Pat Nixon was Richard’s Irish Rose. On her birthday weekend it is fitting to see them at the 1960 Rose Parade.
More and more terrific articles are appearing regarding the young dating life of Pat and Richard Nixon. Recently the Los Angeles Times (which endorsed Nixon in every political race in which he was a candidate) weighed in on the issue with a refreshing story.
Having researched the Nixons in Southern California for some time now, I am pleased to show the house where Pat lived her first two years in Whittier. Pat actually rented a room from Ray and Edna Collins on Terrace Park, Whittier. Pat moved to Whittier in 1937 and lived with the Collins while she dated Richard.
In just a few days the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace will celebrate Pat Nixon’s 100th birthday. As the big day approaches, there are some great articles and videos available to to learn more about the Nixons. For example, Richard was quite taken with Pat from the time they first met in January 1938 at St. Mathias Church in Whittier. Nixon expressed his feelings in letters to which Pat had some somewhat humorous responses. Most major media outlets are covering the opening of the Pat Nixon Centennial exhibit set to open at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on March 16. This is a great time to learn more about Richard and Pat Nixon!
This year we celebrate Pat Nixon’s 100th birthday, and next year is Richard Nixon’s 100th as well. As we near these milestones, there are some great opportunities to learn more about Pat and Richard Nixon and their Southern California roots and life.
Take for instance a tour that has been recently set up. “Meet the Nixons” is a great compliment to Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California and a terrific learning experience for anyone interested in learning about the humble beginings of our 37th President right here in Southern California.
There is no doubt that Richard Nixon is an intriguing man. He is also, quite likely, the most influential person in the second half of the twentieth century. We can only better ourselves by learning more about President Nixon and his history. I am flattered that the Nixon Foundation has selected Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California as a great gift for anyone wanting to learn more about Nixon.
Two recent articles in the Los Angeles Times caught my eye. The first concerned Gene Summers, a Los Angeles architect that renovated and re-established the Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles. The second concerened the shuttering of the Wilshire Grand Hotel.
The Ambassador, Biltmore, and Wilshire Grand were the three primary hotels in Los Angeles where Richard Nixon spent most of his time either campaigning, visiting supporters and meeting the party faithful, or living when he was in town. The Ambassador was leveled in February 2006. Now the Wilshire Grand faces the same fate, making way for a new hotel tower.
The Wilshire Grand was originally opened as the Statler Hotel. Nixon moved into the Statler when he returned to California at the end of his Vice Presidency and began working at the downtown law firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine. In addition, a significant amount of campaign events were held in Pacific Ballroom and the various meeting rooms at the Statler during Nixon’s run for governor in 1962.
Apparently the cost of updating the nearly sixty year old hotel outweighs the benefit of starting with something new. Unless, of course, you appreciate history as Gene Summers did.
Summers took a nearly vacant and dilapidated Biltmore Hotel and revitalized it to the downtown historical landmark that it is today. the building has tremendous history. It was the headquarters of the 1960 Democrat convention, among other notable events, and the hotel guest list is a who’s who of American history. Same for the Wilshire Grand, which hosted the 2000 Democrat convention and had a guest list similar to the Biltmore. In addition, Ronald Reagan was the master of ceremonies when the hotel opened in 1952, it was host to the 1952 Emmy Awards, and housed the jurors in the civil rights trial of officers charged in the beating of motorist Rodney King Jr.
So two stories, one day apart, one celebrating the life of a man who preserved history and the other pointing out our willingness to destroy the history in our midst.
Since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States has been transported on Air Force aircraft designated Air Force One whenever he travels. If the president is on a civil aircraft, it is designated Executive One.
In late 1973, President Nixon was being attacked on many fronts for many things. Anticipating that he would be criticized for the use of fuel in traveling to California where he preferred to spend the Christmas holidays, President Nixon became the only sitting president to travel on a regularly scheduled commercial airline flight when he flew on a United Airlines DC-10 from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles International Airport.
Nixon and his family enjoyed the Christmas holidays at their Western White House, La Casa Pacifica, before returning to Washington via Air Force One.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for the other passengers?
The Monday, December 19, 2011 issue of The Whittier Daily News has a great article by Tim Traeger on Native Son: Richard Nixon’s Southern California.
“The map is fascinating, to say the least. On its front is a wonderfully illustrated map… It is a colorful and easily digestible snapshot of Nixon’s life in California… I’m keeping mine. It’s worth having and it’s very well done.”
Mickadeit notes that Native Son is a great stocking stuffer that “unfolds to reveal an entertaining … well-researched visual guide to the path RN wove through SoCal between his birth in a Yorba Linda farmhouse in 1913 and his burial nearby in 1994.”
Recently the Orange County Register published an article on artist Deborah Aschheim and her artwork related to President Nixon. A generation of Americans with no vested interest in Nixon are discovering his life and presidency, and making assessments that likely counter the previously accepted main stream ideas about Nixon.
For example, Conrad Black recently wrote in National Review of the historical perspective on Nixon, and how that perspective is gradually changing.