This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With President Barack Obama's visit to Hill Air Force Base sparking speculation about announcements involving Utah and interest from political types trying to snag a photo-op, here's a look at some other presidential trips to the Beehive State during the past 150 years.
In 2012, The Salt Lake Tribune produced a photo array of presidential visits gleaned from the Utah Historical Society (another such gallery will appear Friday on sltrib.com) and came up with a range of sitting presidents who came to the state, usually with the mandatory courtesy call to LDS Church headquarters.
There may have been more, but Utah has not been prominent on the dance card of commanders in chief through the years.
The first presidential visit, it appears, came from Ulysses S. Grant in the late 1860s, when Utah was a territory and earlier had been in open rebellion against the federal government something a few Utah legislators would advocate today.
Another pre-statehood presidential trip came in 1890 from Benjamin Harrison, who rode in a horse-drawn carriage flanked by uniformed guards on Salt Lake City's Main Street to cheering throngs. Harrison later would grant an official pardon to Mormon polygamists, a step in the direction of Utah winning statehood in 1896.
Theodore Roosevelt came in 1903 and regaled a large crowd while also navigating Main Street in a horse-drawn carriage.
William Howard Taft's 340-pound frame can be seen in pictures waddling into the Alta Club for a hearty lunch before speaking at the Utah State Fair.
Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding were next to visit Salt Lake City. Harding's stop came two months before he died in 1923 of an apparent heart attack while visiting San Francisco.
John F. Kennedy, the 35th president, visited Salt Lake City in September 1963 as hordes of well-wishers welcomed him in an open convertible during a parade on Main Street. Two months later, he would be dead, gunned down by an assassin in Dallas.
Kennedy previously had sojourned to Utah's capital as a candidate in 1960. The Massachusetts senator, who would become the first Catholic president, impressed locals with his knowledge of the Book of Mormon during a speech at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
During his stay, Kennedy enjoyed a warm visit with David O. McKay, then president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A month later, the Mormon prophet was visited by Republican nominee Richard M. Nixon, who won the LDS leader's personal endorsement.
When Ronald Reagan arguably the most popular U.S. president ever among Utahns came in 1982, it was apparent that things had changed in the decades since the Kennedy assassination. Reagan's car was part of a large motorcade, making it difficult to distinguish which vehicle carried the commander in chief.
George H. W. Bush, the 41st president, and his son, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, visited Utah more than once. But when the latter addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2005, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson led a protest in Pioneer Park over the U.S. war in Iraq. That prompted veterans groups to threaten to boycott the city.
During another Bush II visit, the Utah Republican Party held a political rally when the president landed at the executive airport, spending more than $50,000 on vendors providing lighting, sound, cameras and seating for the event.
Local GOP leaders later complained when the Republican National Committee refused to reimburse them. They appealed to Sen. Orrin Hatch, who raked in a sizable amount during his own personal fundraiser featuring Bush, but the Utah Republican said he had nothing to do with the airport rally and it was not his debt.
Other presidential visitors to Utah included Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman. Franklin Roosevelt visited the state in 1932, when he was New York governor and campaigning for the Oval Office. He visited Utah Gov. George Dern, who later would be Roosevelt's secretary of war.
The New Dealer, however, was not a favorite of LDS leaders. In each of FDR's four elections, church President Heber J. Grant urged the faithful to vote against him. But Roosevelt carried Utah all four times.
Then-candidate Jimmy Carter campaigned in Utah in 1976, and that might have been the most colorful visit of all.
Rep. Allan Howe, D-Utah, had been arrested earlier in the year for soliciting two decoy prostitutes, and the story remained prominent for months since the embattled congressman proclaimed his innocence and refused to step down.
When the Democratic royalty, including Gov. Calvin Rampton and Sen. Frank Moss, met Carter coming off the plane, Salt Lake County Democratic Chairman Phyllis Frankel was given the order from the Democratic National Committee to make sure no pictures were taken with Howe and the Democratic presidential nominee.
As Carter walked down the line of admirers shaking hands, Howe attempted to push his way forward to greet the former Georgia governor. As Frankel stepped between the two, Howe's wife pulled her hair from behind, jerking her backward.
It was all caught on TV news cameras.
A Look Back: past presidential visits
O Utah has seen its share of U.S. presidents up close and personal from TR to FDR, Taft to Truman, "Ike" to "Bubba," Wilson to Reagan, Bush to Bush and more. See a gallery of commanders in chief during their stops in the Beehive State at sltrib.com.