There have been Black Hills vacationers so moved by their experience that they've decided to make an instant life change. They've called or texted their employer back home to say, as Johnny Paycheck did, "Take this job and shove it, I ain't workin' here no more!" Or words to that effect. That's what a well-known East Coast man did in 1927 after coming to the Black Hills in search of relaxation and less summer heat and humidity. He extended his stay to three months and, it should be stressed, didn't actually say "take this job and shove it." He said "I do not choose to run for President in 1928." The man was President Calvin Coolidge. Calvin and Grace Coolidge and their dogs arrived early in the summer of 1927, lived in Custer State Park, fished for trout, and toured Black Hills towns to take in rodeos and other special events. Of course Mr. Coolidge also performed his Presidential duties, being chauffeured regularly to an office at Rapid City High School -- the epicenter of national government and politics that summer. That's where reporters were summoned August 2 to learn Coolidge wouldn't be a candidate for re-election the next year. Americans were stunned, including Mrs. Coolidge. The President hadn't thought to tell her during their walks and drives through the Hills. You can stay or dine in the State Game Lodge in the park, where the Coolidges lived. Whether Grace Coolidge upbraided her husband at the State Game Lodge for keeping her in the dark is unrecorded by history.
Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.
Latest posts from Paul Higbee
Black Hills Onscreen
This is Sylvan Lake, a movie setting fans will recognize from National Treasure II a... Read More
Thanks to the current hip-hop Broadway musical, American founding father Alexander Hamilton enjoys celebrity status... Read More
Bagels and Ancient Tablets
The most unexpected museum item in the Black Hills is an ancient receipt for a... Read More
Doris or the Fab Four?
The Black Hills have always inspired music. Two 20th century hits that stood the test... Read More
Storied (and beautiful) athletic fields
An attribute common to all Black Hills communities are busy athletic fields, often in settings... Read More
Outhouse Open House
The restrooms at Deadwood’s iconic Saloon #10 were – to put it kindly – rustic.... Read More
Plastered No More
If you grew up in Iowa or Minnesota in the 1960s, and your next door... Read More
Accidental Tourist: What state is this again? Local: South Dakota. Accidental Tourist: How far across?... Read More