had been weaned on a pickle." [88]

As president, Coolidge's reputation as a quiet man continued. "The words of a President have an enormous weight," he would later write, "and ought not to be used indiscriminately." [89] Coolidge was aware of his stiff reputation indeed, he cultivated it. "I think the American people want a solemn ass as a President," he once told Ethel Barrymore, "and I think I will go along with them." [90] Some historians suggest that Coolidge's image was created deliberately as a campaign tactic, [91] while others believe his withdrawn and quiet behavior to be natural, deepening after the death of his son in 1924. [92]

On August 2, 1923, President Harding died unexpectedly from a heart attack in San Francisco while on a speaking tour of the western United States. Vice President Coolidge was in Vermont visiting his family home, which had neither electricity nor a telephone, when he received word by messenger of Harding's death. [93] The new president dressed, said a prayer, and came downstairs to greet the reporters who had assembled. [93] His father, a notary public and justice of the peace, administered the oath of office in the family's parlor by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923 and Coolidge then returned to bed as president.

Coolidge returned to Washington the next day, and was sworn in again by Justice Adolph A. Hoehling Jr. of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, to forestall any questions about the authority of a state official to administer a federal oath. [94] This second oath-taking remained a secret until it was revealed by Harry M. Daugherty in 1932, and confirmed by Hoehling. [95] When Hoehling confirmed Daugherty's story, he indicated that Daugherty, then serving as United States Attorney General, asked him to administer the oath without fanfare at the Willard Hotel. [95] According to Hoehling, he did not question Daugherty's reason for requesting a second oath-taking but assumed it was to resolve any doubt about whether the first swearing-in was valid. [95]

The nation initially did not know what to make of Coolidge, who had maintained a low profile in the Harding administration many had even expected him to be replaced on the ballot in 1924. [96] Coolidge believed that those of Harding's men under suspicion were entitled to every presumption of innocence, taking a methodical approach to the scandals, principally the Teapot Dome scandal, while others clamored for rapid punishment of those they presumed guilty. [97] Coolidge thought the Senate investigations of the scandals would suffice this was affirmed by the resulting resignations of those involved. He personally intervened in demanding the resignation of Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty after he refused to cooperate with the congressional probe. He then set about to confirm that no loose ends remained in the administration, arranging for a full briefing on the wrongdoing. Harry A. Slattery reviewed the facts with him, Harlan F. Stone analyzed the legal aspects for him and Senator William E. Borah assessed and presented the political factors. [98]

Coolidge addressed Congress when it reconvened on December 6, 1923, giving a speech that supported many of Harding's policies, including Harding's formal budgeting process, the enforcement of immigration restrictions and arbitration of coal strikes ongoing in Pennsylvania. [99] Coolidge's speech was the first presidential speech to be broadcast over the radio. [100] The Washington Naval Treaty was proclaimed just one month into Coolidge's term, and was generally well received in the country. [101] In May 1924, the World War I veterans' World War Adjusted Compensation Act or "Bonus Bill" was passed over his veto. [102] Coolidge signed the Immigration Act later that year, which was aimed at restricting southern and eastern European immigration, but appended a signing statement expressing his unhappiness with the bill's specific exclusion of Japanese immigrants. [103] Just before the Republican Convention began, Coolidge signed into law the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced the top marginal tax rate from 58% to 46%, as well as personal income tax rates across the board, increased the estate tax and bolstered it with a new gift tax. [104]

On June 2, 1924, Coolidge signed the act granting citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. By that time, two-thirds of the people were already citizens, having gained it through marriage, military service (veterans of World War I were granted citizenship in 1919), or the land allotments that had earlier taken place. [105] [106] [107]

1924 election

The Republican Convention was held on June 10–12, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio Coolidge was nominated on the first ballot. [108] The convention nominated Frank Lowden of Illinois for vice president on the second ballot, but he declined former Brigadier General Charles G. Dawes was nominated on the third ballot and accepted. [108]

The Democrats held their convention the next month in New York City. The convention soon deadlocked, and after 103 ballots, the delegates finally agreed on a compromise candidate, John W. Davis, with Charles W. Bryan nominated for vice president. The Democrats' hopes were buoyed when Robert M. La Follette, a Republican senator from Wisconsin, split from the GOP to form a new Progressive Party. Many believed that the split in the Republican party, like the one in 1912, would allow a Democrat to win the presidency. [109]

After the conventions and the death of his younger son Calvin, Coolidge became withdrawn he later said that "when he [the son] died, the power and glory of the Presidency went with him." [110] Even as he mourned, Coolidge ran his standard campaign, not mentioning his opponents by name or maligning them, and delivering speeches on his theory of government, including several that were broadcast over the radio. [111] It was the most subdued campaign since 1896, partly because of Coolidge's grief, but also because of his naturally non-confrontational style. [112] The other candidates campaigned in a more modern fashion, but despite the split in the Republican party, the results were similar to those of 1920. Coolidge and Dawes won every state outside the South except Wisconsin, La Follette's home state. Coolidge won the election with 382 electoral votes and the popular vote by 2.5 million over his opponents' combined total. [113]

Industry and trade

"[I]t is probable that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences. After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world." [emphasis added]
"President Calvin Coolidge's address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors", Washington D.C., January 25, 1925 [114]

During Coolidge's presidency, the United States experienced a period of rapid economic growth known as the "Roaring Twenties." He left the administration's industrial policy in the hands of his activist Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, who energetically used government auspices to promote business efficiency and develop airlines and radio. [115] Coolidge disdained regulation and demonstrated this by appointing commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission and the Interstate Commerce Commission who did little to restrict the activities of businesses under their jurisdiction. [116] The regulatory state under Coolidge was, as one biographer described it, "thin to the point of invisibility." [117]

