9/24/2012

Ike Liked Colorado

So far, no U.S. President has hailed from Colorado, but one of the first ladies has - Mamie Eisenhower.  As a result, the President who spent the most time in our state was Dwight D. Eisenhower; he even established a "Summer White House" at Lowry Air Base during his presidency.  It was on this day 57 years ago, September 24, 1955, that Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while visiting Colorado.  According to Colorado:  A History of the Centennial State (University Press of Colorado, 2005), which you can check out from our library, Ike's heart attack came after eating a hamburger and playing twenty-seven holes of golf! 

Eisenhower's Colorado legacy also extends to transportation.  Colorado describes how one of his fishing buddies, a developer, helped convince the President to support the construction of I-70 running east-west through Colorado.  As a result, the Eisenhower Tunnel was named for him.  (A bit of trivia:  Only the westbound tunnel is the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel; the eastbound tunnel is the Johnson Memorial Tunnel, named for Colorado Governor and U.S. Senator Edwin C. Johnson.)  Learn more about the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels on the Colorado Department of Transportation's website, which includes a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the operation of the tunnels. 
Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels.  Courtesy CDOT.

1 comment:

Jude said...

My favorite account of the history of the building of the tunnel is this one from the Federal Highway Administration: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/bore.cfm During the time that hiring a female was so controversial, my dad, who worked on the approaches to the tunnel, took us on a tour before it was finished. Silly tunnel-builders. Since then, of course, millions of females have passed through it without incident. These are my dad's photos of the construction: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=78372713@N00&q=eisenhower

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