On Thursday, September 5, 1901, President William McKinley spent his last public appearance at the Pan-American Exposition. McKinley, a lover of World's Fairs, was determined to see as much of the Pan-Am as time would allow. Of special interest to McKinley was the Ohio Statehood Building, from which the President was a native.

When the gates of the Pan-Am opened in the morning, a huge crowd had already gathered with the hopes of catching a glimpse of the 26th President of the United States. It was announced in the press that McKinley might leave the home of Pan-Am President John Milburn around 10:00 in the morning, but crowds began to gather as early as 9:00.
People were lining Delaware Avenue and indiscriminately invading the lawns of the adjoining residents trying to see the President and his wife.

Promptly at 10:00, McKinley emerged from the Milburn house with Mrs. McKinley at his side. A burst of cheers greeted them, which the President acknowledged by bowing and raising his hat. An escort of mounted police and members of the signal corps surrounded the carriages, and the whole entourage set out for the Pan-American Exposition. At the entrance to the Pan-Am grounds, the President was met by a detachment of the United States Marines and the Seacoast Artillery and the 65th and 74th New York Regiments. A 21 gun salute was fired as he passed through the gates and onto the Esplanade where a stand was erected for him to speak from.

The greatest crowd ever assembled at the Pan-Am was there to greet him. Enormous cheers rang out from the crowd as McKinley climbed to the top of the stand behind President Milburn. As soon as Milburn approached the front of the stand, the crowd immediately ceased their cheers and listened. There was absolute quiet when Milburn introduced the President.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the President."

The audience broke out into a tremendous roar which continued at an ear shattering level when McKinley rose and approached the front. It was some minutes before he was able to speak.

"I am glad to be again in the City of Buffalo and exchange the greetings with her people, to whose generous hospitality I am not a stranger, and with whose good will I have been repeatedly and signally honored. Today I have additional satisfaction in meeting and giving welcome to
the foreign representatives assembled here, whose presence and participation in this Exposition have contributed in so marked a degree to its interests and success."

"Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world's advancement. They stimulate the energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people and quicken human genious. They go into the home. They broaden the brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student. Every exposition, great or small, has helped to some onward step. Comparison of ideas is always educational; and as such instructs the brain and hand of man. Friendly rivalry follows, which is the spur to industrial improvement, the inspiration to useful invention and to high endeavor in all departments of human activity."

"The Pan-American Exposition has done its work thoroughly, presenting in its exhibits evidences of the highest skill and illustrating the progress of the human family in the Western Hemisphere. This portion of the earth has no cause for humiliation for the part it has performed in the march of civilization."

The President's speech went on to include topics ranging from the progress of man, the Spanish-American War, and the continuance of industrial growth, which the Pan-Am helped to demonstrate. The speech was frequently interrupted with applause. Upon the conclusion of the address a large number of people through the lines around the stand, and the President was forced to hold an impromptu reception for fifteen minutes, shaking hands with thousands.

The carriages were brought back to stand and the President acknowledged a special invitation to attend a program at the Stadium. When McKinley arrived at 11:45, the Stadium was overrun with people to the last inch of standing room. Cheer after cheer erupted from the vast assemblage as the Chief Executive walked from one end of the Stadium to the other, and back to the reviewing stand. The troops then marched past the stand performing intricate maneuvers for fifteen minutes. Mrs. McKinley was taken to the Woman's Building, where she was entertained by the women managers.

From the Stadium, the President was taken to the Canadian Building, the Agriculture Building and the buildings of the Latin-American countries present at the Exposition. McKinley returned that evening to view the Pan-Am's illumination and a fireworks display.