Historian Robert Sobel offers some context of Coolidge's laissez-faire ideology, based on the prevailing understanding of federalism during his presidency: "As Governor of Massachusetts, Coolidge supported wages and hours legislation, opposed child labor, imposed economic controls during World War I, favored safety measures in factories, and even worker representation on corporate boards. Did he support these measures while president? No, because in the 1920s, such matters were considered the responsibilities of state and local governments." [118] [119]

Taxation and government spending

Coolidge adopted the taxation policies of his Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, who advocated "scientific taxation" — the notion that lowering taxes will increase, rather than decrease, government receipts. [120] Congress agreed, and tax rates were reduced in Coolidge's term. [120] In addition to federal tax cuts, Coolidge proposed reductions in federal expenditures and retiring of the federal debt. [121] Coolidge's ideas were shared by the Republicans in Congress, and in 1924, Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1924, which reduced income tax rates and eliminated all income taxation for some two million people. [121] They reduced taxes again by passing the Revenue Acts of 1926 and 1928, all the while continuing to keep spending down so as to reduce the overall federal debt. [122] By 1927, only the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers paid any federal income tax. [122] Federal spending remained flat during Coolidge's administration, allowing one-fourth of the federal debt to be retired in total. State and local governments saw considerable growth, however, surpassing the federal budget in 1927. [123] By 1929, after Coolidge's series of tax rate reductions had cut the tax rate to 24 percent on those making over $100,000, the federal government collected more than a billion dollars in income taxes, of which 65 percent was collected from those making over $100,000. In 1921, when the tax rate on people making over $100,000 a year was 73 percent, the federal government collected a little over $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those making over $100,000. [124]

Opposition to farm subsidies

Perhaps the most contentious issue of Coolidge's presidency was relief for farmers. Some in Congress proposed a bill designed to fight falling agricultural prices by allowing the federal government to purchase crops to sell abroad at lower prices. [125] Agriculture Secretary Henry C. Wallace and other administration officials favored the bill when it was introduced in 1924, but rising prices convinced many in Congress that the bill was unnecessary, and it was defeated just before the elections that year. [126] In 1926, with farm prices falling once more, Senator Charles L. McNary and Representative Gilbert N. Haugen—both Republicans—proposed the McNary–Haugen Farm Relief Bill. The bill proposed a federal farm board that would purchase surplus production in high-yield years and hold it (when feasible) for later sale or sell it abroad. [127] Coolidge opposed McNary-Haugen, declaring that agriculture must stand "on an independent business basis," and said that "government control cannot be divorced from political control." [127] Instead of manipulating prices, he favored instead Herbert Hoover's proposal to increase profitability by modernizing agriculture. Secretary Mellon wrote a letter denouncing the McNary-Haugen measure as unsound and likely to cause inflation, and it was defeated. [128]

After McNary-Haugen's defeat, Coolidge supported a less radical measure, the Curtis-Crisp Act, which would have created a federal board to lend money to farm co-operatives in times of surplus the bill did not pass. [128] In February 1927, Congress took up the McNary-Haugen bill again, this time narrowly passing it, and Coolidge vetoed it. [129] In his veto message, he expressed the belief that the bill would do nothing to help farmers, benefiting only exporters and expanding the federal bureaucracy. [130] Congress did not override the veto, but it passed the bill again in May 1928 by an increased majority again, Coolidge vetoed it. [129] "Farmers never have made much money," said Coolidge, the Vermont farmer's son. "I do not believe we can do much about it." [131]

Flood control

Coolidge has often been criticized for his actions during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster to hit the Gulf Coast until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. [132] Although he did eventually name Secretary Hoover to a commission in charge of flood relief, scholars argue that Coolidge overall showed a lack of interest in federal flood control. [132] Coolidge did not believe that personally visiting the region after the floods would accomplish anything, and that it would be seen as mere political grandstanding. He also did not want to incur the federal spending that flood control would require he believed property owners should bear much of the cost. [133] On the other hand, Congress wanted a bill that would place the federal government completely in charge of flood mitigation. [134] When Congress passed a compromise measure in 1928, Coolidge declined to take credit for it and signed the bill in private on May 15. [135]

Civil rights

According to one biographer, Coolidge was "devoid of racial prejudice," but rarely took the lead on civil rights. Coolidge disliked the Ku Klux Klan and no Klansman is known to have received an appointment from him. In the 1924 presidential election his opponents (Robert La Follette and John Davis), and his running mate Charles Dawes, often attacked the Klan but Coolidge avoided the subject. [136]

Coolidge spoke in favor of the civil rights of African-Americans, saying in his first State of the Union address that their rights were "just as sacred as those of any other citizen" under the U.S. Constitution and that it was a "public and a private duty to protect those rights." [137] [138]

Coolidge repeatedly called for laws to make lynching a federal crime (it was already a state crime, though not always enforced). Congress refused to pass any such legislation. On June 2, 1924, Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, which granted U.S. citizenship to all American Indians living on reservations. (Those off reservations had long been citizens.) [139] On June 6, 1924, Coolidge delivered a commencement address at historically black, non-segregated Howard University, in which he thanked and commended African-Americans for their rapid advances in education and their contributions to U.S. society over the years, as well as their eagerness to render their services as soldiers in the World War, all while being faced with discrimination and prejudices at home. [140]

In a speech in October 1924, Coolidge stressed tolerance of differences as an American value and thanked immigrants for their contributions to U.S. society, saying that they have "contributed much to making our country what it is." He stated that although the diversity of peoples was a detrimental source of conflict and tension in Europe, it was peculiar for the United States that it was a "harmonious" benefit for the country. Coolidge further stated the United States should assist and help immigrants who come to the country and urged immigrants to reject "race hatreds" and "prejudices". [141]

