Derby History Quiz
President Kennedy in Derby
In his book, The Making of the President, 1960, Theodore White did a great job in capturing presidential candidate John Kennedy's dramatic visit to Derby on his was to Waterbury just days before his victory over Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. Most people know that story, but many have forgotten that Kennedy also rode through the streets of Derby as president on Wednesday, October 17, 1962. As you can see from the very poor picture above, Main Street was lined that day with thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the youngest elected president in US history - and that's just what they got - a quick glimpse.
Kennedy was not slated to stop in Derby, but that did not stop Mayor John Bartimole and other local leaders from building a platform on Elizabeth Street right at the corner of Main Street. According to the Evening Sentinel, the Derby High School band also lined Main Street, waiting to entertain the president and the crowd. The president was in an open top limousine, and was clearly visible to the crowd, but as he approached the Main Street intersection with Elizabeth Street he stood up and waved to people on the "Vonetes" side of the street - unintentionally turning his back to the officials on the reviewing stand which he may not have even noticed! In a matter of seconds, the president had sped by. Anyone who witnessed it, can still recall it to this day - and several of our quiz responders did! This may have been a bright spot on an otherwise difficult day as the Cuban Missile crisis was under way behind the scenes, but the public did not know it at this point.
The Sentinel estimated that 6,000 people saw the president in Derby that day.
Correct answers were received from: Tony Cannici, Maureen Coffey, Marc J. Garofalo, mildred fatterusso, Beth Colette, Mary Seuss, Thomas lenart, Paul Varsanik, Joe Drauszewski, Tom Gambaccini, Nick from Terryville, Julia Romano-Soda, Joe Dedo, bruce sill, tom lionetti, Pat Filan, Ann Searles, Linda Coppola, Stephanie Anne D'Onofrio, Chris Kalesavich, David Lenart, Frank colonese, MaryAnn Meyer, Markanthony Izzo, Marsha Benno, Allan Brozek, Fred Grant, Pat Shelton, Raymond Stott, Lynne Anglace, Jack Sheehy, Jay, Eddie D'Ambruoso, Fred Muratori, Jack Jurkowski, Joseph DiRienzo, Frank Cwanek, Jim Norris, Dennis P. Kisyk, Ron Culmo, samantha greenlaw, Jeffrey Tracz, john M. Rak, Anne Cesario Reilly, Ed Gorzelany, Chuck Stankye, Kimberley Shelton, Randy Ritter, kathleen hemenway, and Ruth Barnett.
To see our earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.