Today in Wheeling History: October 14--U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy spoke to the people of Wheeling at the Virginia Theatre (1956).
In 1956, John F. Kennedy visited Wheeling, West Virginia and gave a speech at the Virginia Theatre on October 14 as part of his efforts to build a national profile and political network in preparation for a presidential run in 1960. At the time, Kennedy was a Massachusetts senator who had unsuccessfully vied to be Adlai Stevenson's vice presidential running mate at the 1956 Democratic National Convention.
In his Virginia Theatre speech, titled "The Problems of This Day," Kennedy criticized the Eisenhower administration and argued the Republicans were leading America down a "pathway of weakness" in regards to the Cold War. He predicted the presidential race between Eisenhower and Stevenson would be close, though this proved incorrect. After the speech, Kennedy attended an event held by the Holy Name Society, a united group of Catholic churches and organizations in the Ohio Valley. Coverage of Kennedy's visit did not mention his Catholic faith, only describing the bishop coadjutor of the Wheeling Diocese as a personal friend. Kennedy's Catholicism would become a major issue during his 1960 presidential campaign. (https://tinyurl.com/yucbrdy4) (https://tinyurl.com/av4bwvbj) (https://tinyurl.com/5n89hpvt)