When President John F. Kennedy visited Northern California in 1963, just months before his assassination, he made the rounds to all of our great destinations. The day before he went to Whiskeytown Lake to dedicate the newly built Whiskeytown Dam, he made a stop in Lassen Volcanic National Park to stay the night.
That’s when this incredible photo was taken of JFK feeding a deer out of his bare hands while wearing pajamas and red slippers:
This photo was snapped by Cecil Stoughton, a Military Aide to the President, on the morning of September 27, 1963.
Here’s how the story goes:
On his trip to NorCal, the President and his crew stopped to stay in a cabin in Lassen Volcanic National Park for a night, before hopping in a helicopter to Whiskeytown Lake. Kennedy had become obsessed with feeding deer outside the cabin, telling his aides to scour the cabin for food to feed the animals.
When a deer presented itself outside the cabin in the morning, Kennedy ran outside to feed it bread, wearing only his pajamas and red slippers. After spending some time feeding the deer outside, he came back inside to announce that there would be no toast for breakfast, because the deer had eaten it all.
I love finding old images of JFK in Northern California. It represents a simpler time in the world, especially in politics. Everyone can relate to being excited to feed a deer, making this photo an incredibly humanizing moment with President Kennedy.
Feeding wildlife in Lassen Volcanic National Park is strictly prohibited. But I think we can make an exception for the 35th President of the United States.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine