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Vintage San Diego: A Presidential Welcome

Downtown San Diego, October 21, 1960


By the Numbers

100,000 - estimated number of San Diegans who cheered the presidential motorcade on

15 - number of U.S. presidents who have visited San Diego

1,000+ - rounds of golf Eisenhower played during his presidency

1921 - the year the San Diego Country Club moved from Balboa Park to chula Vista

1952 - the year of Eisenhower's previous visit to San Diego, during his campaign for the presidency

37,000 - square feet that make up the present San Diego Country Club facility

Traveling by motorcade in 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower was greeted by San Diegans as he paraded through downtown on his way to deliver a speech in Chula Vista. His car traveled up Broadway to 12th Avenue and Park Boulevard (notice the U.S. Grant Hotel marquee in the photo above), where he then boarded a helicopter bound for the San Diego Country Club. There he addressed the Rotary Club’s Eighth Inter-American Congress of Municipalities from the golf course’s 18th hole, discussing the importance of local political efforts. He applauded the organization for working to promote superior local government and international cooperation. 

According to local legend, an agent from Eisenhower’s security detail asked a country club officer if he wished to play golf with the president, who was a fan of the sport. The staffer harshly declined, explaining he already had his own tee time. 

Three days after his historic local appearance, Eisenhower met with President Mateos of Mexico in a show of friendly international relations. Before parting with his San Diego audience, the president remarked, “It has been a real personal pleasure to be with you. So I thank you and say vaya con Dios—goodbye.” 

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