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Early Stop Made Ahead of Schedule
Wendell L.Willkie, born in 1892 in Elwood, Indiana, was the 1940 Republican presidential candidate, running against President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s in his bid for a third term. Proclaimed “The Miracle at Philadelphia” Willkie was not supported by the Republican leadership, but won the nomination through grass-roots support.

“The Willkie Special”
Willkie started his train campaign in September of 1940. Leaving from Rushville, Indiana it lasted seven weeks and visited 31 states in the West and Mid West. Willkie’s staff and press reporters occupied 12 cars that contained dining, lounging and sleeping compartments. Willkie’s train arrived at Royal Oak’s Grand Trunk depot on October 1, 1940, at 8:10 a.m., 25 minutes early.

These photos and captions appeared in The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, October 1, 1940.

Wendell L. Willkie and Congressman George A. Dondero appeared on the rear platform of the republican Presidential nominee’s special train for 15 minutes in Royal Oak this morning. Dondero attempted to introduce Willkie, but the crowd new him and set up a shout as soon as he walked through the rear door. Behind him is his brother, Ed.

One of the most youthful crowds to greet Wendell L.Willkie on his tour around the United States was this throng of high school pupils at the Grand Trunk depot this morning. Excused from being on time at first classes, they were on hand when the special train arrived 25 minutes early. The train departed at 8:23, 10 minutes before the scheduled time of arrival.

To learn more about the Willkie train stop come to the Royal Oak Historical Museum and read the original 1940's Daily Tribune articles and view more photos of Royal Oak in the 1940's.

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