A young girl is lifted above the crowd to shake hands with President Kennedy during the President’s “Conservation Tour” of Western States, Billings, September 1963. -- COURTESY CECIL STOUGHTON

A young girl is lifted above the crowd to shake hands with President Kennedy during the President’s “Conservation Tour” of Western States, Billings, September 1963.

COURTESY CECIL STOUGHTON

JFK visits Billings, Montana

Montana went to then-Vice President Richard Nixon in the 1960 Presidential Election, but that did little to contain the excitement of many Billings-area residents when President John F. Kennedy arrived on September 25, 1963. 

President John F. Kennedy arriving on Air Force One at Billings Logan International Airport, September 25, 1963. -- COURTESY WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

President John F. Kennedy arriving on Air Force One at Billings Logan International Airport, September 25, 1963.

COURTESY WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

Local law enforcement scrambled to secure the airport where Air Force One touched down at 3:30 pm, and around 17,000 Montanans flooded the Yellowstone County Fairgrounds to hear him speak on conservation (as planned) and the nuclear-test ban (not planned) at 4:00 pm. 

JFK was in Billings for all of two hours, an event made more significant for attendees by what followed just two months later. President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

Montana Senator Mike Mansfield and President John F. Kennedy in Billings on September 25, 1963. Kennedy addressed a crowd of around 17,000 at the Yellowstone County Fairgrounds as part of an 11-state tour to promote national resource conservation. -- COURTESY BILLINGS GAZETTE AND WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

Montana Senator Mike Mansfield and President John F. Kennedy in Billings on September 25, 1963. Kennedy addressed a crowd of around 17,000 at the Yellowstone County Fairgrounds as part of an 11-state tour to promote national resource conservation.

COURTESY BILLINGS GAZETTE AND WESTERN HERITAGE CENTER

Read more about JFK's visit in the Billings Gazette's 2013 article, 50 years ago this week, John F. Kennedy visited Billings; less than 2 months later he was dead, and see hundreds of other historic and stunning image in the Gazette's new book, Volume II: Billings Memories!

Volume II: Billings Memories: The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s Cover
The Billings Gazette presents Volume II: Billings Memories: The 1940s, 1950s and 1960s

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