Pan-American Exposition Links

James Benjamin Parker at the Pan-Am

Source: The True Story of the Assassination of President McKinley at Buffalo

Source: Steel Plant Museum at the Lackawanna Public Library

Photograph of wash drawing by T. Dart Walker. -- Source:
American Memory - Library of Congress

Click on illustrations for larger size

On September 6, President McKinley awoke early as was his custom. At 7:15 A.M., fully dressed for the day in his habitual black frock coat and black silk hat, he eluded the small Secret Service entourage that surrounded the Milburn house and took a solitary walk down Delaware Avenue.

Later that morning, accompanied by a host of city and exposition officials, the McKinleys boarded a train for Niagara Falls. They visited the falls, walked along the gorge, and toured the Niagara Falls Power Project, which the President referred to as "the marvel of the Electrical Age."

After lunch the presidential party returned to Buffalo. Mrs. McKinley went to the Milburn house to rest, and the president to the exposition, where he was scheduled to meet the thousands of people who, in spite of the oppressive heat, were waiting at the
Temple of Music, a large, vaguely Byzantine structure on the north side of the fairgrounds.

No one had waited longer than "Giant" Jim Parker, a six-foot six inch Negro waiter from Atlanta who had been standing outside the temple since mid-morning. Finally, at 4:00 P.M. the doors of the Temple of Music opened and hundreds of people made an orderly, single-file procession to the front of the auditorium where President McKinley, flanked by John Milburn and his personal secretary, George Cortelyou, stood waiting. It was extremely hot in the room -- over ninety degrees -- and everybody was carrying handkerchiefs, either wiping their brows or waving them at the president. Leon Czolgosz, however, used his handkerchief to conceal a tiny handgun, and as the fast-moving line brought him directly in front of the president, Czolgosz shot him two times in the stomach.

Parker, who was standing directly behind the assassin, smashed him to the floor. While Czolgosz was pounced on and beaten by the attending soldiers and guards, McKinley, amid the screeching pandemonium in the room, was carried out and several minutes later was being rushed in an electrical ambulance to the exposition hospital.

-- Source: Pan American Exposition: World's Fair as Historical Metaphor (M. Goldman)

See also: : Leon Czolgosz confession at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum

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