> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Answer: because there were no
> airplanes to speak of, certainly no commercial and commonplace air
> travel. _Everyone_, politicans included, traveled by rail.
In the 1940s, Philadelphia was a popular place for political
conventions. It's Conventional Hall was located somewhat close to the
city's main intercity railroad station known as "30th Street".
The construction of a downtown railroad tunnel allowed room to build a
new Convention Center. The politics involved in who gets to run it
and the terms of the union workers who staff it would put Chicago
politics to shame. The former Reading Terminal was rebuilt as an
grand entrance hall to the center and it came out nice.
Ironically, when Phila hosted the 2000 Repub convention, much of it
took place in the city's sports arena. I think nowadays there are
more press reporters than actual delegates in the past, yet today the
conventions are a done deal.
The classic Convention Hall, a beautiful building, is no longer needed
and is being torn down. Medical research from the nearby university
will take its place.
Ironically, after the closure, they finally built a railroad station
(for commuters) just behind the site. It would've been very helpful
to have such a station in the heydey years.
> It was my privilege to meet Harry S. Truman and his wife Bess, who
> were traveling to Washington, DC for some event from their home in
> Independence, MO. They naturally took the Santa Fe to Chicago,
> where they switched trains (but of course) to the B&O train to go on
> to Washington, DC. PAT]
Ironically, now you're living near Truman's old home in Independence.
Truman liked to travel. While very fond of the train, he also liked
to drive. One of his earliest political accomplishments was building
a good county road system. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing demands
of the automobile became a hardship for Truman. Traffic past his home
grew and the noise became a nuisance. Every morning he had to get up
(in his 80s now) and clean up litter from cars thrown in his yard.
(My elderly mother had to do the same thing in her house). The
automobile encouraged the flight of commerce from downtown -- where
Truman loved to walk and meet and greet people -- to the suburbs where
walking wasn't so easy.
BTW, in our era of very well paid politicians, the Trumans never had
much money. While Truman got a nice salarly for being president, at
that time he was personally responsible for a great many of the White
House expenses so his net take home pay was very little*. He had no
pension and he had to pay all his post-presidency office expenses.
After writing his memoirs he did get money for that, but it was
*The White House switchboard tracked toll calls and people had to
pay for them (per Grace Tully's book on FDR).
[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You stand corrected on one important
thing: President Truman lived in Independence, _Missouri_, one of the
Missouri suburbs around Cupcake Land -- err -- Kansas City, MO. I live
in Independence, _Kansas_, about 300 miles south and west. No
connection between the two, other than the similar name. The Missouri
version is beginning to see the crime and gangs and drugs which have
become more prevalent in Cupcake Land, which have not hit us yet. Down
here, the police complain that 'meth' is the big thing. The Missouri
version is also home/headquarters to the Reorganized LDS. The rather
degragatory term 'Cupcake Land' generally applies to the Kansas
suburbs of the KCMO area; places like Mission Hills, Overland Park,
etc, very wealthy communities with strange ideas on everything. PAT]