Buffalo: A Presidential Destination

By Ed Healy

Published on | Last Updated

Buffalo has a long and proud connection to the Presidency of the United States. Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States, was from nearby East Aurora. Grover Cleveland, the only man to serve two non-consecutive terms as President, making him the 22nd and 24th President, got his political start here — serving as the Mayor of Buffalo — before ascending to the highest office in the land. After the assassination of President McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, then Vice President, took the oath of office at Buffalo’s Wilcox Mansion, now the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

If you’re a history buff, we encourage you to check out these sites and fun facts that place Buffalo at the center of Presidential history.

1. The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site is one of only a few sites outside of the nation’s capital where a U.S. president took the oath of office.

Millard Fillmore House

2. The Millard Fillmore House in East Aurora is the only home still standing that a president built with his own hands.

3. The Buffalo History Museum’s collection of artifacts includes the gun that anarchist Leon Czolgosz used to shoot President McKinley.


4. The exact spot where Czolgosz shot McKinley is marked by a small plaque on Fordham Drive, just off of Elmwood Avenue near the history museum. Buffalo memorialized the slain president with the McKinley Monument in Niagara Square.

5. Millard Fillmore was a busy man, concurrently serving as U.S. president and the first chancellor of the University at Buffalo.

6. Grover Cleveland served as both Erie County Sheriff and mayor of Buffalo prior to his rise to two non-consecutive terms at the White House.

7. Where is the presidential go-to spot for chicken wings? It depends on the commander-in-chief. Bill Clinton had pizza and wings from La Nova delivered to Air Force One during a 1999 visit here, while Barack Obama stopped at the Cheektowaga Duff’s during a 2010 visit.

8. Founding Fathers pub on Edward Street may have more presidential memorabilia than some history museums, and bartender Mike Driscoll is master of presidential history. Jut ask him.

9. The portrait of every U.S. president and first lady from George Washington to Ronald Reagan is on display in Buffalo’s Karpeles Manuscript Museum.

10. Millard Fillmore is buried in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Ed Healy headshot

Ed Healy

Ed Healy is the former vice president of marketing for Visit Buffalo Niagara.