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Professor Creates Presidential Walking Tour Of W&J College

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

CRAWLEY Dave Crawley
Dave Crawley joined KDKA in April of 1988 where he reports on the...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Washington and Jefferson College is named for two presidents who never set foot on campus.

But many others did make their way to Washington, Pa.

W&J professor Jennifer Harding led a Presidents Day tour of landmarks which prompted visits from 15 presidents, spanning three centuries.

“I taught a class called ‘The American Presidency in Fact, Fiction and Film,'” she says. “It was meant to be an interesting class that combined lots of things. And one of the things I wanted students to do was get out into the community.”

The result was a brochure depicting a “Self-Guided Walking Tour” of presidential landmarks in Washington.

The first president to visit was James Monroe, who delivered an address in front of old McMillan Hall in 1817. The most recent presidential stop was Rossin Campus Center, where Barack Obama addressed students and veterans in April, 2008.

The Washington County Courthouse received a taste of Camelot.

“John F. Kennedy spoke there in 1962,” Harding said. “And we have some nice pictures of him, actually in front of the building. When he got out of the car and stood in front of the courthouse and gave a speech. And that was a very big event in Washington. Lots of people remember that.”

A much quieter visit was made by Harry S. Truman and First Lady Bess Truman. The couple stayed at the George Washington Hotel in 1953.

No Secret Service. No media coverage — times have changed.

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