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Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theodore Roosevelt
Inaugural National Historic Site
TR Inaugural Site 2009.jpg
The house as it appeared in summer 2009
LocationBuffalo, New York, US
Coordinates42°54′5.3″N 78°52′20.7″W / 42.901472°N 78.872417°W / 42.901472; -78.872417Coordinates: 42°54′5.3″N 78°52′20.7″W / 42.901472°N 78.872417°W / 42.901472; -78.872417
Area0.147 ha (0.36 acres)
EstablishedNovember 2, 1966
Visitors13,032 (in 2005)
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Location641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, New York
Area1 acre
ArchitectCary, George; U.S. Army
Architectural styleGreek Revival
NRHP reference #66000516[1]
Added to NRHPNovember 2, 1966

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site preserves the Ansley Wilcox House, at 641 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Here, after the assassination of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States on September 14, 1901. A New York historical marker outside the house indicates that it was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's Inauguration.

Property history

Ansley Wilcox House, 1965
Ansley Wilcox House, 1965

The oldest part of the National Historic Site includes the lone surviving structure from the Buffalo Barracks compound. Due to tensions between the U.S. and Anglo-Canada, a military post was constructed to ensure border security. Built in 1839, the post encompassed all the land from Allen Street to North Street and Delaware Ave to Main Street. The structure that would later be incorporated into the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site started life in 1840 as the Barrack's officer's quarters.

After the post was disbanded in 1845, the home reverted to a private residence. Subsequent owners continued to modify the structure adding and demolishing out structures and additions. In the late 19th century, Dexter Rumsey gave the property to his son-in-law Ansley Wilcox and his wife Mary Grace Rumsey. The newest inhabitants made extensive renovations to the structure. Plans of these renovations are still on file at the Historic Site.

In 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition, anarchist Leon Czolgosz twice shot President William McKinley. Although early doctor's reports on the President's condition were positive, McKinley's condition soon worsened. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt rushed back to Buffalo, but arrived only after McKinley had died.

Interior of room in Wilcox House where President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office.
Interior of room in Wilcox House where President Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office.

It was decided to conduct the inauguration immediately due to the tragic and politically charged circumstances of President McKinley's death. The most appropriate site was determined to be the Wilcox home. Approximately 50 dignitaries, family members and cabinet officials gathered in the front library for the inauguration. Federal Judge John R. Hazel administered the oath. No photographic image exists of the ceremony itself, although the room was heavily photographed after the inauguration had concluded.

The Wilcoxes continued to live in the home until their deaths in the 1930s. The home's furniture was sold at a public auction and the property became the Kathryn Lawrence Restaurant. The proprietors removed interior walls, demolished a carriage house, and painted many of the finished wood surfaces before the restaurant ceased operations in 1961.[2]


The first part of the house is a museum displaying many items from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, including wine glasses, plates, playing cards, and the key to the Temple of Music. The last room is a recreation of the office Roosevelt used during his presidency, and includes an interactive desk which can be used to send e-mails to yourself.

Administrative history

The National Historic Site was authorized on November 2, 1966. As an historic area administered by the National Park Service, it was automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "The House at 641 Delaware". Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. National Park Service. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2007-10-18.[permanent dead link]

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2020, at 06:31
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