Travel Treasures Close to Home: Ohio Presidents Part II

by Tom Reed
WMV Web News Cleveland
Story filed September 7, 2007

We may travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to visit a tourist destination, but we sometimes overlook the attractions in our own backyard. This is the second in a series on Ohio Presidential sites by freelance travel writer Tom Reed.

Canton, Ohio, is observing a special centennial in September. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the McKinley National Monument. The imposing structure was dedicated on September 30, 1907, to honor Cantonís favorite son William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States. McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio, but he called Canton his home, and used it as his springboard for election as U.S. Congressman, as Governor of Ohio, and finally as the nationís chief executive.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the speaker, 100 years ago, at the dedication of the memorial to McKinley, felled by an assassinís bullet at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in September of 1901. The centennial this year will be observed with an anniversary dinner and other special events.

The bodies of McKinley, his wife Ida Saxton McKinley, and their two young daughters are entombed inside the dome. Getting there requires climbing 108 steps, but an elevator is available for those who need it. Part way up the steps is a statue of the president, based on a photograph taken just a few hours before he was assassinated.

Even if you donít make the climb, be sure to visit the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum nearby. The name tells only part of the story. To be sure, there are displays of memorabilia about McKinley, ranging from his Canton days to the White House. But there is much more. The Historical Hall displays typical house interiors of the period. The Street of Shops recreates a 19th century business district, with shops of all kinds, ranging from a toy store to the corner saloon. An elaborate model railroad display depicts historic sites of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Stark County.

The kids will enjoy Discover World, an interactive science center that takes them from the dinosaur age to the space age. In addition to all of this, the museum houses the Hoover-Price Planetarium, described as one of the best-equipped planetariums of its size in the world.

A special exhibit ďCelebrating 100 Years! Building the McKinley National MemorialĒ runs through November 11. The exhibition features images and artifacts from the construction of the monument, including historic photographs never before exhibited in Stark County.

For more information, check out the website www.mckinleymuseum.org.

And if youíre interested in the presidency, you may also want to visit the National First Ladiesí Library www.firstladies.org in downtown Canton. The structure was the family home of Ida Saxton McKinley.


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Copyright 2007 Tom Reed