Foreign policy

Coolidge was neither well versed in nor very interested in world affairs. [142] His focus was directed mainly at American business, especially pertaining to trade, and "Maintaining the Status Quo." Although not an isolationist, he was reluctant to enter into foreign alliances. [143] While Coolidge believed strongly in a non-interventionist foreign policy, he did believe that America was exceptional. [144]

Coolidge considered the 1920 Republican victory as a rejection of the Wilsonian position that the United States should join the League of Nations. [145] While not completely opposed to the idea, Coolidge believed the League, as then constituted, did not serve American interests, and he did not advocate U.S. membership. [145] He spoke in favor of the United States joining the Permanent Court of International Justice (World Court), provided that the nation would not be bound by advisory decisions. [146] In 1926, the Senate eventually approved joining the Court (with reservations). [147] The League of Nations accepted the reservations, but it suggested some modifications of its own. [148] The Senate failed to act and so the United States did not join the World Court. [148]

Coolidge authorized the Dawes Plan, a financial plan by Charles Dawes, to provide Germany partial relief from its reparations obligations from World War I. The plan initially provided stimulus for the German economy. [149] Additionally, Coolidge attempted to pursue further curbs on naval strength following the early successes of Harding's Washington Naval Conference by sponsoring the Geneva Naval Conference in 1927, which failed owing to a French and Italian boycott and ultimate failure of Great Britain and the United States to agree on cruiser tonnages. As a result, the conference was a failure and Congress eventually authorized for increased American naval spending in 1928. [150] The Kellogg–Briand Pact of 1928, named for Coolidge's Secretary of State, Frank B. Kellogg, and French foreign minister Aristide Briand, was also a key peacekeeping initiative. The treaty, ratified in 1929, committed signatories—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan—to "renounce war, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another." [151] The treaty did not achieve its intended result—the outlawry of war—but it did provide the founding principle for international law after World War II. [152] Coolidge also continued the previous administration's policy of withholding recognition of the Soviet Union. [153]

Efforts were made to normalize ties with post-Revolution Mexico. Coolidge recognized Mexico's new governments under Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, and continued American support for the elected Mexican government against the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty during the Cristero War, lifting the arms embargo on that country he also appointed Dwight Morrow as Ambassador to Mexico with the successful objective to avoid further American conflict with Mexico. [154] [155] [156]

Coolidge's administration would see continuity in the occupation of Nicaragua and Haiti, and an end to the occupation of the Dominican Republic in 1924 as a result of withdrawal agreements finalized during Harding's administration. [157] In 1925, Coolidge ordered the withdrawal of Marines stationed in Nicaragua following perceived stability after the 1924 Nicaraguan general election, but redeployed them there in January 1927 following failed attempts to peacefully resolve the rapid deterioration of political stability and avert the ensuing Constitutionalist War Henry L. Stimson was later sent by Coolidge to mediate a peace deal that would end the civil war and extend American military presence in Nicaragua beyond Coolidge's term in office. [154]

To extend an olive branch to Latin American leaders embittered over America's interventionist policies in Central America and the Caribbean, [158] Coolidge led the U.S. delegation to the Sixth International Conference of American States, January 15–17, 1928, in Havana, Cuba, the only international trip Coolidge made during his presidency. [159] He would be the last sitting American president to visit Cuba until Barack Obama in 2016. [160]

For Canada, Coolidge authorized the St. Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks and canals that would provide large vessels passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. [161] [154]

Cabinet

Although a few of Harding's cabinet appointees were scandal-tarred, Coolidge initially retained all of them, out of an ardent conviction that as successor to a deceased elected president he was obligated to retain Harding's counselors and policies until the next election. He kept Harding's able speechwriter Judson T. Welliver Stuart Crawford replaced Welliver in November 1925. [162] Coolidge appointed C. Bascom Slemp, a Virginia Congressman and experienced federal politician, to work jointly with Edward T. Clark, a Massachusetts Republican organizer whom he retained from his vice-presidential staff, as Secretaries to the President (a position equivalent to the modern White House Chief of Staff). [101]

Perhaps the most powerful person in Coolidge's Cabinet was Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, who controlled the administration's financial policies and was regarded by many, including House Minority Leader John Nance Garner, as more powerful than Coolidge himself. [163] Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover also held a prominent place in Coolidge's Cabinet, in part because Coolidge found value in Hoover's ability to win positive publicity with his pro-business proposals. [164] Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes directed Coolidge's foreign policy until he resigned in 1925 following Coolidge's re-election. He was replaced by Frank B. Kellogg, who had previously served as a Senator and as the ambassador to Great Britain. Coolidge made two other appointments following his re-election, with William M. Jardine taking the position of Secretary of Agriculture and John G. Sargent becoming Attorney General. [165] Coolidge did not have a vice president during his first term, but Charles Dawes became vice president during Coolidge's second term, and Dawes and Coolidge clashed over farm policy and other issues. [166]

Judicial appointments

Coolidge appointed one justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, Harlan F. Stone in 1925. Stone was Coolidge's fellow Amherst alumnus, a Wall Street lawyer and conservative Republican. Stone was serving as dean of Columbia Law School when Coolidge appointed him to be attorney general in 1924 to restore the reputation tarnished by Harding's Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty. [167] It does not appear that Coolidge considered appointing anyone other than Stone, although Stone himself had urged Coolidge to appoint Benjamin N. Cardozo. [168] Stone proved to be a firm believer in judicial restraint and was regarded as one of the court's three liberal justices who would often vote to uphold New Deal legislation. [169] President Franklin D. Roosevelt later appointed Stone to be chief justice.

Coolidge nominated 17 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals and 61 judges to the United States district courts. He appointed judges to various specialty courts as well, including Genevieve R. Cline, who became the first woman named to the federal judiciary when Coolidge placed her on the United States Customs Court in 1928. [170] Coolidge also signed the Judiciary Act of 1925 into law, allowing the Supreme Court more discretion over its workload.

1928 election

In the summer of 1927, Coolidge vacationed in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where he engaged in horseback riding and fly fishing and attended rodeos. He made Custer State Park his "summer White House." While on vacation, Coolidge surprisingly issued a terse statement that he would not seek a second full term as president: "I do not choose to run for President in 1928." [171] After allowing the reporters to take that in, Coolidge elaborated. "If I take another term, I will be in the White House till 1933 … Ten years in Washington is longer than any other man has had it—too long!" [172] In his memoirs, Coolidge explained his decision not to run: "The Presidential office takes a heavy toll of those who occupy it and those who are dear to them. While we should not refuse to spend and be spent in the service of our country, it is hazardous to attempt what we feel is beyond our strength to accomplish." [173] After leaving office, he and Grace returned to Northampton, where he wrote his memoirs. The Republicans retained the White House in 1928 with a landslide by Herbert Hoover. Coolidge had been reluctant to endorse Hoover as his successor on one occasion he remarked that "for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad." [174] Even so, Coolidge had no desire to split the party by publicly opposing the nomination of the popular commerce secretary. [175]

After his presidency, Coolidge retired to a modest rented house on residential Massasoit Street in Northampton before moving to a more spacious home, "The Beeches." [176] He kept a Hacker runabout boat on the Connecticut River and was often observed on the water by local boating enthusiasts. During this period, he also served as chairman of the Non-Partisan Railroad Commission, an entity created by several banks and corporations to survey the country's long-term transportation needs and make recommendations for improvements. He was an honorary president of the American Foundation for the Blind, a director of New York Life Insurance Company, president of the American Antiquarian Society, and a trustee of Amherst College. [177]

Coolidge published his autobiography in 1929 and wrote a syndicated newspaper column, "Calvin Coolidge Says," from 1930 to 1931. [178] Faced with looming defeat in the 1932 presidential election, some Republicans spoke of rejecting Herbert Hoover as their party's nominee, and instead drafting Coolidge to run, but the former president made it clear that he was not interested in running again, and that he would publicly repudiate any effort to draft him, should it come about. [179] Hoover was renominated, and Coolidge made several radio addresses in support of him. Hoover then lost the general election to Coolidge's 1920 vice presidential Democratic opponent Franklin D. Roosevelt in a landslide. [180]

Coolidge died suddenly from coronary thrombosis at "The Beeches," at 12:45 p.m., January 5, 1933. [181] Shortly before his death, Coolidge confided to an old friend: "I feel I no longer fit in with these times." [182] Coolidge is buried in Plymouth Notch Cemetery, Plymouth Notch, Vermont. The nearby family home is maintained as one of the original buildings on the Calvin Coolidge Homestead District site. The State of Vermont dedicated a new visitors' center nearby to mark Coolidge's 100th birthday on July 4, 1972.

Despite his reputation as a quiet and even reclusive politician, Coolidge made use of the new medium of radio and made radio history several times while president. He made himself available to reporters, giving 520 press conferences, meeting with reporters more regularly than any president before or since. [183] Coolidge's second inauguration was the first presidential inauguration broadcast on radio. On December 6, 1923, his speech to Congress was broadcast on radio, [184] the first presidential radio address. [185] Coolidge signed the Radio Act of 1927, which assigned regulation of radio to the newly created Federal Radio Commission. On August 11, 1924, Theodore W. Case, using the Phonofilm sound-on-film process he developed for Lee de Forest, filmed Coolidge on the White House lawn, making "Silent Cal" the first president to appear in a sound film. The title of the DeForest film was President Coolidge, Taken on the White House Grounds. [186] [187] When Charles Lindbergh arrived in Washington on a U.S. Navy ship after his celebrated 1927 trans-Atlantic flight, President Coolidge welcomed him back to the U.S. and presented him with the Medal of Honor [188] the event was captured on film. [189]

Coolidge was the only president to have his portrait on a coin during his lifetime: the Sesquicentennial of American Independence Half Dollar, minted in 1926.


Sherman Coolidge: Arapaho Priest in a Changing World

When the Episcopal priest and Native rights activist Sherman Coolidge died in 1932, the Wyoming State Tribune’s obituary noted that the “solution of the Indian problem” had been “one of the greatest desires” of his life.

“Coolidge himself,” the Tribune continued, “could be taken as an example of his contentions of the complete adaptability of the Aboriginal Indian to the customs, civilization and culture of the white man.”

Born to Northern Arapaho parents and then adopted by a U.S. army officer and his wife around age nine, Coolidge was the literal embodiment of his own message. He believed that assimilation to Euro-American norms—inspired by conversion to Christianity—held the key to erasing not only conflict between whites and American Indians, but conflict among Indians themselves. Why Coolidge felt so strongly about the need for peace and intertribal harmony is a story rooted in the harrowing violence of his childhood.

Early years and conflicts with the Shoshone

Sherman Coolidge was born near the upper waters of the Big Horn River, present-day Wyoming, sometime in the early 1860s. His father, Banasda (Big Heart), a warrior, and mother Ba-ahnoce (Turtle Woman), named him Doa-che-wa-a, or He-Runs-on-Top, after an ancestor who had led his band over a frozen lake to elude an enemy tribe. The family grew over the subsequent years, with addition of a younger brother. At that time, traditional Arapaho lifeways had not yet succumbed to the pressures of American expansionism, and the family’s band continued to migrate over their established territory, sustained by hunting and gathering. The Arapaho’s primary antagonists were the Eastern Shoshone, who, under Chief Washakie, competed for the region’s dwindling resources.

