It was anchors aweigh on November 18, 1936, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt waved good-bye to the crowd gathered on the shores of the Charleston Harbor.
It was anchors aweigh on November 18, 1936, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt (pictured here, second from left) waved good-bye to the crowd gathered on the shores of the Charleston Harbor. Aboard the USS Indianapolis, FDR embarked on his “Good Neighbor” tour of South America—a month-long voyage with stops in Trinidad, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Though this particular trip to town was brief, it was not his first trek to the Holy City, nor his last. FDR visited so often that he was known to refer to Charleston as his “regular port of call,” docking here on five occasions during his presidency and spending more time in the Lowcountry than any other sitting president. Perhaps some of his affinity was due to nostalgia: during his career as assistant secretary of the Navy prior to his election, Roosevelt journeyed here numerous times as he helped build Charleston’s now-defunct Navy Yard. When addressing Citadel cadets in 1935, he praised the city’s culture and historic architecture, even predicting the future boom in tourism: “I hope you will always keep those homes, keep them for yourselves and keep them for your fellow countrymen as you would keep the splendid traditions of Charleston and the splendid traditions of South Carolina. I know that more and more people all over the United States are going to come to visit you just as your welcome today makes me want to come back every possible chance that I may get.”
Photograph Courtesy of the Naval History & Heritage Command