Historical Quick Takes: The POTUS Connection
LakewoodNeighbors.org connected with Stan Lipson, president of the Lakewood Historical Society and member of the Lakewood Heritage Commission, to deliver a series of historical snapshots of our hometown connection to towering figures from American history.
LN: Which president had the deepest connection to Lakewood?
SL: The most important president would be Grover Cleveland — he ended up living in Lakewood. He’s the only president of United States who had two non-consecutive terms. He first served from 1884–88, lost in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, and served again 1892–1896.
LN: How many presidents has Lakewood hosted?
SL: I would say about six or so. Every picture you see here came to Lakewood. William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson all visited or stayed in Lakewood. Many campaigned here including Roosevelt in 1912 and more recently President George H.W. Bush. President Grant spent most of his time vacationing in Long Branch, but he did come to Lakewood as well. Add to that list Ulysses S. Grant, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
LN: Do you know the location of the Cleveland home?
SL: The Cleveland Cottage was located somewhere up around 12th street and Clifton Avenue, but the structure is no longer there.
LN: What was the draw to Lakewood for presidential candidates and vacationing chief executives?
SL: Two things: campaigning is number one, and the second reason is that because Cleveland did live here, and Lakewood was an important community in Central Jersey. We are centrally located, 60 miles south of New York, 50 miles east of Philly, and 60 miles north of Atlantic City. Lakewood was also one of the larger and more affluent communities of the early 1900s, and was easily accessible by carriage, train, bus and later airplane.
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