A new century was dawning and Buffalo held the spotlight as it hosted the Pan American Exposition in 1901. (See Here, There and Everywhere – “The City of Light” and the Pan American Exposition). On September 6, 1901, U.S. President William McKinley had visited Niagara Falls with his wife before heading to Buffalo, New York for the Pan-American Exposition. The plan was to spend some time greeting the people at the expo.
President McKinley was positioned inside the Temple of Music building at the Exposition, Many people had been waiting for hours in the heat to meet the President. Unfortunately, among those waiting outside was 28-year-old anarchist Leon Czolgosz who had plans to kill President McKinley.
At 4 p.m., the building was opened and the throng of people were funneled into one line entering the Temple of Music building. In an organized fashion, the line of people approached the president. The “visit” was the briefest of moments… a quick hello and shake of the hand and then rushed out the door again.
President McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was just starting his second term in office and the people appeared happy to get a chance to meet him. But, at 4:07 p.m. anarchist Leon Czolgosz moved into place to “greet’ the President.
Czolgosz held a .32 caliber Iver-Johnson revolver, which was wrapped in a handkerchief. His covered hand was noticed as he reached the President, It had been a hot day, and many of the visitors to see the President had been holding handkerchiefs so as to wipe the sweat off their faces.
When Czolgosz reached the President, President McKinley considering Czolgosz’s right hand injured, reached out to shake his left hand. The assassin brought his right hand up to President McKinley’s chest and then fired two shots.