The Dover Public Library website offers public access to a wide range of information, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain values, language or stereotypes that would now be deemed insensitive, inappropriate or factually inaccurate. However, these records reflect the shared attitudes and values of the community from which they were collected and thus constitute an important social record.

The materials contained in the collection do not represent the opinions of the City of Dover, or the Dover Public Library.

President William Taft Visits Dover


A hilarious episode involving one of our fattest Presidents William H. Taft, a man of obese stature, motored from Portsmouth to Dover on his way to Poland Springs, Maine, where he apparently hoped to benefit from the town's mineral waters.

Franklin Square was packed with people, vehicles and machines. In the knowledge that President Taft was a man who would not fit into just any chair at all, American House personnel ransacked the hostelry to find a chair of generous proportions, and finally decided on a "Sleepy Hollow", a reclining chair, but in their efforts to please the President, a rare visitor, the chair was bedecked with a U.S. flag, which was tied down and secured.

Upon his arrival on the steps of the American House, where it was expected he would say a few words, Taft was conducted to the flag be-trimmed chair, but naturally, knowing flag etiquette, he refused to sit upon the banner. there was a frantic searching, but finally an armchair was located in the hotel office.

Although Taft was too large for the chair, he never the less wedged himself into it as far as he could.

The hilarity occurred when Taft, in arising to acknowledge an introduction, found the chair rising behind him, until "willing hands came to his aid, and after several vigorous yanks, the President was freed,".
    From Historic Rambles about Dover by Robert A. Whitehouse c1999

This historical essay is provided free to all readers as an educational service. It may not be reproduced on any website, list, bulletin board, or in print without the permission of the Dover Public Library. Links to the Dover Public Library homepage or a specific article's URL are permissible.