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    Franklin D. Roosevelt stands with wife Eleanor aboard the “Roosevelt Special” train at Louisville’s Central Station, at Seventh Street and River Road, on Oct. 22, 1932, two weeks before the presidential election. Roosevelt, then the Democratic governor of New York, was campaigning to win the White House against incumbent Herbert Hoover, blaming him for not heeding his own warnings about the Great Depression, according to the Courier-Journal. An estimated 50,000 showed up for the parade, including a 90-year-old woman from Elkton, Kentucky, who flew on a plane for the first time to hear him speak. During Roosevelt’s two-hour visit, he gave a 20-minute speech downtown to a crowd of about 15,000 at the Jefferson County Armory (now known as the Louisville Gardens, which has been vacant for over a decade). “I couldn’t help but think of the line in the old song, ‘Hard times come a-knockin’ at the door,’” Roosevelt said in his speech. “But, my friends, this morning as I reached the golden shores of your state I remembered the other line: ‘The sun shines bright on my Old Kentucky Home.’” On Election Day in November, Roosevelt carried 42 states, including Kentucky.

    This originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “FDR in Kentucky.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo courtesy of U of L Archives and Special Collections.

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