Wednesday, July 14, 2010

President McKinley Warms Up to Buffalo

                                                       Feb. 1, 1899 - Buffalo Evening News 
William McKinley   
"Whatever I can do for Buffalo, is at Buffalo's disposal, and I shall be glad to do all I can toward making your Exposition a success." 
- President M'Kinley
Washington D.C.,. Feb.1 ---- This in substance was the prompt and cheerful response of the President of the United States, the one man in all this great country who can do most to help the Pan American Exposition, as he replied to the explanatory addresses of the members of the committee who called on him yesterday afternoon.  And it was evident from his tone and manner that President McKinley meant every word he said, and that in him the exposition will have a warm friend and a valuable helper.
Editor:   As we all know (or should) the Pan American Exposition turned out not to be such a warm friend to the President. On September 6, 1901 the president was shot while shaking hands during a public reception at the Temple of Music and died on Sept.14.

President McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition of 1901
A Tragic Encounter     (from The Library of Congress)

  The Pan-American Exposition, staged in Buffalo, New York, presented in  microcosm all of the trends, developments, innovations, and attitudes of  the McKinley years.  The great and colorful buildings along the Grand  Canal, built in ersatz Spanish colonial style, symbolized American  suzerainty over the hemisphere.  The amazing Electric Tower announced to  the world the nation's technical superiority.  In memory of the late  frontier, there was a wild west show.  The now-aged  Apache chief Geronimo was a part of the show --  accompanied by a U.S.Army guard.  The Indian Wars, now just a memory,  were turned into spectacle and mock Indian vs. cavalry skirmishes were  staged three times daily for exposition visitors.
McKinley, his wife and entourage in a private car on the
 Great Gorge Route along the Lower Niagara, September 6, 
1901, just hours before he was shot at the Temple of Music.
  The exposition was opened in the spring of 1901 by the new vice  president, Theodore Roosevelt. President McKinley had been scheduled to  do the honors but had to cancel because of his wife's illness. It was  not until September that the McKinleys were able to inspect the  exposition grounds.  On the morning of September 5th, the president and  first lady crossed the Triumphal Causeway and entered the fair grounds  in an open carriage preceded by troops, military bands, and a mounted  honor guard. The president gave a major address on trade policy to a  large crowd gathered on the Esplanade. Afterwards he toured the  exhibits, complimenting all. He had an unscheduled coffee at the Puerto Rican Building with the Latin American commissioners.
  The following day, the presidential party took an excursion by rail to  see Niagara Falls.  Upon returning to Buffalo, McKinley returned to the  exposition grounds for a reception in the Music Building. The president  had been standing in a receiving line greeting the public for seven  minutes when an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz shot McKinley twice at  point blank range.  Despite early hopes that he might survive the  attack, the president died on September 14th, whispering the words "Good--bye--all,---Good---bye!---It---is--God's---way,---His--will,---not---ours,---be---done."
  The vigorous forty-two year-old Progressive, Theodore Roosevelt,  was now in the White House.  The nineteenth century was over and the  modern era had begun.  Old Guard party boss Mark Hanna complained to a  colleague, "Now look!  That damned cowboy is president of the United  States!"

In 1901, the corner of Elmwood and Amherst was the main gate of the Pan-American Exposition. Amherst St. was the MIDWAY between Elmwood and Delaware.  Photo is looking S.East across Elmwood Ave. Large building on the right was the Horticulture Building.  Domed building just left of center is the Temple of Music where McKinley was shot. To regulate visitor traffic, a wooden fence a mile long and a half-mile wide was erected around the entire Exposition grounds and acreage in the Park. Lower photo, trolley station on Amherst St.

