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President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 visit to Lakeland, FL

We’re firing up the time machine and stepping back in history.

Air Force One at Lakeland Linder International Airport 1980

Air Force One landed at LAL in 1980.

Photo via Lakeland Public Library Special Collections

According to a recent press release from The Carter Center, former US President Jimmy Carter has entered hospice care.

For those who don’t know, Swan City once received a presidential visit from President Carter. According to The Daily Diary of President Jimmy Carter, here’s how the president’s day went on October 31, 1980.

Pres. Jimmy Carter departs Air Force One at Lakeland Municipal Airport.

Pres. Jimmy Carter departing Air Force One at Lakeland Municipal Airport.

Photo via Lakeland Public Library Special Collections

10:07 a.m. — The president boarded Air Force One and flew from Columbia International Airport to Lakeland Municipal Airport (now Lakeland Linder International Airport).

A black and white photo of President Jimmy Carter Meeting Carrie Oldham

Mayor Carrie Oldham greeted President Carter when he landed at LAL.

Photo via Lakeland Public Library Special Collections

11:03 a.m. — Mayor Carrie Oldham, Polk County’s first Black female mayor, greeted President Carter on LAL’s tarmac.

A black and white photo of Pres. Jimmy Carter speaking at the Lakeland Civic Center

President Carter’s re-election rally took place at the Lakeland Civic Center.

Photo via Lakeland Public Library Special Collections

11:48 a.m. — President Carter arrived at the Lakeland Civic Center (now the RP Funding Center) for a campaign rally. Following a brief introduction from Florida Senator Lawton Chiles, President Carter addressed the crowd and advocated for his re-election for roughly 20 minutes.

12:29 — The president returned to LAL via motorcade. For a short time, he spoke to First Lady Eleanor Rosalynn Carter on the phone before re-boarding Air Force One.

1:38 p.m. — Just shy of three hours after his arrival in Lakeland, President Carter departed from Swan City and headed to Memphis International Airport.

Do you have any memories of this presidential visit? Send them our way — we love stepping back in time.

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