A day of history – yeah!

Trip Start May 13, 2011
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Trip End May 16, 2011


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Flag of United States  , New York
Monday, May 16, 2011

If you know me well, you know I love history. I love how it transports us back to another time.  We can learn so much from studying our past.  Oddly, similarities do exist between our present time and people and events that happened a hundred, or thousands years ago.  History does repeat itself, if we look close enough.  I wish that by studying the past we can repeat all its successes, joys, and blessings, and cease to repeat travesties, oppression, and other sins of our nature.

Reviving my history love, we explored one major event in Buffalo's history – The Pan Am Exposition of 1901, a world’s fair of sorts attended by over eight million people, and where President McKinley tragically met his end at the bullet of an assassin.  Such a big day would require a big breakfast, and after being turned down at our hotel due to slow service, and IHOP for being completely closed, we headed for our second visit to Denny’s.  We knew from our Friday late night visit, Buffalo Denny’s was rockin’. We grabbed a customizable Grand Slam, and were smacked down with a load of pancakes, eggs, grits, oatmeal and yogurt.  With our stomachs fully satisfied, we waddled out ready to locate the Wilcox mansion where Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in as President.  Heading south several miles, we found the home DIRECTLY across from our hotel, where we had been staying for the past several nights!  After a quick laugh and a jaywalk later, we entered the most awesomist museum in Buffalo.  Totally tricked out with interactive displays, period furniture and furnishings, it was a museum lovers delight.  The tour guide attempted to take us back one hundred years to September 1901.  His acting was quite amusing, because he rushed and stumbled through his lines.  It was painfully obvious he recited the same dialog at least a hundred times before.  But all-in-all, a great visit.  I even left with an emailed picture of me at the oval office desk, which made front page news!

Next, Cary and I were dying to see where President McKinley gave up the ghost.  Very sadly, the beautiful Victorian home was torn down in the fifties for construction of Canisius High School.   Travesty!  Luckily, the Wilcox home didn’t meet the same fate.  In the sixties a group of local citizens raised enough money and awareness to purchase the Wilcox home to protect it as a national landmark.  Really, do you think maybe Canisius could have built somewhere else?  So I grabbed a quick shot of the blue sign marker, and the ugly parking lot, and headed back to the car to study the map to locate the next stop:  site of McKinley’s assassination.

Almost all of the buildings of the Pan Am Exposition have been torn down, except for one, the New York State Building. Actually, that was part of the plan, as they were considered "temporary" structures, thrown together with plaster, chicken wire and flimsy plywood.  Now the fair grounds are home to gorgeous mansions nestled in a quiet tree-filled neighborhood.  We headed up Lincoln street to Fordham.  After going twice up and down, and a quick U-turn, I finally spotted the brass marker stuck on a boulder.  It stated:  ”In the Pan-American Temple of Music which covered this spot President McKinley was fatally shot Sept. 6, 1901. “  McKinley was the third president shot in forty years (Lincoln and Garfield earlier). Needless to say, the assassination did give rise to the secret service and better Presidential security.  Why do people have to die before we spend resources and enact laws to improve safety?  I guess because we sometimes we love to live dangerously.  Or maybe we don’t even realize we’ve been living precariously.
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