There is no denying that John and I enjoy visiting National Park sites. We visit national parks, monuments, memorials, historical parks, battlefields and seashores whenever we can. We are not choosey.
A good share of the National Park Service sites today can be credited back to President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt is often considered the “Conservation President”. After becoming President in 1901, he used his authority to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the US Forest Service and establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments by enabling the 1906 American Antiquities Act. During his presidency, Teddy Roosevelt protected approximately 230 million acres of public lands.
While most people know that Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States, that he lead the rough riders and that he and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were cousins. What some may not know is how he became and was inaugurated as president.
John read somewhere about the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo, New York, so of course, we had to check it out since we had visited the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota before. It was in North Dakota that we learned how and why Roosevelt became a conservationist. But we didn’t know much about how Teddy became President.
The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site just looked like a home. In fact, we drove by it a couple of times before we realized that was what we were looking for. It took a bit to figure out that there was a parking lot behind the house.
On September 5, 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition, anarchist Leon Czolgosz twice shot President William McKinley. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was on a speaking engagement in Vermont when he learned of the shooting and headed back to Buffalo. He arrived in Buffalo and was invited by his friend Ainsley Wilcox to stay at his house.
For several days following surgery, McKinley’s condition improved and it was believed the president would make a complete recovery. Assured that McKinley was out of danger, Roosevelt left Buffalo on September 10, after spending four days at the Wilcox home. He then joined his family who was vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State. Before leaving, Roosevelt gave his itinerary to Ainsley Wilcox.
On September 13th, while Roosevelt was hiking on Mt. Marcy, he received an urgent telegram telling him that McKinley’s condition worsened and that he should return to Buffalo Immediately.
While Teddy was returning to Buffalo he learned that President McKinley had died. When he arrived in Buffalo, his friend Ainsley picked him up and again took him to his home.
The most pressing issue was where and when to swear Roosevelt in. The first suggestion was to take him to the Milburn home, but that plan was changed because the body of President McKinley was in the home.
Then it was suggested the Wilcox home. Upon arrival, Roosevelt borrowed some clothes to go pay his respects the McKinley family.
Arriving back at the Wilcox house, with 6 of the 8 cabinet members in attendance, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President at 3:31 PM on September 14, 1901 in the library of the Wilcox home.
The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site was quite interesting. The visitor center offers tours of the home and the exhibits.
Some of the exhibits were interactive. One of the exhibits we liked was one where you could sit behind a replica of Roosevelt’s desk and have your picture taken. Then they will email a file with a picture of a newspaper announcing you as president.
While we did take the photo together for the newspaper, we did snap photos of each of us behind the desk. Which one do think looks more presidential? John or me?
Open daily 9 – 5 Sundays 12 – 5
Museum visit is by guided tour only. Tours scheduled every hour at the bottom of the hour, beginning at 9:30 a.m. weekdays and 12:30 p.m. weekends. Last tour at 3:30 p.m. on Sun.-Mon., Wed. -Sat. Last tour at 6:30 pm on Tues.
Adult – $10.00
Senior – 62 and over – $7.00
College Student – with ID – $7.00
Child – 6-18 – $5.00
Family – 2 adults and children 18 or under – $25.00
(Covers museum admission and tour. All visits to the historic home are by guided tour.)