When He-Runs-on-Top was just old enough to remember, he had his first encounter with the enemy. In the dead of night, Shoshone warriors raided his band’s camp, slaughtering indiscriminately until the Arapaho resisted. A series of similar tragedies followed. He-Runs-on-Top lost his grandmother, aunt, and uncle in an attack by American soldiers who had mistaken them for Lakota.

These painful losses were but a prelude to the death of He-Runs-on-Top’s father. In early spring 1867, the family camped by a stream for the night when they were awakened by war cries. Everyone escaped into the darkness, but Banasda remained to fight off as many attackers as he could. His body was recovered a day later, shot through the chest. Ba-ahnoce, now in deep mourning, was left to care for her two boys.

The period following Banasda’s death was one of increasing violence on the Great Plains. The Bozeman Trail, a newly established offshoot of the Oregon Trail leading through Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to Montana gold fields, became a flashpoint. Raids on wagon trains and bloody victories over the U.S. military by the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho forced Washington to seek peace in early 1868.

The resulting Treaty of Fort Laramie created the Great Sioux Reservation in Dakota Territory and secured for the Sioux the hunting grounds of the Powder River Basin, supposedly in perpetuity. It did not, however, create a reservation for the less populous Northern Arapaho, who reluctantly agreed—in time—to settle among the Lakota or in present-day Oklahoma among their Southern Arapaho kinfolk. The Arapaho chiefs, determined to agitate for a reserve of their own, eventually approached Washington with an unexpected idea.

Wishing to live in their traditional homeland, they requested permission to settle alongside the Eastern Shoshone on their reservation on Wind River, established in the 1860s. Commissioners assented, brokering an agreement with Washakie to allow the Arapaho a temporary home. Many Shoshone people today, however, maintain that Washakie made no such agreement at that time, and the Arapaho presence was hardly welcome. Before their arrival, rumors flew among white settlers that the Arapaho had killed three miners. When on April 8, 1870, a band of Northern Arapaho made their way to receive rations at the reservation’s administrative center, Camp Brown (now Lander), white mobs, joined by some Shoshone, attacked.

The assault was brutal. An elderly man, begging for his life, was bludgeoned to death before He-Runs-on-Top’s eyes, and he himself was almost executed by several Shoshone men who debated whether he was old enough to pose any danger. He was then nine years old. The boy and his family were ultimately surrendered to U.S. troops at Camp Brown, where Ba-ahnoce, exhausted, gave up her sons to the care of two army officers and the camp surgeon, Dr. Shapleigh.

Adopted by Charles and Sofie Coolidge

He-Runs-on-Top, deeply traumatized, and in the hands of strangers, was heartbroken to see his mother depart. Shapleigh, the boy’s new guardian, renamed him William Tecumseh Sherman after the Union Army general. Then, in May 1870, the Utah-based 7th Infantry passed through Camp Brown. With them was Lieutenant Charles Austin Coolidge, a young, mustached man of Pilgrim ancestry who would play a formative role in He-Runs-on-Top’s life.

Charles and his wife, Sofie, adopted the boy and took him east to New York City. The Coolidges, both devoutly religious and fervently patriotic, instilled these qualities in their new son, along with the rigid Euro-American ethnocentrism typical of the nineteenth century. Sherman, as they began to call him, was baptized at Grace Episcopal Church in lower Manhattan, and placed in a segregated school for African American children. The Coolidges spent three years in the East, until Charles was called back to Montana Territory in 1873.

In their absence, violence in the West had continued. The Northern Arapaho had returned to the Powder River Basin to hunt the dwindling bison, intermittently raiding the Shoshone and white settlers at the Shoshone Reservation on Wind River. The Shoshone retaliated in kind, cooperating with U.S. troops to attack the Arapaho and steal their horses. The Coolidge family, meanwhile, lived at Fort Shaw on the Sun River in northern Montana Territory, where Sherman attended the post school.

This life was disrupted by an explosion of tensions between U.S. forces and the Lakota in the summer of 1876, when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer perished at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Charles Coolidge’s unit arrived at the scene two days later and began burying the dead. Sherman, by now a teenager, refused to join them.

Charles, having seen Sherman grow into a bright and physically imposing young man, thought a military career would best suit his talents. Throughout the first half of 1877, Sherman accompanied his adoptive father on military expeditions against the Lakota. Witnessing these scattered conflicts in the final months of what became known collectively as the Great Sioux War convinced Sherman that a life in the military was anathema.

He began to lobby Sofie, explaining his desire to study for the ministry. She wrote the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, Henry Benjamin Whipple, for advice. Whipple, a noted advocate of what he saw as humane Indian assimilation, suggested Shattuck Military School, an Episcopalian-run institution in Faribault, Minn.

Studying for the ministry

In mid-1877, Sherman set off by steamboat and rail. In Minnesota, he lost the train ticket for the last leg of his journey, but managed to convince an amateur boat builder to ferry him down the Mississippi to his destination. When he finally reached Faribault, he presented himself to Shattuck’s rector filthy and in rags. Sherman spent three years at Shattuck, and upon graduation in 1880 approached Whipple about studying for the ministry at Seabury Divinity School, also in Faribault.

“My people have never heard of the Savior,” he purportedly stated, “If possible, I would like to become a minister and go back to tell my kinsmen of the love of Jesus Christ.” Sherman graduated from Seabury in 1884. Now a deacon, he prepared for the long journey west.

Sherman arrived at Wind River on Oct. 2, 1884, ready to assist the resident Episcopal missionary, John Roberts. Originally from North Wales, Roberts had established a mission among the Shoshone in 1873. In the seven years Sherman had been away, the Northern Arapaho had failed to secure their own homeland. They had ended up alongside the Eastern Shoshone at Wind River with little prospect of relocation. Two once-warring nations were forced to make peace while trying to preserve their cultures under the restrictive control of the government’s Indian Bureau.

