President George H.W. Bush in Hendersonville

By: Dan Gibbs

The 41st President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush paid a historic visit to Hendersonville on September 5, 1992. He was the first sitting President to visit Hendersonville. He gave a speech at the 46th Annual Apple Festival at the Henderson County Courthouse to a crowd of 18,000 people. 

There were 10,000 people in a cordoned off area in front of what is now the Henderson County Courthouse and another 8,000 people that stood out in the street to hear his speech. He delivered his speech in a pouring rain and at the end of his speech, he made mention of wanting to go eat some of Henderson County’s delicious apples.   

It was two months before the election and he was in a heated battle with Bill Clinton and he used his visit to Hendersonville as a campaign stop. He flew into Greenville, SC and he also made a stop at a resident of Asheville’s house to visit with him and his family.

Denise Walden, Hendersonville resident and Head Administrator of Faith-Covenant Christian Academy remembers his visit well. “We got there about an hour before President Bush was supposed to speak so my husband and I could get a good spot. There were sharpshooters on the roofs on Main Street keeping an eye on things and it rained the entire time we were there. We were soaked.” She also remembered a young Marine gave up his spot so she could see President Bush better. “He gave a good speech and I felt proud to be an American that day.” 

Mrs. Walden also remembers several people standing on the podium behind President Bush during his speech and she was informed later on that most of them were area clergy that had been invited to pray with President Bush before his speech.

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