Winston Churchill in Albany

NYC railroad police and dewyIn mid March 1946 Winston Churchill visited Albany. Shortly after delivering his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in Missouri in earlier inthe month he returned to the East Coast. Before he left for England, he journeyed up the Hudson to visit with Eleanor Roosevelt and lay a wreath on the grave of President Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park.

Churchill continued north to Albany, accompanied by his wife and daughter Sarah. On March 12, he met with Governor Thomas E. Dewey. They had a meeting, the substance of which was never revealed, but there was a press photo op. By all accounts the Churchills were served a lovely dinner, including roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and stayed overnight in the Executive Mansion.

The next morning they departed from Union Station on an early train, back to New York City. At the station, Churchill had a brief (6 word) conversation with a second cousin from Albany, Mrs. Douglas Olcott, Sr.. He then turned to the crowd and said, “Thank you all very much. All good luck. God bless you all”. Then he embarked on the train and flashed his famous V for victory sign.

Not the stuff of legend, but Sir Winston Churchill in Albany.. in any circumstance .. IS thrilling!

Note: This was not the first visit to Albany by Churchill. While he was on his first speaking tour in North America he had dinner with Vice-President Elect Theodore Roosevelt on December 10, 1900 in the Mansion. (Churchill MAY have been lecturing on his experiences in the Boer War at Jermain Hall in the Y.M.C.A on N. Pearl St, but we can’t corroborate.) In any event there are no accounts of the Winston/Teddy meeting. However, 7 years later, in 1908 in a letter to his son Ted Jr., Roosevelt says that Winston’s father Randolph “was a rather cheap character,” and that Winston “is a rather cheap character.” He would later add that both father and son displayed “levity, lack of sobriety, lack of permanent principle, and an inordinate thirst for that cheap form of admiration which is given to notoriety.” Hardly a fan.

Copyright 2021  Julie O’Connor