September 4, 1901 - The President's Arrival at the Pan Am
The train carrying the president and his wife pulled into a special platform built at one of the entrances to the exposition grounds. Wearing a black frock coat and a high, black silk hat, President McKinley, his right arm tightly around his wife's waist, disembarked. Following a short and ceremonious greeting by John Milburn, the head of the exposition's board of directors, President and Mrs. McKinley, watched by a crowd of more than sixty thousand, stepped into a low wheeled victoria drawn by four exquisite trotters, and made a quick tour of the exposition grounds. The McKinleys were then driven to John Milburn's home on Delaware Avenue, about one mile south of the exposition. They were scheduled to return to the exposition the next day.
September 5 - The President Visits Pan Am
On September 5, the crowd at the exposition, over 116,000 people, broke all records. The great rush came after supper. ''Every streetcar was loaded and passengers clung to the steps''. The whole city, it seemed, was traveling to the Exposition. After 6:00 about thirty thousand people were admitted through the various gates.
First came a concert by John Philip Sousa. Then came Henry J. Pain, the ''Fire Works King,'' whose name was synonymous with pyrotechnics, who had promised the ''largest pyrotechnical display ever seen.'' For the finale, thousands of tiny fire balls exploded at once, creating a gigantic, sparking likeness of William McKinley. The sky filled with shining letters: ''Welcome President McKinley, Chief of our Nation and our Empire.''
September 6 - The Assassination
That morning, accompanied by a host of city and exposition officials, the McKinleys boarded a train for Niagara Falls. They visited the falls, walked along the gorge, and toured the Niagara Falls Power Project, which the President referred to as ''the marvel of the Electrical Age.'' After lunch the presidential party returned to Buffalo. Mrs. McKinley went to the Milburn house to rest, and the president to the exposition, where he was scheduled to meet the thousands of people who, in spite of the oppressive heat, were waiting at the Temple of Music.
At 4:00 p.m. the doors of the Temple of Music opened and hundreds of people made an orderly, single-file procession to the front of the auditorium where President McKinley, flanked by John Milburn, stood waiting. It was extremely hot in the room, over ninety degrees, and everybody was carrying handkerchiefs, either wiping their brows or waving them at the president. Leon Czolgosz, however, used his handkerchief to conceal a tiny handgun, and as the fast moving line brought him directly in front of the president, Czolgosz shot him two times in the stomach. ''Giant'' Jim Parker, a six-foot six inch Negro waiter from Atlanta, who was standing directly behind the assassin, smashed him to the floor. While Czolgosz was pounced on and beaten by the attending soldiers and guards, McKinley, amid the screeching pandemonium in the room, was carried out and several minutes later was being rushed in an electrical ambulance to the exposition hospital.
McKinley weakened steadily throughout the day. At 4:00 P.M. on September 13, his pulsations increased again and at 5:00 P.M. he suffered a heart attack. Aware himself of the futility of further efforts to save him, at 8:00 that night McKinley asked to have a last word with his wife. At 9:00 he lost consciousness, and at 2:10 the following morning he died.