McKinley Delivering 
His Last Address
Excerpts From 
Mckinley's Final Speech as President* 
The Pan American Exposition 9/5/1901

  " I AM  glad again to be in the city of Buffalo and exchange greetings with her people, to whose generous hospitality I am not a stranger, and with whose good will I have been repeatedly and signally honored. To-day I have additional satisfaction in meeting and giving welcome to the foreign representatives assembled here, whose presence and participation in this Exposition have contributed in so marked a degree to its interest and success. To the commissioners of the Dominion of Canada and the British Colonies, the French Colonies, the Republics of Mexico and of Central and South America, and the commissioners of Cuba and Porto Rico, who share with us in this undertaking, we give the hand of fellowship and felicitate with them upon the triumphs of art, science, education and manufacture which the old has bequeathed to the new century.   Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world’s advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped to some onward step."  (continues below)
Delivering his Address, Presidents Day at the Exposition
  "My fellow citizens, trade statistics indicate that this country is in a state of unexampled prosperity. The figures show that we are furnishing profitable employment to the millions of working men throughout the United States. Our capacity to produce has developed so enormously, and our products have so multiplied, that the problem of more markets requires our urgent and immediate attention. By sensible trade arrangements, which will not interrupt our home production, we shall extend the outlets for our ever increasing surplus. What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have vent abroad. The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem. Next in advantage to having the thing to sell is to have the conveyance to carry it to the buyer. We must encourage our merchant marine. We must have more ships. They must be under the American flag: built, manned, and owned by Americans. These will not only be profitable in a commercial sense, they will also be messengers of peace wherever they go. Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times.
  We must build the isthmian canal which will unite the two oceans and give a straight line of communications with the western coasts of Central and South America, and Mexico. The construction of a pacific cable cannot be longer postponed. In the furtherance of these objects of national interest and concern, you are performing and important part. The good work will go on - it cannot be stopped."

"These buildings will disappear"  
This creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight. But who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened, the ambition fired, and the high achievement that will be wrought through this exposition. Gentleman, let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not conflict. And that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.  We hope that all who are represented here may be moved to higher and nobler efforts for their own and the world’s good, and that out of this city may come not only greater commerce and trade for us all, but, more essential than these, relations of mutual respect, confidence and friendship which will deepen and endure. Our earnest prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of earth."
President William McKinley 


Also See: "The True Story of McKinnley's Assassination in Buffalo"

*For McKinley's speech in it's entirety, 

click here.

McKinley Touring the Exposition Grounds
Anxious crowds reading bulletins of McKinley's
condition the night he died in Buffalo

Temple of Music Where President McKinley Was Shot
Born in 1843, died in 1901; served in the Civil War, reaching the rank of Major; 
Member of Congress from Ohio in 1877–91; 
defeated for Congress in 1890; elected Governor of Ohio in 1891, 
and again in 1893; elected President in 1896, and again in 1900.
Buffalo's Status Around 1901
Theaters --9
Public Schools--60
Acreage of City--25,343 1/2
Coal Receipts--2,234,329 tons
Lumber Receipts--610,372,884 ft.
Live Stock Receipts--7,296,929 head.
Flour-- Manufactured in 1897 1,097,883 barrels
Elevators--52 with 16,690,000 bushels capacity
Grain Receipts--By lake,  260,911,099 bushels
Commerce--Fourth shipping city in the world
Vessels Arrived-- In 1897, 5752, tonnage 5,773,876,
Vessels Cleared-- in 1897, 5811, tonnage 5,807,982
Manufactories--3500; or over 100,000 operatives
Parks--939 acres and 17 miles of park driveways
Largest Coal Trestle in the world, 
the Lackawanna trestle; 
nearly one mile long.
Railways--26 roads enter the city; 
250 passenger trains daily; nearly
700 miles of trackage within the city limits.
Street Railways--180 miles; more under course of construction
Paved Streets--stone 116 1/2 miles; brick, 4.04 miles, asphalt 220 miles or
giving Buffalo more asphalt than Paris, Washington, 
London, or another city in the world.
Rate Taxation -
City, $18.03883 on valuation of $1,000. Lamp Tax, .74799,
County and State, $4.2676. Total $23.05442

   It is hard to imagine now what a metropolis Buffalo was at the turn of that century. Buffalo in about 75 years from the time it was just a small village in 1825, grew to a population of nearly 400,000 and was the fourth largest port in the world! By 1899 there were 52 grain elevators including 4 floaters. But Buffalo was more than just grain and flour milling, it was the most diversified industrial city in America outside of New York City with over 3500 factories!


anne smith said...

I love the photos!!!!

Frank Broughton said...

wow..... sure shows how fragile things are in life. On waterway opening changed a whole City