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BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF… WILLIAM McKINLEY

Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition, 1901

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.

The Assassination of William McKinley – Wikipedia

The Assassination of President William McKinley – Crime Library

The Last Speech of William McKinley – PBS.org

Images of William McKinley at the Pan American Exposition, 1901 – University of Buffalo Libraries


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HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE – THE CITY OF LIGHT AND THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION, 1901

cropped-1280px-pan-american_exposition_-_ethnology_building_at_night.jpg

The Ethnology Building in the evening
Pan-American Exposition, 1901

 

When you hear the term “City of Light” people presume someone is referring to Paris, France. They would be correct in that assumption, The Age of Enlightenment had Paris as its center of ideas and education. Its intellectual preeminence earned Paris its title as the City of Light. The lighting of its city streets in the last quarter of the 19th century reinforced Paris’s claim on the moniker.

In the early 20th century, the city of Buffalo, New York began calling itself the City of Light. Plentiful hydroelectric power from nearby Niagara Falls helped support that claim, but also because it was the first city in America to have electric street lights. During the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, this was made clearly evident, as the illumination of the buildings and avenues made night time enjoyment of the “world fair” of sorts, a reality. The area where the exposition was held shows very few reminders of this landmark happening during Buffalo’s early days. Interest in the event waned quickly when United States President William McKinley was assassinated while receiving guests at the expo. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz was responsible for killing McKinley and vaulting Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency.

The Pan-American Exposition of 1901 played an important part in the development of Buffalo as a city, as it shined a spotlight literally on the “City of Light”

Find more information about the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 at these sites:

Pan-American Exposition – Wikipedia
“Doing the Pan” – The Pan-American Exposition
1901 Pan-American Exposition Buffalo, New York Photos