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William McKinley
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William McKinley Tomb
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Jeff Winstel

The 25th President of the United States, William McKinley is memorialized by this pink granite Beaux Arts structure. Located in Canton’s Westlawn Cemetery, the McKinley tomb is 96 feet in height and 79 feet in diameter. A twelve-year veteran of Congress and two term Governor, McKinley was elected President by popular vote in 1896. His presidency is noted for passage of the Dingley Tariff Act of 1897, which greatly raised import duties, and the Gold Standard Act of 1900, which made the gold dollar the sole standard of currency. McKinley’s greatest impact was on U.S. foreign policy. After the explosion of the battleship U.S.S. Maine in Havana’s harbor, McKinley sent a war message to Congress. The Spanish American War earned independence for Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States and led to the U.S. annexation of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, which later became a Commonwealth. This marked the beginning of American involvement in Caribbean and Far Eastern affairs. The President was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and was succeeded in the office of the Presidency by Theodore Roosevelt.

[photo] Dedication of McKinley Memorial in 1907
Photo courtesy of the Ohio Memory website

Designed by architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle, the McKinley tomb was financed by public subscription. Midway up the 108 steps leading to the entrance is a 9 ½ foot bronze statue of McKinley delivering his last speech in Buffalo. The exterior of the double-walled tomb is little ornamented. Festoons of ivy decorate the frieze, and a civic crown with a laurel wreath of gilded bronze surmounts the dome. The entrance is set in a semicircular arched opening. Each of the double doors is 12 by 24 feet, and at the time of construction were the largest doors in the Nation. The floor of the mausoleum features different hued marble laid in a cross pattern. At the center, two polished dark-green granite sarcophagi rest atop a 10-foot square polished dark maroon granite base and contain the remains of President and Mrs. McKinley.

The William McKinley Tomb is located at 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW in Canton, Ohio and can be viewed Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sundays, 12pm-5pm; closed major holidays. The Monument may be closed December 1-April. Please call (330) 455-7043 for further information. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is located near the McKinley Tomb at 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW and administers the memorial. The museum is open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday-Saturday, and 12:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday. An admission fee is charged. For more information, visit the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum website or call (330)455-7043.

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