A former president and nobel laureate of the United States visits the City

Our city was always a curiosity for its layout and its rapid growth, in this case the admiration was destined for a scientist. Around 1900 the new capital had few neighbors, but this one was very special. From 60 corner 11 N ° 793, where he had a bookstore that he called “Rivadavia”, Florentino Ameghino he left his wife Leontina and left daily for his many tasks. He was an outstanding self-taught person, from a very young age he had devoted himself to the search and collection of fossil remains and, very soon, his private collection and his science were increasing. And as if to avoid attracting attention, he was a self-taught scientist, naturalist, climatologist, paleontologist, zoologist, geologist and anthropologist, from the generation of 80.

Florentino Ameghino born in Italy on September 19, 1853 in Moneglia and arrived in Argentina at the age of 18 months. His native Moneglia parents moved to Argentina in 1854. His first scientific work was carried out in the Luján river basin, in the Mercedes and Luján districts, between 1869 and 1877, while he was working as a teacher in the city of Mercedes. In 1878 he went to Paris to participate in the Universal Exhibition and other scientific events. He returned from Europe in 1881. Upon his return, he set up a bookstore in Buenos Aires and began training his brother Carlos in field work. He was a professor of zoology at the National University of Córdoba.

In 1886, Francisco P. Moreno appointed him deputy director and secretary of the Museum of La Plata, assigning the Paleontology section, which Ameghino enriched with his own collection. But it was only a short time that these two scientists worked together.

Finally he was director of the National Museum of Buenos Aires. His theory was the coexistence between human beings and the extinct mega fauna in the pampas area. Including a possible origin of the human being and later evolution in America. As a self-taught man, he studied the lands of La Pampa, collecting numerous fossils, on which he relied for extensive geology and paleontology research. He died in La Plata, at the age of 57, on August 6, 1911, suffering from diabetes. He had monumental funerals.

One of Ameghino’s workplaces, around the 1900s

Surely the former president of the USA and Nobel Peace Prize Theodore RooseveltSeduced by his knowledge and the knowledge that he was a self-taught scientist, he came to the City attracted by Ameghino’s work and to visit the local Museum. His arrival in the country won the cover of all the newspapers. Ameghino had died in La Plata two years ago, just when his work had begun to gain international significance and at a time when the La Plata Zoo itself and the local Museum organized excursions to Patagonia for anthropological purposes.


Roosevelt’s visit was marked by bad weather. On November 14, 1913, a very strong wind and torrential rain welcomed the former president at the local train station, but they did not prevent the reception from being a lavish spectacle. Some 500 people waited for the former president on the platform, in addition to the official reception group and the La Plata Firefighters music band, who played targets to greet him. His main idea was to visit the Museum, the Observatory and the tomb of Ameghino.

Accompanied by his son Kermitt, his niece Margaret and Mr. Moorley Knight, his particular friend, they were first taken to the Interior, where they were given an official reception, being Governor Garcia who welcomed them in English and invited Mr. Roosevelt to go to the hall and immediately the ministers and Monsignor Alberti were introduced to him.

A former president and nobel laureate of the United States
The «Rivadavia» bookstore, by Florentino Ameghino at 60 corner 11 (Photo: Roberto Abrodos collection)

The girl María Zimmer, a 6th grade student at the complementary school run by Mrs. Castillo, handed the visitor a bouquet of flowers and gave the following speech in English: “Sir, our superiors have let us know what are the characteristics of the citizen who in this honor day with his visit the city of La Plata ”. The former president thanked with emotional words regretting not being able to do it in Spanish. After lunch he visited the local museum. The chronicle says that the visit was slow and detailed, and at no time did the former president hide the amazement caused by the collections of both Ameghino and the director of the place, Francisco Pascasio Moreno.

Roosevelt toured each of the rooms, especially the paleontology and archeology rooms, where he signed the visitor’s book with his companions. Then they went through the Observatory and, due to bad weather, which left the dirt road to the La Plata cemetery impassable, the former president had to resign himself to not being able to see the tomb of his admired Ameghino, one of the dreams with which he came to our country. After expressing his admiration for the paleontological work that was preserved in the city, Roosevelt was escorted by a procession that took him by car to visit some buildings in La Plata, such as the Municipal Palace and the Legislature. The journey to the train station to start the return to the Capital was made by diagonal 80, in the middle of the crowd that came out to see him off, it was five in the afternoon.

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Former US President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Theodore Roosevelt

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A former president and nobel laureate of the United States visits the City