Trails and Treasures Home Page  Road Trips  Buffalo, NW Pennsylvania, NE Ohio (May, 2006)


Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural NHS

The Pan-American Exposition opened in the Spring of 1901.  A grand celebration for the "City of Light."  Although President McKinley had been scheduled to open the exhibition grounds, he gave the honors to Vice President Roosevelt, as his wife was ill.  He finally made his grand entrance onto the exposition grounds on September 5th, after which he gave a speech and toured the exhibits.  The next day, after an excursion to Niagara Falls, McKinley returned to the Temple of Music for a reception.  Just a few minutes after the reception line commenced, Leon Czolgosz shot McKinley twice at point blank range. 

Doctors on the exposition grounds found and removed one of the bullets in McKinley, sewed him up, and sent him to the home of John G. Milburn, president of the Pan American Exposition, to recover.  VP Roosevelt hurried to Buffalo from a speaking tour in Vermont, as did most of McKinley's Cabinet.  Within a few days, McKinley appeared to be recovering, so Roosevelt left to join his vacationing family in the Adirondacks.  Just two days later as he returned from a hike up Mt. Marcy, a messenger arrived with a telegram stating, "The President appears to be dying, ... ."  McKinley died at 2:15 a.m. on September 14 while Roosevelt was on a train rushing to Buffalo.  Upon his arrival, he called on Mrs. McKinley, and after discussing the matter with other cabinet members, it was decided to hold Roosevelt's swearing-in ceremony at the home of Ansley Wilcox, where Roosevelt had stayed during his prior brief visit.

With borrowed, mismatched clothes in a room filled with slip-covered chairs, as the family had not yet returned from its summer away, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President of the United States at 3:30 p.m.

Newspaper account of Roosevelt's inauguration

TR Inaugural NHS (NPS)