Reunion with relatives

Before Sherman Coolidge reached Wind River by stagecoach on a fall evening in 1884, word had already spread among the community that the “Arapaho Whiteman,” as he was called by his tribespeople, was on his way. His impending arrival was an extraordinary event for one Arapaho woman: He-Runs-on-Top’s mother, Ba-ahnoce, who had survived fifteen years of raids, war, and near starvation. To Coolidge’s utter shock, Ba-ahnoce and a succession of relatives greeted him in tears, each resting their head on his shoulder. Among them was his uncle Sharp Nose, one of the primary chiefs on the reservation.

A quarter century on the reservation

This auspicious beginning, however, did not lead to future success. Coolidge would spend the next 26 years in Wyoming (with the exception a period of study at Hobart College, in Geneva, N. Y.), attempting and largely failing to convert his former tribe to Christianity. After being ordained into the priesthood in 1885 by the bishop of Colorado, John Spalding, Coolidge took on multiple roles on Wind River, as schoolteacher, priest, government clerk and unelected mediator.

Circumstances were difficult for his potential congregants. Government policy treated the Arapaho as dependent wards, while seeking to eliminate their traditional ways and beliefs. Those who did not comply were punished through reduced rations and even imprisonment. Assimilation in practical terms meant farming, though Wind River did not boast much suitable soil. Few Arapaho showed an interest in the plow. Efforts to enforce new lifeways were coupled with attempts to “civilize” the tribe’s children through Christian education. With the Indian Bureau’s blessing, two church schools operated on the reservation—the Episcopal school, and St. Stephens, run by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions. Coolidge established a home strategically located among the main Arapaho camps, from which he tried to gain converts.

Supporting government policy

Since Coolidge was a missionary of Native descent, one might have expected him to side with the Northern Arapaho against government policies they clearly opposed. Not so. Instead, Coolidge consistently allied himself with the government’s agents in imposing Washington’s will. First, in the 1890s, he supported the cession of the “Smoking Waters,” the hot springs at present-day Thermopolis, coveted by the local white population.

Then, in 1901 and 1902, he became embroiled in a conspiracy with Indian Bureau agent Herman Nickerson to pit the younger, more “progressive” members of the tribe against their elders in an attempt to implement the Dawes Act. This plan, wildly unpopular among the Arapaho, sought to divide reservation lands among individuals, encourage farming and end collective, tribal ownership.

The only reason Coolidge and Nickerson were foiled was because the Catholics at St. Stephens intervened in Washington to have Nickerson dismissed. The debacle was a serious blow to Coolidge’s reputation, laying bare his lack of sympathy with most Arapaho. Coolidge sided with the U.S. government again in 1904, arguing for more land cessions. Deaf to the concerns of those at Wind River, he continued to argue that with “aggressive and progressive” work among the “clannish” Arapaho and Shoshone, the “bitter hereditary foes could be united in the brotherhood of Christ,” and “live side by side in peace and harmony.”

Marriage to a white heiress

Fortunately, outside of Wyoming, Coolidge proved a more effective advocate for Native peoples. His lectures to church groups in the East never failed to elicit donations, and his personality, eloquence and humor won over many whites dubious about the inherent intelligence of Indians. Still, Coolidge’s efforts did little to ameliorate the larger structural problems that came with forced assimilation, such as poverty, malnutrition and disease.

In the midst of the bitter controversies swirling around Indian Bureau policy on Wind River, Coolidge met and fell in love with a young, idealistic woman named Grace Darling Wetherbee, who had taken a keen interest in Indian missionary work. Born in 1873, she had come to Wyoming from Manhattan in New York City, where her father owned and operated the tallest hotel in the world. Sherman and Grace’s courtship lasted only a few months. Their marriage in October 1902 caused a national sensation, garnering headlines such as “Society Girl’s Heart and Hand Captured by an Indian.”

The Coolidges remained on Wind River, and if reports are to be believed, Sherman traded in his teepee for a modern home at his new bride’s behest. Together, the couple adopted two girls, an Arapaho and a Shoshone, who later studied at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pa. The Coolidges also had three daughters and two sons of their own. Tragically, only two of the children, daughters, survived infanthood. Sherman and Grace worked actively to immerse themselves in reservation life. Some respected them, even if their “progressive” ideas and proselytizing for Christianity alienated others.

A near-deadly incident

Proof of the latter came in February 1907, when an almost deadly incident revealed the bitterness many Arapaho felt toward Indian Bureau policy and the Episcopal missionary presence. One evening John Roberts was coming home from a trip to Lander. Near the border of the reservation, a group of Arapaho, frustrated by the Indian Bureau’s ban on their annual Sun Dance religious ritual, began pursuit, clearly intending to murder him. Roberts retreated to Lander, and telephoned the commanding officer at Fort Washakie, the former Camp Brown. Troops escorted him home, and Coolidge, away in Salt Lake City, returned immediately to exercise any calming influence he could.

Leaving Wyoming

Despite the attempt on Roberts’s life and his own growing discouragement with “progress” on the reservation, Coolidge stayed on another three years.

In 1910, the Episcopal hierarchy transferred him to Oklahoma. There, Coolidge took charge of the Episcopal mission at Whirlwind, on the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation established in the 1860s. According to one Episcopal journal, his assignment was to convert 200 “blanket Indians who live in teepees and still cling to many of the old-time customs.”

Coolidge and his family detested life in Oklahoma. Sherman, likewise dissatisfied with his work, requested a transfer. In the spring of 1912, the Coolidges relocated to Faribault, Minn., where Sherman ministered to white and Dakota congregations at a local Episcopal church.

