Teddy Roosevelt Visits Carson
On May 19, 1903, President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, visited Carson City. He arrived on the V&T Railroad, accompanied by Governor John Sparks. The Governor had met the president in Truckee and boarded the train with him there. They arrived in Reno at 7:30am, and the presidential car was switched from the Southern Pacific tracks to the V&T line. The train arrived in Carson at 8:45am. It was a short visit; the president was only in town long enough to disembark the train, proceed to the Capitol, and make a short speech. Many of the buildings along Carson Street were covered in celebratory bunting and banners were hung across the street welcoming the president. Estimates of the crowd range from 7,000 to 15,000 people gathered at the Capitol, from as far away as Tonopah. By 10:00 the president was back on the train, where he spoke at the Washoe County Courthouse and UNR. At 12:30 he left Reno, a mere five hours after arriving on the Eastern Slope.
Here is an excerpt from the speech the president gave at the Capitol.
Mr. Governor, Mr. Mayor, and you, my fellow-citizens : It has been a great pleasure to be introduced in the more than kind words the Governor has used, because the Governor has been a genuine pioneer. Here in this great western country, the country which it is what it is purely because the pioneers who came here had iron in their veins, because they were able to conquer plain and mountain, and to make the wilderness blossom, we are not to be excused if we do not see to it that the generation that comes after us is trained to have the sum of the fundamental qualities which enabled their fathers to succeed.
I want to say one special word today here in Carson City on a subject in which all of our people from the Atlantic to the Pacific take an interest, but which affects in especial the people of the States of the great plains and mountains and affects no State more than it does Nevada - the question of irrigation. Now as I say I do not regard that as in any way merely a question of the Rocky Mountain States, or of the great plains States, because anything which tends for the well-being of any portion of the Union is therefore for the well-being of all of it, and it was for that reason that I felt warranted in appealing to the people of the seaboard States on the Atlantic, to the people of the States of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley, to say it was their duty to help in bringing about a scheme of national irrigation, because the interest of any part of this country is the interest of all of it; and not man is a really good American who fails to grasp that fact ...
... As I said of the forests so it is even more true of the water supply. It should be our constant policy by National and State legislation to see that the water is used for the benefit of the occupants of the soil, of those who till and use the soil, that it is not exploited by any one man or set of men in his or their interests as against the interests of those on the land who are to use it. It is a fundamental truth that the prosperity of any people is simply another term for the prosperity of the home makers among that people. Our entire policy in irrigation, in forestry, in handling the public lands, should be in recognition of that truth, to favor in every way the man who wishes to take up a given area of soil and thereon to build a home in which he will rear his children as useful citizens of the State.