McKinley National Memorial

From Ohio History Central

William McKinley, Jr., was president of the United States from March 1897 to September 1901. McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio, but he spent much of his life in Canton, Ohio. Elected to two terms as president, McKinley's second term began as a celebration of the United States' victory in the Spanish-American War. Economic prosperity also seemed to have returned, following the Panic of 1893. The United States was involved in the Philippino Insurrection, as the nation tried to solidify its control over the Philippine Islands, but most Americans remained unconcerned with this conflict. To celebrate these accomplishments, McKinley embarked on a cross-country tour during the summer of 1901. Before returning to Washington, DC, McKinley stopped at Buffalo, New York, to give a speech at the Pan American Exposition. Leon Czolgosz assassinated McKinley at the exposition. McKinley died on September 14, 1901, eight days after being shot. McKinley was the second president from Ohio to be assassinated. He also was the third president from Ohio to not survive his term in office.

To honor McKinley, schoolchildren from across the United States donated money to build the McKinley National Memorial in Canton. The McKinley Memorial Association, formed after the president's death, helped raise the funds. The memorial also is a tomb, with McKinley, his wife Ida Saxton McKinley, and two of the McKinleys' children interred inside. Harold Van Buren Magonigle designed the McKinley National Memorial. Construction began on the memorial in 1905. Workers used over two million bricks in the tomb's construction. The memorial is capped with two domes. One dome, which is fifty feet in diameter and seventy-five feet high, is known as the interior dome. The exterior dome is seventy-five feet in diameter and ninety-five feet high. President Theodore Roosevelt, who became president upon McKinley's death, dedicated the memorial on September 30, 1907.

Next to the McKinley National Memorial is the Wm. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. This museum contains one of the largest collections of McKinley artifacts. It also maintains exhibits on Stark County's history.

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