McKinley, Roosevelt, and the Pan-American Exposition


The Pan-American Exposition, which opened in May 1901, was the pride of Buffalo. The city sparkled with new electric lights that boasted the power and potential of the electricity produced by nearby Niagara Falls. President William McKinley called it a symbol of the “progress of the human family of the Western Hemisphere.”  Little did President McKinley know this speech, full of hope for the future, would be his last. On September 6, 1901, Buffalo became known for something other than electricity or the glittering Pan American Exposition: it became the city where one president was assassinated, and another was inaugurated. Join Dan and Elizabeth as they discuss an anarchist, an assassination, and the unconventional inauguration of one of our nation’s most unconventional presidents.

As a little plug for our fair city – you should definitely stop in and see the incredible Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. And while you’re in town, take some time to wander around Delaware Park, where you can check out the last few remnants of the Pan American Exposition (now the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo History Museum).  


Logo of the 1901 Pan American Exposition | Raphael Beck / Public Domain

Show Notes and Further Reading

Fisher, Jack. Stolen Glory: The McKinley Assassination. La Jolla: Alamar Books, 2001.

Kachun, Mitch.”big Jim” Parker and the Assassination of William Mckinley: Patriotism, Nativism, Anarchism, and the Struggle for African American Citizenship.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 9 (1), 93–116.

Miller, Scott. The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century. New York: Random House Publishing, 2013.

Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. New York: Random House, 2001.

Morris, Edmund. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1979.

The Last Speech of President William McKinley, September 5, 1901




The Ansley Wilcox Mansion, now the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site  | Courtesy of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, Buffalo, NY


Feature Image: The room where Theodore Roosevelt became president – the library in the Wilcox Mansion | Courtesy of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation, Buffalo, NY


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