> Celebrate Holliston C.O.T.Y. Nominations Deadline; Saturday, 8/31 <
^ Effective August 1st - No grilling or fires at Stoddard Park ^
Kayak / canoe rentals at Stoddard Park ALL Summer!

JFK and his Campaign Plane: Caroline

by Charlie Collie
January 30, 2015

For any candidate running for President, the toughest question is how to reach voters in all fifty states.  In 1960, for a young Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy, the answer was simple:  A Convair 240 series aircraft purchased from American Airlines which the Senator named the “Caroline.”

     For any candidate running for president, the toughest question is how to reach voters in all fifty states. In 1960, for a young Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy, the answer was simple:  A Convair 240 series aircraft purchased from American Airlines which the Senator named the “Caroline.”

     It was JFK’s father who bought the plane for the tidy sum of $270,000. The twin engine craft was powered by Pratt and Whitney R-2800 engines and refitted to meet the rigors of the campaign with a full food galley, bathrooms, a bedroom and a work desk with a large map of the United States. Sixteen seats ran along the right side of the plane. The plane gave JFK and his staff the advantage of speedy, comfortable travel to win votes in all 50 states.  JFK would often invite reporters to join him in his campaign swings to key states.

     One of JFK’s favorite meals on board was Tomato Soup prepared by Chef Fred Decre. The Senator’s pilot was Howard Baer. The easy method of reaching voters through plane travel forever changed the way candidates travelled during political campaigns.  In all, JFK logged 255,000 air miles crisscrossing the country to meet the voters.

     1960 was a watershed year in American politics, the cold war with Russia was at its’ height, civil rights continued to divide the country, and a surprising new issue had emerged, a steep increase in the cost of living.  With 14 years of experience in the Congress, John F. Kennedy was up to the challenge.

     After Kennedy won the presidency, the “Caroline” continue its service in the Kennedy family shuttling family members on various business trips and vacations. The final reading on the “Caroline” odometer  (Tach Timer)  was 665,000 air miles.  In 1967, the Convair 240 aircraft was donated to the Smithsonian.  It was flown to Andrews Air Force Base for its final flight and then trucked to the Paul E Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland.

     In the late 1980s, a conservator and his crew cleaned the plane's interior and moved it to safety indoors.  The historic aircraft that JFK had used to win the presidency had been left outside in the elements for 20 years. The blue and white “Caroline” is now scheduled to go on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The 760,000 square foot facility is the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum annex. The center currently exhibits hundreds of commercial and war aircraft. Among the aircraft displayed is the Space Shuttle Discovery, and an Air France Concorde, the Gossamer Albatross, which was the first man-powered aircraft to fly across the English Channel, and the B-29 Super fortress, Enola Gay.  The center also houses a theater and a planetarium.  In 2009, the center had 1,186,493 visitors.

For more on the Caroline, visit the web site:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.440602062684610.1073741826.109813095763510&type=3

************************************************************************************************************************

Charles Collie is a former reporter for a CBS television station in Ohio. Charlie and his family moved to Holliston in 1995. He is semi-retired and still enjoys writing about politics and current events.

 

 

E-mail This Article

Comments (5)

From one of the links provided by Paul Saulnier:

After a 3 hour meeting on 12-6-1960 with President-Elect

Kennedy, President Eisenhower said he was" "overwhelmed

by Senator Kennedy's understanding of the world,

the depth of his questions, his grasp of the issues,

and the keenness of his mind.

- Charles Collie | 2/1/15 3:30 PM

I didn't know about Caroline's final journey into the Air and Space Museum.

Thanks Charlie for all the great information.

M. P.

- mary patch | 1/31/15 10:48 AM

very informative article. wish we had more of this quality of reporting.

- Anthony Stefanini | 1/31/15 8:29 AM

I have never heard of this plane but loved the story you wrote about it. Thanks. Nancy

- Nancy | 1/30/15 6:06 PM

Great article! I didn't know any of this, and the fact that the plane has been preserved was also welcome news. If you haven't visited the Udvar-Hazy annex, it's worth the trip. Really! It's huge, and holds some very impressive exhibits.

- Peter | 1/30/15 8:34 AM

Advertisement

Advertisement

Recent Articles by Charlie Collie:

The U.S.S. New York Has One Mission: Fight Terrorism

By United States Navy, Photographer's Mate 2nd Class George Trian - Navy NewsStand Photo ID: 030909-N-9954T-004Navy NewsStand Home, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3707960

1

Continue ...

Rock Stars of Holliston, and Where They Play Now

Local folklore has it that George Washington and his men stopped at Balancing Rock on Route 16 and challenged each other to tip a very heavy top rock off of its base. No doubt there was a fifer and drummer or two among the ranks of Washington’s men.

4

Continue ...

Photo of Bush 41 painting at the Museum in Pensacola

I found a home for the painting. I brought the painting to RI because that was the most convenient way to get it to the Naval Aviation Museum in Florida where it needed to go.

Continue ...

The Candy Bomber of Berlin

The Candy Bomber standing at the fence talking to the children. Photo from Candy Bomber, by Michael O.Tunnell, published in 2010.

7

Continue ...

The People's House: The White House

There was no ceremony in 1792 to mark the construction of the White House, but on October 13th of that year, the building of what is today, the most ceremonial place in America began. The first President to live in the White House was John Adams of Quincy, Massachusetts. Three other sons of Massachusetts, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H. W. Bush have lived there as well. Today, October 13th, we celebrate the building of the White House. The original design for the White House by French architect and civil engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant called for it to be modelled after the Palace of Versailles, but after a six year war for Independence from England and yet another war with England thirty years later in 1812, the White House, the future home of the Presidents would, not even remotely, be based on a “palace” design.

4

Continue ...

Advertisement

Recent Articles in Politics:

Civics Sunday: Voting Rights

by Chris Cain

Recently the Civics Sunday series explored what is required to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen. These individuals join all other U.S. Citizens in being responsible for sustaining our democratic nation. Below is the listing of citizenship responsibilities from an earlier Civics Sunday article. Today’s focus is on voting as it relates to Participate in the democratic process.

1

Continue ...

Civics Sunday - A Series

by The Publishers

2

Continue ...

Civics Sunday - Part 1

by The Publishers

Our new weekly series, “Civics Sunday,” presents a helpful but brief description of a local board, elected positions, or committee, beginning this week with a look at the Town Meeting.

1

Continue ...

Representative Dykema Hosts Senior Picnic

by Chris Cain

On Wednesday August 21st, our State Representative hosted her annual picnic for Seniors in her district: Holliston, Hopkinton, Southboro, and Westboro. The picnic was held in the very larger community room of the Faith Community Church in Hopkinton.

1

Continue ...

Public Forum on the Green New Deal

by Press Release

US Senator Edward Markey and Congresswoman Katherine Clark will host a community town hall on the Green New Deal Resolution and solutions to fighting climate change. Wednesday August 21st; 6:30 pm; Framingham High School

Continue ...

Advertisement