Thank you to Shawn Wood of Studio7 for this spectacular image of the McKinley National Memorial receiving the love it deserves. You thought your work was a challenge…. Mr. Wood’s photograph gives us an amazingly rare look at the festoons of ivy that ring the top of the monument. To the artist the ivy symbolizes McKinley’s character-constancy according to a September 29, 1907 Repository article that appears one day before the dedication of the McKinley National Memorial. In Architect Magonigle’s plans it calls for the festoons of ivy. Each ivy leaf has a bronze post to lift it up and away from the granite surface to create an added dimension.
Wedded to the Sea… (The Christening of the Battleship Ohio)
12:20 pm Pacific Time Mary Barber of Canton, Ohio daughter of Mary Saxton Barber stood by the apparatus that gave the signal to release the Battleship Ohio down the ways and into San Francisco Bay. Uncle William known to the world as President McKinley was nearby silently overseeing the entire celebration.
The trip of a lifetime for many began in Washington D.C. President McKinley was embarking on a Tour to the Pacific Coast. The train of the Southern Railway pulled away from the Washington station at 10:30 am Eastern time on Monday April 29th, carrying the President and First Lady, most of the President’s Cabinet, and their spouses or relatives. The original plan was to cover over ten thousand miles out to California and back to Washington, during the greater part of fifty days. The official trip roster contained forty people. The trip would have to alter and history would turn out different than planned because of the health of Mrs. Ida Saxton McKinley. The most important objective was to witness the christening of the Battleship Ohio, named in honor of William McKinley’s home state.
On Saturday May 18th the President would rise in the home of Mr. Irving Scott, President of the Union Iron Works. He left his beloved wife the First Lady, Ida McKinley at the Scott residence where she was recovering from her, most accounts say “near to death” episode. Mrs. McKinley had a felon on her finger caused by an infection to a severe point. Now she was recovering and well enough for the President to leave her to attend the christening ceremonies.
President McKinley departed the Scott residence at 9:42 am for the transport dock where he would board the Slocum. He was joined by Ohio Governor Nash and a close family friend of the governor’s, Miss Helen Deshler. The Slocum made its way up the San Francisco Bay toward the Union Iron Works where the launching would take place. As the Slocum passed other ships in the bay they saluted President McKinley with cheers, and six inch guns thundering the twenty-one gun salute. Every boat, tug, and ship in the bay area was out to greet the President.
Upon arrival at 11:15 am to the dry dock opposite the ways where the massive haul of the Ohio sat, President McKinley was greeted by the workers of the Union Iron Works. Several ships where either in dry dock or in the bay waiting to be completed including; the cruiser Tacoma, the torpedo destroyer Paul Jones and the Alaska. At precisely 12:22 pm with shouts of joy, countless national flags fluttering in the wind, the Chief Executive and his party, and the Governors of seven states and territories the mighty Battleship Ohio slipped into the waters of the San Francisco Bay “Wedded to the Sea.”
Miss Mary Barber, of Canton, Ohio Niece of the President and First Lady pressed the button that activated the guillotine severing the rope restraining the ship to the ways. As the ship made its way to the water Miss Helen Deshler of Columbus, Ohio released the ribbons and the net that held the bottle that christened the ship crushing the glass bottle on the iron. With a voice that was lost to the din of the crowd Miss Deshler shouted “I Christen Thee Ohio!” According to the Riverside Daily Press of Riverside, California, no other war ship’s launching has ever been so honored as the Buckeye State’s namesake. One hundred and twenty years ago today at the hour of this writing was launch the mighty Battleship Ohio.
Check out what is happening in our Library this Winter. Our museum is partnered with Walsh University to immerse you into the story of President McKinley and his wife Ida Saxton McKinley and how they fit into the Stark County Story. The Walk with the President is getting a major facelift. Our team is just getting started and this is what we did this morning.
The Walsh University Team on A Walk With The President Tour # 1
President McKinley & Vice President Hobart Inspecting the Troops 1899
While going through the photographs we have in the McKinley Presidential collection I found three that were taken in Plattsburgh, New York. I looked at the first two photographs and determined they could have been taken almost anywhere. The third one, above, featured full views of two buildings that President McKinley and his party passed.
Going to Google Maps, I searched for the city of Plattsburgh, NY. The program offers an aerial view in the maps portion, and a satellite view in Google Earth. The program also offers a street view where possible. I went to the street view and it took me to this location, or a location with buildings very similar to the buildings in the above photograph.
Next, I found and called Clinton County Historical Association and Museum where I spoke to Julie, their historian. She told me the area where President McKinley and Vice-President Hobart were in this 1899 photograph was government land from 1814 to 1994. The government purchased this land after the battle of Plattsburg in 1814, and the Air Force last occupied this land in 1994. The land and the buildings that occupy it now belong to the city, and are privately owned.
Son, Citizen, Teacher, Citizen turned Soldier, Lawyer, Husband, Father, Congressman, Governor, President. It is so easy to visit the sights where William McKinley lived, and brush over the fact that he was a man of extreme integrity. In the 2008 election, one of the questions asked of the general public was: “Which candidate would you like to have a beer with?” Well, I wouldn’t want to have a beer with President McKinley (because I don’t drink beer) but I would love to have dinner with him? The point of the question was which candidate would you feel most comfortable chatting with, and which would you trust most. William McKinley has my vote for being trustworthy. Integrity, friendship, loyalty, are rare qualities these days, and when you find them, you hang onto them.
When you study any person, or thing, or idea in history, please consider what happened before the monuments were placed in their honor.
They did a tremendous amount of work to deserve their remembrance.
The list of President McKinley’s accomplishments are the results of him working, caring, and honoring the people around him. More later…
Today, is dedicated to clearing this table of donations. Cataloging consists of recording the details of all of the objects donated to the museum. This is accomplished by recording text, and capturing an image of the object, or document. Next, we find a home for this donation. Part of the record tells us where to find the object later. Many researchers will benefit from the labor that is put into cataloging these treasures of Stark County, and President McKinley. Thank you to our volunteers, and our staff for contributing to this process. An orchestration of cooperation is key to keeping our standards high, and our quality of service to the community superior. Thank you to all that support our preservation! More later…
The Mckinley Presidential Library has been monumentally busy. We sometimes have three or four research parties at once! Some people are interested in visiting the Presidential Library, and others who are researching Stark County. Genealogy questions have been very busy lately. Many people are looking for a connection, or a link to President McKinley. The day starts out viewing the first picture, looking to the left, and then looking right reveals the monument to the man who called Canton, Ohio home.