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  • Jennifer Donovan

Discover Downtown Gloversville

Take a Presidential Stroll in Downtown Gloversville


As President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is nearing on Feb. 12, it should be noted that this month is filled with presidential birthdays (Lincoln, George Washington, William Harrison and Ronald Reagan), and recognizes Presidents' Day. While America takes note of our presidents, Downtown Gloversville takes special note of the ones who once came to the Glove City – Theodore Roosevelt (26th President) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (aka “FDR,” 32nd President).

 

Teddy’s ties start with Gloversville’s own Lucius Nathan Littauer who was born in 1859, the son of a glove manufacturer. When the young man went off to Harvard for his college education, he met Teddy and became close friends. As the two men began their paths towards politics and political office – Teddy went on to be NYC Police Commissioner, NYS Governor and President, while Littauer went on to be a member of Congress – they were seen together onstage giving speeches at the Kasson Opera House (now Schine Memorial Hall) on North Main Street in Gloversville. According to https://schineongloversville.com, in 1896, “Two thousand people crowded the Kasson Opera House to hear stirring speeches by retiring Congressman Sloat Fassett, New York City Police Commissioner Roosevelt and our Congressional Nominee, Lucius Littauer….no one, of course, realized that with Theodore Roosevelt present, they were viewing a future president.” Their friendship is well documented as later Governor Roosevelt told an audience at a Harvard Club dinner that his closest personal friend and advisor was Congressman Littauer. It was reported in the New York World and Journal that Roosevelt said, “I want to tell you that it is a Harvard man who is my most intimate friend and who is also my closest political advisor - and that man is Lucius Nathan Littauer." Much of Roosevelt’s discussion of his friendship with Littauer can be found at https://fulton.nygenweb.net/bios/littauer.html. Letters from Littauer to Roosevelt, and vice versus, can be found online at the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University at https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org. Other letters remarking on gloves made for Teddy are also found at this site.

 



Teddy’s distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, also went on to become NYS Governor and later President, and also “stumped” in Gloversville when on the campaign trail. According to a blog at https://www.historyisnowmagazine.com, when campaigning for the governor position FDR in 1928 was crossing the state with political stops and his “motorcade was ‘kidnapped’ in Fonda by a group of people in forty or fifty cars. His abductors directed the campaign to the town of Gloversville. In past elections, ‘two Democrats, and sometimes three’ went to the Gloversville polls on Election Day… When Roosevelt arrived in the town, he was greeted by some two thousand people who had gathered to hear him speak.”


Celebrate Presidents' Day, this year on Feb. 19, by taking the historic walk through Downtown Gloversville. A copy of the brochure highlighting all the stops can be found here. Make note of the Kingsborough Hotel, located at 34 S. Main St., (now known as Kingsborough Apartments) as it once boasted of elaborate guest rooms, a banquet hall, ballroom, and basement tavern and guests included both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt.



 Also stop at the Schine Memorial Hall, located at 42 N. Main St. and imagine hearing the speeches that once inspired the area from a future president.




 

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