The Society of American Indians

These years turned out to be crucial in Coolidge’s mission to raise awareness of Indian issues among a wider audience. In October 1911, he traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to take part in a major breakthrough in American Indian activism. Together with a group of prominent Natives, such as the Yavapai physician Dr. Carlos Montezuma and the Santee Dakota writer and physician Charles Eastman, Coolidge founded the Society of American Indians (SAI). Those present formed a Temporary Executive Committee and made plans to open an office in Washington, D.C.

The SAI’s original conference call highlighted the ideal of Indian “self-help” through the “attainment of a race consciousness and a race leadership.” The organization, which only granted full membership to people of indigenous descent, brought together Natives from disparate tribes across the United States irrespective of cultural differences. While assimilation to mainstream Euro-American society was encouraged, the SAI did not support an erasure of Native identities. Coolidge was elected the first president of the organization, and held the post for five years. His time in the Society softened his views on assimilation considerably, and he began to view Indian cultures as valuable. In one speech he even noted that “the old religion of our people. was not so very bad after all.”

The history of the Society of American Indians is intricate and difficult to encapsulate through the experience of just one of its figures. Nonetheless, the character of Coolidge’s presidency can be briefly presented. As a leader, he became a moderating force within the society, always pleading for members to show discipline and curtail infighting, and always able to diffuse a heated debate with humor. The controversial question of Indian Bureau abolition was one often raised by certain members.

Conflict in the Society

In one infamous incident, Carlos Montezuma presented a forceful speech in favor of eliminating Bureau wardship in order to liberate reservation populations. His sentiments were seconded by the Ojibwe Catholic priest and missionary, Philip Gordon, who tactlessly declared that any Indian working for the Indian Bureau could not be loyal to the Society. The remarks caused an uproar among the Bureau employees present.

Coolidge defended them, terminating the discussion by asking “Is it right for us to act this way?”

Montezuma jumped out of his chair and shouted, “I am an Apache and you are an Arapaho. I can lick you. My tribe has licked your tribe before.”

Coolidge, who stood at least a head taller than his rival, replied calmly, “I am from Missouri.” The remark made no sense, but it did break the tension. The incident, in fact, was a friendly rivalry between friends—but the disagreement over Bureau abolition had lasting consequences. Coolidge’s more moderate views eventually became irrelevant to the Society as the membership cultivated a crippling factionalism over matters such as the Indian Bureau and ceremonial use of peyote. Nonetheless, he stayed active till the very end. In 1920, Coolidge was one of the few to attend the annual meeting. The Society of American Indians limped on for three more years, effectively expiring in 1923.

Moving to Colorado and advocating for Natives

In 1919, the Coolidges relocated to Colorado, where Sherman became canon at the Cathedral of St. John in the Wilderness in Denver. Throughout the following decade, he continued to be active in Native rights causes. The culmination of his career came in 1923, when he served on the Committee of One Hundred, chosen by Secretary of Interior Herbert W. Work to investigate conditions on reservations and report on the challenges facing indigenous peoples in the United States. Sherman Coolidge met with President Coolidge in December of that year.

Back in Denver, the Arapaho priest established himself as a beloved figure. His unexpected death at approximately age 72 on Jan. 24, 1932, during a stay in Los Angeles, caused great mourning. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs. Grace survived him by five years, dying in 1937. One of her last acts was a $7,000 donation to the mission on Wind River. She also published a collection of stories about her time in Wyoming, Teepee Neighbors (1917).

Wyoming Citizen of the Century nomination

In the 1990s, Canon Coolidge was nominated for Wyoming citizen of the century. Though many scholars today would rightly look askance at his assimilationist projects, Coolidge’s ideal of intertribal peace and solidarity through the panacea of Christianity remains compelling in the context of his childhood of extreme violence and unfathomable trauma.

Still, one cannot help but feel that Sherman Coolidge would have preferred this biographical sketch to end on a humorous note. So why not? Once while Sherman was visiting his adoptive parents, Charles Coolidge went on and on, boasting of how his venerated ancestors had come over centuries ago on the Mayflower. Sherman retorted: “Oh, that’s nothing…mine were on the reception committee.”

Editor’s note: Special thanks to Wyoming Humanities, which supported development of this article.


Coolidge Travels - History


At 2:47am on August 3, 1923, Vice President Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president of the United States when he took the oath of office in the sitting room of this modest frame and clapboard farmhouse. President Harding had died only a few hours earlier. Coolidge&rsquos father, a notary public, administered the oath by the light of a kerosene lamp he refused to install such modern conveniences as electricity. Located in the tiny community of Plymouth Notch in the beautiful hill country of Vermont, the house where he took the oath of office was also Calvin Coolidge&rsquos boyhood home. Although he spent most of his adult life in Northampton, Massachusetts, Coolidge often returned to the old homestead to visit his family. He never lost his fondness for Vermont and its people. Famous for his honesty, thrift, and taciturnity, &ldquoSilent Cal&rdquo restored confidence in government after the Harding scandals and symbolized stability during a period of rapid, disorienting social change. The Calvin Coolidge Homestead District at Plymouth Notch preserves many of the historic buildings that Coolidge knew in his youth: his birthplace, his boyhood home, the church that he attended, the homes of relatives and family friends, and the hall above his father&rsquos old store, which he used as his office during the summer of 1924 and others. Coolidge and his wife lie amid seven generations of Coolidges in the town cemetery.

In 1872, John Calvin Coolidge (his family called him Calvin or &ldquoCal&rdquo) was born in a house attached to his father's general store. In 1876, his father, "Colonel" John Coolidge, purchased the homestead across the street, a simple, one and one-half story farmhouse connected to a barn in the typical New England &ldquobig house, little house, backhouse, barn&rdquo configuration. He repaired the house, bought some new furniture, and added a front porch and two-story bay windows, but made few other changes.

