Many Have Heard Name But Few Know Of McKinley’s Accomplishments

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A dominating statue in front of the statehouse on High Street honors William McKinley, Ohio's former governor and 25th President.  But how much do we really know about him?

"I've never heard of him," said Jennifer White.  "Wait a minute, President William McKinley?  Yeah, I do know him."

White is certainly not alone in having to think a few seconds when asked about McKinley.

He's certainly not a president that immediately comes to mind.  But he hailed from Ohio and was universally popular in his day.

"Theoretically, we should know a lot about him," said White.  "But we don't.  He's one of those presidents we can't say anything about their administration or anything."

McKinley, who was from Canton, had a style all his own.

When he was nominated for president in 1896 he told Republicans he would be staying at home.

He campaigned from his front porch delivering speeches to crowds that would stop by.

He won big.

His presidency was marked with major accomplishments.

The country went to war against Spain. America won the war and became a global power.

The nation entered into the industrial age and the economy boomed.

That led to McKinley's huge reelection victory in 1900.

His first Vice President died during his first term and McKinley agreed to have a young governor of New York, Theodore Roosevelt, join his ticket.

McKinley was the first president to ever be recorded on film.

In 1901, the president attended the Pan American expo in Buffalo.

People came from all over to hear from their popular president.

But an assassin shocked the nation - firing two shots into McKinley's chest, killing him.

Vice President Teddy Roosevelt became Commander in Chief when McKinley died.

Ben Zenitsky from the Columbus Metropolitan Library says all of this information is available to people interested in American and Ohio history.

"We've had questions over the years, sometimes for student projects," said Russ Pollitt from the Columbus Metropolitan Library.  "Some people are curious about the presidents and Ohio history."