Tuesday, March 17, 2009

President Harding visit marked by Historical-Geocache

Throughout the century, Brevard County, Fla. has seen a number of U.S. president and first lady visits to the area. Many came for the same reasons other visitors come: hunting, sports, business matters, vacationing, health and other pleasures.

Warren Harding was a frequent visit to Merritt Island and Daytona prior to his presidency. His In-Laws had property in Merritt Island which gave Warren the opportunity to befriend many locals. He was an avid golfer and sports fisherman, and often sailed aboard a luxurious vessel during his Presidency into the area. The Indian River Advocate reported on February 11, 1921, that he arrived aboard a boat called the Victoria. However it got stuck in Mosquito Inlet and wallowed in the mud the better part of two days. At one point, President Harding got out and stretched his legs in Titusville at the recently built gulf refining company wharf, where he shook hands with a hundred or more of his Titusville constituents. He also rode in a for-hire Ford with its driver and bought some mullet from a local fisherman.

The President and first lady returned to Florida for a short vacation in March 1923. President Harding played a few rounds of golf in Rockledge and some other choice golf courses in Florida. Both the President and the first lady were in a weakened physical condition and needed a much need break from the affairs of state. Mrs. Harding had narrowly escaped death from nephritis in October, 1922, and the president’s health was causing concern to his doctors. Breathing difficulties made it impossible for him to lie flat in bed at night; he complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. Playing golf with his aide, Colonel Edmund Starling, President Harding complained, “Why, after playing 11 or 12 holes, do I drag my feet and feel so tired?” To Starling’s suggestion that he should play fewer holes in the future, Harding retorted, “Hell, if I can’t play eighteen holes, I won’t play at all.”

The Cocoa Tribune reported President Harding’s arrival on a beautiful houseboat called “Pioneer” on March 8, 1923. At a gathering of locals, Cocoa Beach real estate developer Gus Edwards presented the President and Mrs. Harding with a deed for an ocean-front lot in Cocoa Beach, inviting them to make it their home when President Harding retired. President Harding was never able to take him up on this offer as he died during his administration just after a Florida visit.

To visit the location of the Oceanfront Lot visit this
Wanted: Tourist geocacher to pick up a TB at this cache and deliver it to
another history themed geocache.

Cocoa Tribune
Indian River Advocate
The Twenties in America By Niall A. Palmer

Historically Yours,


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