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Photos found of Kennedy visit

Images thought to be lost show '63 Utah trip

Published: Friday, Sept. 22 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

President John F. Kennedy during his September 1963 visit to Salt Lake City.

Douglas Gibson, U.S. Army

Forty-three-year-old historic photographs of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit to Salt Lake City have been rediscovered and have made their way back to Utah.

President Bush visited Salt Lake City last month, and 43 years ago next week President John F. Kennedy was also in Utah — less than two months before his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. Spc. Douglas J. Gibson, a U.S. Army photographer at Fort Douglas, took close-up pictures of Kennedy's Utah trip on Sept. 26 and 27.

This was the landmark trip when Kennedy visited with LDS Church officials, talked in the LDS Tabernacle and started the first generator at Flaming Gorge Dam by remote control.

The black and white images were soon donated to the White House as a gift to the president.

"After much research, I have come to find out that these particular photographs have been lost," Jill E. Anderson of Blanco, Texas, and niece of Gibson, said.

Anderson said she recalls her father showing her the photographs and, eventually, she did a junior high school report centered around them. Before her father died, he gave them back to her, and then they were filed away and forgotten until Anderson recently moved to Blanco, located 45 miles north of San Antonio.

"My uncle was very fortunate to acquire the shots he got," she said.

Gibson only worked at Fort Douglas about 18 months, moving on to Turkey, Germany and San Antonio. He died about eight years ago.

"His JFK pictures belong somewhere," Anderson said. "You become so fascinated by these things."

She contacted the Deseret Morning News to ensure the pictures could return to Utah in some fashion. She has also conversed with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston about receiving their own copies of the pictures.

Besides some Sept. 26 airport arrival scenes, the pictures also include shots of Kennedy talking about the dedication of Flaming Gorge and traveling through portions of Salt Lake City in a motorcade.

• Anyone interesting in contacting Anderson about her uncle's pictures can write her at Jill E. Anderson, P.O. Box 154, Blanco, TX 78606.


E-mail: lynn@desnews.com