The first sitting President to visit Cape Girardeau was William Howard Taft, who arrived on the riverfront in the early morning of October 26, 1909. He was part of a 16-boat flotilla carrying cabinet members, Congressmen, governors, river commissioners and a large number of dignitaries who came down the river to publicize the developing effort to stabilize and deepen the river channel. A large welcome arch was constructed over the Themis Street entrance to the city. A crowd estimated at 25,000 gathered to hear the President speak from the steps of the new Academic Hall on the college campus. It was a day of great celebration in Cape, for years remembered as “Taft Day”.