Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘William McKinley’

McKinley Museum Spotlights Stark County

Near the foot of the McKinley Monument, Stark County Historical Society has gathered interesting information and memorabilia regarding the surrounding area. as well as the life of William McKinley.  The bust of McKinley greets visitors outside the building.

As you enter the lobby of the McKinley Museum in Canton, Ohio, a sign with a quote caught my eye. It was a word of advice to young people from President William McKinley:

“Young men and women, what your education will be and do for you depends upon yourselves.”                                                            

Within these walls is quite an extensive history of the Stark County area including leading enterprises, such as Belden Brick, Dueber-Hampden Watch Company, Erie Canal, Hoover Vacuum, Pennsylvania Railroad,  and Timken Company just to name a few. Henry Timken founded Timken Roller Bearing Company in 1902 and his entrepeneur vision was grounded in this type of thinking:

“If you have an idea which you think is right, push it to a finish. But above all, don’t set your name to anything you will ever have cause to be ashamed of.”

McKinley Museum had many interesting exhibits throughout, too numerable to mention. Here are a few things that caught my eye on a recent visit.

One fascinating display showed a clock tower made by Dueber-Hampden Watch Co with a sign “Accurate to the Second.”  That was way back in 1889! By 1890 the company was producing 600 watches a day in Canton, Ohio and had over a thousand employees. They used 14 karat gold  in their watch cases and had 17 jewel movement, quite advanced for their time. This company was sold to a Russian company in 1927 and twenty-one former employees went to Russia to teach them their craft.  One report is that their machinery is still being used in China today.

The Hoover Vacuum provided a display that attracted lines of children. While seated in a chair, they pressed a button which created enough suction to lift them well off the floor. The Power of the Hoover! It is very fitting to be highlighted here as the first upright vacuum was invented by a department store janitor, James Spangler, in Canton back in 1906. He just happened to show it to his cousin, Susan Hoover, who in turn shared it with her husband.  “Boss” Hoover bought the patent from Spangler, hired him as Superintendent, and slowly began the switch from maker of leather-goods to vacuum manufacturer.  The slogan: “It beats..as it Sweeps…as it Cleans” brought the Hoover Vacuum to the forefront.

This was the original hand-sewn 45 star American flag that hung on the front porch of McKinley’s home during the 1896 presidential campaign.  During his famous “Front Porch Campaign”, McKinley made himself available to the public every Sunday afternoon on the front porch of his home. Usually he was seated in his rocking chair from which he talked to 750,000 people who stopped by. Some say he shook hands with up to a million men from that front porch scene. This campaign appealed to the average voter, who found themselves drawn to a candidate that stayed true to his roots.

Rooms were redesigned to look very much like the ones of long ago with their Victorian furnishings. A touch of some form of music was often in evidence as that would have been one of their main means of entertainment. In the parlor, you had an opportunity to listen to talking figures of William and Ida McKinley. Notice that he does have on his symbol, the red carnation.These plastic figures are activated by sensors when you enter the room.

The Hazlett Theater is a fine spot to give your feet a rest and watch some old films from days gone by. Here you hear about the campaigns of William McKinley and get to have an inside video tour of the Memorial.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, so sadly missed the show at the Hoover Price Planetarium where visitors view the solar system and beyond. They say it is like traveling to space without leaving the ground.  Unfortunately, didn’t make it to Discover World either where dinosaurs and early American Indians welcome visitors to Natural History Island, Ecology Island and the new spot, Fascination Station.  Looks like a return visit is in order.

The McKinley Museum  is located in downtown Canton, Ohio just off I-77. Take Exit 105 for OH 172, then turn right on 7th Street NW. Take the first left onto McKinley Monument Drive where the Museum is located to the left when facing the memorial. Enjoy a little piece of Ohio history.

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Majestic McKinley Monument Canton, Ohio

“I have never been in doubt since I was old enough to think intelligently, that I would someday be made president.”  These words were  spoken during his youth by President William McKinley, the first president to ride in an automobile while in office as well as the first to use a telephone as part of his campaign.

The resting place of William McKinley, 25th president of the United States, catches your eye driving down I-77 through Canton, Ohio.  The domed mausoleum is more than a mere resting place, but serves as a  a monument to Canton’s favorite son and former governor of Ohio. There are several reasons that McKinley is a favorite in this area: Canton is where he started his law career, found his true love, and ran for the highest office in the land.  But while attending the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, President McKinley was assassinated just seconds after giving the red carnation from his label to a little girl waiting in line.

In 1905 construction was begun after selecting a memorial design drafted by Harold Van Buren Magonigle.  This architect began his career at the age of thirteen when he worked as a draftsman for the firm that designed Central Park in New York City.

The front steps seem to be a real attraction for area residents as a wonderful place for exercise, either walking or running.  Since there are 108 steps up to the McKinley Monument, it is a challenge to young and old alike. The front steps are fifty feet wide and are broken into four flights of twenty four steps with the final flight having only twelve. Nearing the top of the stairs, visitors are greeted by a 9 1/2′ bronze statue of William McKinley created by Charles Henry Nishaus.

The circular mausoleum recaptured the spirit of ancient cultures and formed the center of the cross design Magonigle intended to create. The longer arm of the cross was formed by front steps and what was called Long Water. Originally Long Water was a spectacular part of the monument with a 575-foot lagoon, consisting of five different water levels cascading downward into a reflecting pool.  Unfortunately, due to stagnant water caused by poor circulation, this lagoon was filled back in the 1950’s. Both side arms of the cross were formed by shorter entry steps, and the top portion was a driveway behind the monument.

Magonigle considered this shape to have a double meaning. The upper part of the cross resembled the handle of a sword, while the Long Water symbolized the blade.  This seemed appropriate due to McKinley’s military career during the Civil War as well as his being commander-in-chief during the Spanish-American War.

Above ground in the pink granite memorial, President McKinley and his First Lady are entombed in a double sarcophagus of elegant green granite on a dark maroon granite base.  Their two daughters have found their final resting place here also, entombed in the back wall of the memorial. Wreaths are constantly being placed by individuals and organizations at the foot of the granite clad coffins. Most of the wreaths are in traditional red, white and blue.

Seventy-five feet overhead is a beautiful red, white and blue skylight with a 45 star design, representing the number of states in the Union at the time of McKinley’s death. While it looks small from below, this beautiful window to the sky  measures twelve feet in diameter.

If you wish to visit the memorial without climbing all those stairs, there are two possibilities. A steep road leads up the hill behind the Memorial, or there is also an elevator, which operates only during museum business hours by use of a special code.

Hopefully, this monument and the life of William McKinley will be an inspiration to someone today.  President McKinley had hopes for this when he said, “That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime, to set an example, and when he is dead, to be an inspiration to history.”

The McKinley Monument is located in downtown Canton, Ohio just off I-77. Take Exit 105 for OH 172, then turn right on 7th Street NW. Take the first left onto McKinley Monument Drive and enjoy a little piece of history.

McKinley’s Victorian Style Home First Ladies Historic Site

Could the sound of footsteps on the spiral staircase at the Saxton McKinley House be those of Ida McKinley? Once in a while the footsteps echo late at night, and the light step is attributed to Ida. That seems quite possible as this was her family home where she lived for twenty-eight years.

Beautiful gardens connect the Education and Research Center to the Ida Saxton McKinley House, both part of the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, Ohio. Visitors were greeted by a  young lady dressed in a replica of Julia Tyler’s gown. She was very knowledgeable regarding the history of the house and the family.

To add a little mystery, there are conflicting stories as to how Ida and William McKinley met each other.  Some said Ida was a cashier in the bank where William transacted business for the law firm he joined when moving to Canton. Another story said that both Ida and William were Sunday School teachers at different churches, and passed each other on the way to church.  Or perhaps they met during a picnic at Myers Lake Park. However they met, William indulged her every whim and was seldom far from her side, which turned out to be a major political asset.

The Saxton McKinley House was originally built in 1840 by Ida’s maternal grandfather, George DeWalt. Her other grandfather, John Saxton, was founder of the Canton Repository newspaper. Her affluent background made it possible to lead an extravagant lifestyle. Almost everything inside the house today is a reproduction, but based very carefully on the Victorian style used in the original 1800’s house – after extensive research at the Smithsonian. Fortunately, there are still original walls and woodwork throughout much of the home.

In the Formal Parlor you get a glimpse of a music box purchased on Ida’s trip to Switzerland as well as the piano topped with Victorian sheet music, which she enjoyed playing. The Library held William McKinley’s chair and a large collection of Ida’s fans, which numbered over 250. On the third floor, William had his office across the hall from Ida’s room so he could be close to her.  Their second child, Ida, died at six months of age and two years later Katie, their three year old, contracted typhoid fever and passed away. Consumed by her grief, Ida’s headaches became more severe, accompanied by seizures and tremors.

To ease her migraine headaches, her hair was cut because the weight of the braids was considered a possible cause. Medication for her seizures often made her listless. These two problems made it necessary for Ida to sit as much as possible and this petite lady with a 20″ waist, 18″ when corseted, attempted to hide her afflictions as much as possible.  If she had an attack out in public, William would put a handkerchief over her face so people would not glimpse her facial contortions during seizures.

Also on the third floor was the beautiful ballroom for entertaining. Today the walls of that ballroom display short stories and pictures regarding the life of each First Lady. Many interesting facts were given about various First Ladies, for example,  Francis Cleveland happened to be America’s youngest First Lady. Grover Cleveland was a friend of the family’s and actually bought Francis her baby carriage.

The McKinleys only lived at the Saxton McKinley House for a short time  between 1878-1895, while William was serving in the US House of Representatives and then as Governor of Ohio. During his presidential campaign, they moved to a more modest home, which more closely matched William’s background.

Often we hear stories about our presidents, so it was refreshing to hear stories about their First Ladies and catch a glimpse at their lifestyle.  A friend wrote about Ida Saxton McKinley, “Her greatest charm was her perfect sincerity and thoughtfulness for others.  No day passed over her head without her doing something for someone.”  What a great tribute to this special First Lady!

The Saxton McKinley House is located  off I-77 in Canton, Ohio right next door to the First Ladies Library at 205 Market Street South. All tours of the facility are guided and admission, which includes  both the Library and the House, is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children. 

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