Roosevelt came, saw and conquered
For The Madera Tribune
President Theodore Roosevelt is seen here giving a speech in Raymond in 1903 after his visit to Yosemite Park.
The summer of 1903 got off to a bang in Madera with a visit by President Theodore Roosevelt to Yosemite National Park. Although T.R. didn’t come to our town, he did get as close as Berenda, and nearly everyone went to see him on his return trip from the mountains in May 1903.
Roosevelt had traveled by train to Berenda and then up to Raymond where he caught a stage and continued to Yosemite for his meeting with John Muir. Upon his return, the President made a stump speech from the rear car of his train before it took him to San Francisco.
The local press called it the largest crowd which ever left Madera on an excursion. Three thousand people crowded around the Berenda depot on May 18, 1903, and fully 1000 of them were from Madera. The platform was filled with men, women, and children, and the roof of the station was black with people who climbed up the ladder to get a better view.