Whittier to the White House

Tour Stop #9 – 10651 Avonbury

10651 Avonbury – Where Richard Nixon voted for himself as president in 1960 against John Kennedy

The year was 1960. Richard Nixon was running for president against John F. Kennedy.

On election day, once Nixon voted for himself, he did something so cool, so iconic, no other presidential candidate was hip enough to do it before Nixon or since. What did he do?

This calls for a fun fact: Richard Nixon is the only presidential candidate to go drinking in a foreign country after voting for himself to be president.

Mr. & Mrs. McNey owned the Avonbury residence which served as Richard Nixon’s 1960 polling place, which was two or three long blocks from where Richard Nixon grew up in East Whittier. In the time of Nixon’s youth, the subdivision where the McNey residence was located had been part of the thousands and thousands of acres of orchards. But with the development of East Whittier in the 1950s, orchards were turned into subdivisions.

The McNeys were incredibly excited to host the Nixons polling place – Mr. McNey even wore a tuxedo!

After the Nixons voted, Nixon had a plan. Get this – he had no secret service. Other than Pat, he was with John Dibietta from the LAPD and James Hughes, his military aide as vice president.

Once Pat and Richard voted, the press was milling about out in front of the McNey residence. As Pat and Richard waked out front, they split up, catching the press off guard, with Richard, Dibietta and Hughes taking off in a separate car. As the press tried to follow, Richard instructed Dibietta to make a couple quick turns, then they saw an open garage which they pulled into, and the following press drove on by!

Once they lost the press, Richard, Dibietta and Hughes headed south to spend the day in Tijuana, where they had lunch and margaritas at the Old Heidelberg. When the mayor of Tijuana heard they were there, he joined them for drinks! Think about it. Richard Nixon is the only us presidential candidate to vote for himself to lead this country, then go have cocktails in a TJ, only to return later that same day.