Today a little past 4pm, President William McKinley was shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY in 1901.

McKinley was taken to the Exposition Hospital that was set up on the grounds. Doctors performed emergency surgery to repair the damage to the president’s digestive system caused by the bullet. During the surgery, the doctors were unable to find the bullet.

Here is the front page of the Scranton Times from Sept 6, 1901.


His condition did improve some after emergency surgery. But he did take a turn for the worst and in the early morning hours of September 14 he died.

His vice president Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as president on the afternoon of September 14 in Buffalo.

Here is the front page of the Scranton Times from September 14, 1901.

Once again, Scranton has place in this moment in history.  A Delaware, Lackawanna an Western train was sent from Scranton to New York City to pick up a heart surgeon. The train then took the surgeon onto Buffalo to aide the president. After the death of president, D.D. Jones & Son Funeral Home in Scranton lent the use of their horse-drawn hearse for McKinley’s funeral procession. The hearse was describe as having hand-craved ornamentation, fine draperies and upholstery.

Scrantonians felt the city needed a memorial to the late president. Money was raised to hire sculptor William Cooper to created a bust of McKinley.  The bust was unveiled and dedicated on June 24, 1904. It was originally located at the corner of Washington Ave and Linden Street.

As part of celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Middle District of Pennsylvania in the federal court system, the McKinley bust was restored and moved the duly named McKinley Plaza on the grounds of William J. Nealon Federal Building and Courthouse in Scranton. A ceremony was held on May 4, 2001 with U.S. District Judge James Munley giving a speech and U.S. District Judge William J. Nealon unveiling the restored statue.

McKinley signed the legislation creating the Middle District on March 2, 1901. U.S. Rep. William Connell of Scranton pushed for the creation of the Middle District with the headquarters in Scranton.

Judge William J. Nealon unveils the restored bust of President William McKinley at the new McKinley Plaza, located at the William J. Nealon Federal Building on May 4, 2001. Times-Tribune File


To learn more about McKinley and the assassination, check out these sites –

William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum 

William McKinley – The White House

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site