Election Year Flashback: JFK in Rockford in 1960
In case you hadn't been paying attention, we're in a presidential election year. And, it looks like Illinois might actually draw some candidates for a visit, unlike previous years where Illinois' solid blue status went unquestioned.
As I was going over some material relating to Illinois' place in the big-picture of a presidential election, I happened to come across some video of JFK's visit to Rockford in October of 1960, a little over two weeks before he would defeat Richard Nixon in the general election, and go on to become the 35th president of the United States. This visit to Illinois was just after Kennedy and Nixon's 4th debate, and when you look at how close the 1960 election was, it becomes obvious that Illinois played a pivotal role in Kennedy's election.
His itinerary for that day began with a flight from Milwaukee to Champaign for a visit to the U of I campus. From there, JFK moved onto to the new fieldhouse in Moline, then off to Peoria for a courthouse rally. He followed that by heading to East Peoria for a street rally at the Caterpillar plant, and from there to Rock Island.
JFK wrapped up his Illinois campaign swing with a stop at the Coronado Theater right here in Rockford, before spending the night in Chicago.
Here's John F. Kennedy, October 24, 1960, at the Coronado:
Here's some video of Kennedy's Illinois visit, including footage of his stops in Des Plaines, Barrington, Libertyville, Champaign-Urbana, and here in Rockford: