Sunday, December 18, 2011

Florida History: FDR's busy day in Fort Lauderdale: a fish, a yacht, and Gen. Hagood

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By Jane Feehan

Presidents’ vacations have garnered  notice throughout U.S. history; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s annual spring fishing trip was no exception.

Roosevelt came to Fort Lauderdale by train March 23, 1936 where he boarded the USS Monaghan at Port Everglades. The party rendezvoused at sea with the president's yacht, the Potomac, a converted  Coast Guard cutter. FDR boarded the vessel for an inaugural ride.  During the expedition, Roosevelt hooked a large sailfish, which escaped, and then landed a bonita. The excursion ended by early afternoon.

 Roosevelt also conducted business that day while docked at Fort Lauderdale.

Major General Johnson Hagood conferred with the president en route to Fort Lauderdale after making some controversial remarks before a congressional committee about federal work relief expenditures. The day after the meeting, the decorated general was ordered by Roosevelt from Port Everglades to take a three months leave of absence. Hagood’s leave lasted less than two months when he received a new command. He accepted the command for one day and then retired. His memories of Fort Lauderdale, no doubt, were not as fond as those held by Roosevelt.

For more about Fort Lauderdale fishing history, see:
Weidling, Philip J., Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).
Palm Beach Daily News, March 24, 1936 p. 1, p. 8

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, President Franklin D Roosevelt, Florida fishing history, Major General Johnson Hagood, film research

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