Buffalo: A Presidential Destination
Buffalo is rife with presidential history. 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 in 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 the inauguration of 2021 has you thinking about the Presidency and the men who have occupied that office, check out these sites and fun facts that place Buffalo at the center of many points in 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.
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. President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train stopped in Buffalo; thousands attended a procession and public viewing downtown.
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.