Calvin lived at the homestead until 1887, when he went away to school. In 1895, he graduated with honors from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He then moved to nearby Northampton to study law. Northampton would be his home for the rest of his life. After admittance to the bar in 1897, he established his law practice and soon became involved in local politics.

Coolidge began a steady rise in the State Republican Party in 1899. He started as city councilman in Northampton and ended as mayor. He later served in both houses of the Massachusetts State Legislature. From 1916 to 1919, he held the positions of lieutenant governor and governor of Massachusetts.

Coolidge gained national attention during the Boston police strike of 1919. When the strike resulted in a day and two nights of rioting, Governor Coolidge ordered the National Guard to Boston to restore order. In a famous letter, he told Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, that there was &ldquono right to strike against public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.&rdquo His firm position made him popular with many people, and the Republican National Convention selected him as running mate for Warren G. Harding in 1920. The Harding-Coolidge ticket won the election by a comfortable majority.

Coolidge&rsquos actions as president and his reputation for personal honesty went a long way toward restoring public confidence in the government and the Republican Party. He encouraged prosecution of those involved in the scandals of the Harding administration. He stood for traditional moral principles at a time when those values seemed under attack. Running for reelection in his own right in 1924, he promised a continuation of "Coolidge prosperity." He captured more than 54 percent of the popular vote defeating Democrat John W. Davis and Progressive Robert M. La Follette.

Coolidge was extremely shy as a child and a reluctant conversationalist as an adult. His popular wife, Grace, whom he married in 1905, was an asset to him. The sudden death of his younger son from an infected blister on his heel in 1924 brought him much sympathy. Coolidge was the last president to hold White House receptions open to the general public. Oddly enough, he did not seem to mind posing for photographs with a variety of visiting groups, delivering speeches, and receiving scores of delegations.

Despite his popularity, Coolidge chose not to run for reelection in 1928. He retired to Northampton the next year&mdashbefore Wall Street&rsquos &ldquoBlack Thursday&rdquo ushered in the Great Depression. In retirement, he published his autobiography and wrote newspaper articles. In 1933, he died suddenly in Northampton at the age of 60.

Calvin Coolidge willed the homestead to his surviving son, John. In 1956, John donated the house and all its furnishings to the State of Vermont, at his mother&rsquos suggestion. The State dedicated the building as a historic shrine and opened it to the public the following year. Today, it appears almost exactly as it did on the night of the inauguration. The historic district, which is at the center of the village of Plymouth Notch, contains a number of buildings associated with Coolidge and the 19th-century rural Vermont setting that he knew and loved. Visitors may tour the Cilley General Store, the Post Office, the Wilder Restaurant (serving lunch), the church, several barns displaying farming tools of the era, the dance hall that served as the summer white house office. In addition, visitors may tour the Plymouth Cheese Factory- established by the president's father-and sample the granular curd cheese produced there.

The Calvin Coolidge Homestead District has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Click here for the National Historic Landmark registration file: text and photos. The State of Vermont administers the Homestead District as the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. Visits should begin at the Visitor Center. An admission fee is charged. The Calvin Coolidge Visitor Center is located at 3780 Rte. 100A in Plymouth, VT. The Aldrich House, the site's office, is located at 249 Coolidge Memorial Rd. For more information visit the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site website. The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, located in the Union Christian Church in Plymouth Notch, has a website that provides additional information on Calvin Coolidge, his wife, and the homestead.


Why did Calvin Coolidge go to Cuba?

Thirty years before Calvin Coolidge visited Cuba, Theodore Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since then, the United States, empowered by the Platt Amendment, reserved the right to intervene in Cuban affairs. (The 1903 amendment also leased Guantanamo Bay to the Americans.)

By 1928, attitudes toward the Americans had soured. Even Coolidge, who expressed little interest in foreign affairs, recognized the need for action. His term in office lasted between 1923 and 1929—a lull of a decade between WWI and WWII—and many of the foreign affair issues of the day had to do with American intervention in Latin America. (Coolidge himself had only left the country once before—for his honeymoon in Canada.)

Coolidge went to Cuba in 1928 to attend the Pan American Conference in Havana. The president and his entourage sought to persuade delegates away from passing anti-U.S. resolutions. Many Latin American countries critiqued American military interventions in places like Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti, and Coolidge wanted to keep the peace. (This was not helped by the fact that Coolidge ordered an invasion of Nicaragua as he prepared to depart for Cuba.)

In Cuba, Coolidge extended an olive branch. He emphasized—in an attempt to quell criticism—that all the countries in the Pan American conference were equal. Coolidge focused on “peace and goodwill” in his public remarks—although he arrived in Cuba on a massive WWI battleship called Texas.

Overall, Coolidge saw the trip to Cuba as a way to begin a campaign for world peace. The ensuing Kellogg-Briand Pact, a worldwide peace treaty that banned war, hoped to avoid the violence of WWI in the future. Of course, sadly, the world leaped into the bloody conflict of WWII not soon after the Pact was created in 1928.


Where to stay when exploring Coolidge Ghost Town?

For our next visit, Alan and I will headquarter at the Grasshopper Inn or Montana High Country Lodge in Polaris. While in the area, we’ll go crystal hunting in Crystal Park followed by a soak in Elkhorn Hot Springs.

Booking a vacation rental in Wise River is another option.

Boomer Travel Tip

Visiting Montana? Start your planning at our Montana Travel Planner page.

The gold and silver rushes of the mid to late 1800’s resulted in many communities being built in western states like Montana. Once the precious metals were gone, so were the citizens that lived near the mines. The result? Ghost towns that are hidden here and there throughout Montana and the West.

We’ll be introducing you to more Montana ghost towns in future articles. Sign up for the Weekly Broadcast so that you don’t miss them.


Watch the video: Jennifer Coolidge Reads Thirst Tweets