The Presidential Trail… in Buffalo NY

Seeing that this is an election year, Visit Buffalo Niagara has produced a fun video surrounding the ties that this city has with the White House. Starting at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site and leading their way to the McKinley Monument, host Nelson Starr and TR himself follow the presidential trail as it pertains to Buffalo, NY. Visit the statue of Grover Cleveland as it stands in front of City Hall, before heading off to Forest Lawn to learn about Millard Fillmore. Along the way we are given a concise history lesson, highlighting the important role that Buffalo has had in the presidential realm. 

I bet that you can guess where the presidential tour ended up. What would a tour of this nature be without a stop into one of Buffalo’s most revered pubs, Founding Fathers? The watering hole is a major hotspot for all those who love to imbibe in drink and trivia. Owner Michael Driscoll has been known to stump the best of them with his knowledge of the history of Buffalo.
Tag along with Nelson Starr and TR for a whirlwind tour of a few Buffalo landmarks… you might learn a few things along the way!

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

23 comments
whatever
whatever

Okay, I agree about the museum idea seeming impractical here even for GC. Maybe that's why those people who were trying to do it dropped the idea - if they did.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

not easy for Fillmore if admirers of his presidency seem to number zero. How could a circle be that small?

Ouch. ChristieLou won't be pleased with that statement.

btw, what's with your disdain toward GC?

I have no disdain. I just don't think new museums in Buffalo honoring less than stellar presidents makes sense. The rebadged Buffalo History Museum should be saddled with the mission of explaining the role of these men (in addition to all the other local bits of history that they have to add to their to-do list). Considering that they finally updated their website after they mentioned it on BRO about three or four years ago, I wouldn't bet on it any time soon.

I visited the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock about five years ago. I love the building's design and the setting on the river is spectacular. (I can see why Clinton keeps an apartment in the building.) However, I think the exhibits are a somewhat stale sales pitch to Clinton's legacy: an obvious drawback to having living presidents involved in their own museum/library.

whatever
whatever

Paul - not easy for Fillmore if admirers of his presidency seem to number zero. How could a circle be that small?

For GC, at least there's me, plus whoever made that web page you linked, and the Hawaiians in that news video I linked which shows them visiting Buffalo to see his statue, etc.

btw, what's with your disdain toward GC?

He was a northeast Democrat who was very anti-war, anti-imperialism, had a Clintonesque personal life, and to top it off he chose to be a Buffalonian for many years.

Nothing to like even with all that? lol

flyguy
flyguy

Wait...the north won? The war is over? Did anyone tell the south that? Seems 150 years later there are still bitter anti-northern confederate flag flying swaths of the south. Its still a raw issue in parts. You know northen Virginia is "Occupied Virginia" right?

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

... while GC is at least in some small circles viewed very positively...

Popularity is easy if you make the circles small enough.

whatever
whatever

"If not for Fillmore, we might have avoided the entire Civil War."

Okay, but I've also heard some argue that MF's actions delayed the Civil War which had the effect (even if accidental) of giving the North longer time to prepare and advance industrially.

lol, maybe a museum would hold debates about whether he both accidentally caused it and accidentally helped win it.

But yeah, either way, MF is generally viewed as among the least successful presidents while GC is at least in some small circles viewed very positively even now.

For obscure president museums, I don't know which kind of image would attract more visitors. I'd guess a positive image, but maybe it would be only very few visitors for either guy.

brownteeth
brownteeth

*you're - if you're going to call someone a name, you should know your grammar.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

Presidential Libraries are anything but stale, stagnant enterprises.

The Clinton library is an active amenity in Little Rock, hosting concerts, festivals, and transforming their waterfront. The Carter Center in Atlanta was a keystone in the Freedom Parkway project which transformed a previously blighted section of the city. It hosts a vast array of activities and conferences and is home to several international agencies. Even the Hoover Center in Iowa hosts surprisingly dynamic activities.

There have been some comments here regarding Cleveland's appeal to the Tea Party, but I think an even greater connection would be Fillmore's connection to fugitive slaves and his compromises which fueled the fire for the Civil War.

Buffalo already has a deep connection to the Underground Railroad, and a partnership with a Fillmore library would shed much light on how his policies were an enormous reason for slaves to pass through our area on their way to Canada.

While Fillmore, Cleveland and McKinley may not be nearly as popular or well known as Roosevelt, their presidencies still reverberate to this day due their domestic, foreign and economic policies. We have the benefit of a century to be able to look back at both the good AND the bad that they caused, and better understand how intimately their decisions affect us and our nation in the 21st century.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

While Fillmore is often considered one of the least effective presidents in history, his actions were EXTREMELY significant.

His foreign policy with France and Japan set the stage for the later annexation of Hawaii and our involvement in Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Perhaps his greatest failures concerned slavery, with the compromise of 1850, the handling of the newly annexed Mexican territories, and admission of California. If not for Fillmore, we might have avoided the entire Civil War.

grad94
grad94

...litle used resources.../em>

that pretty much sums it up.

little used indicates little interest, little demand, and little audience, doesn't it? not enough to justify a massive investment.

libraries can flog classics/great books all day long and their readers still want 'shades of grey' instead.

paulsobo
paulsobo

No one says any museum needs to fork over anything.

That's why you create an umbrella organization...with the historical society partnering with TRoosevelt and public library and other organizations (joint leadership and management specific to the 4 presidents)...they would have what they need to pursue joint display space...pursue joint acquisitions etc.

This happens all the time in other cities where disparate organizations partner together in a joint venture to lower risk, raise the probability of success in creating something new for the city....particularly when it involves unused or litle used resources

whatever
whatever

"not that they're exactly the most popular presidents in history"

While they're both obscure at this point, I think it's widely agreed that GC's presidency was more historically significant in many ways than Fillmore's.

Some people with libertarian leanings (which admittedly isn't a huge niche even it total) praise GC a lot for his policies against runaway growth of govt powers and opposing U.S. hostile actions vs other nations like annexing Hawaii. He's still popular with some native Hawaiian groups, surprising as that might be to some.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFUNeztGBik

"Mar 17, 2012 by kitvtv

Each year, members of the Hawaiian community take time to honor United States President Grover Cleveland for his loyalty to Hawaii's last queen. KITV4's Moanike'ala Nabarro shows us how Cleveland's opposition to annexation, left a lasting impression."

If anybody wants to try starting a private sector nonprofit (or even for-profit?) museum for any of the four, or any combination, nobody's stopping them.

As GC would say, hopefully they wouldn't be given any public $ for it is all.

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

You mean like forking it over to these folks?

http://groverclevelandlibrary.org

Why Grover Cleveland? Because his record has must to teach us. As Mayor of Buffalo and Governor of New York State, he was a reformer who fought corrupt political machines. He went on to serve ably as our last Jeffersonian President, holding firm to the principles of constitutionally-limited and decentralized government. As a man, he was widely revered for his character and honesty.

It looks like the Tea Party has found another hero (while throwing the obvious character flaws under the rug).

grad94
grad94

bingo. they could lose their accreditation if they forked over collections to everyone who forms a 501(c)(3), gets a fancy logo, and says "gimme."

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

Very true. It would be a tough sell to ask Canton to hand over anything of McKinley's. As a New Yorker, we'd have a better shot at TR's stuff, but I believe a good deal of his stuff went to NYC.

As home to Cleveland and Fillmore, the only real chance we'd have is at a library for our two native sons... not that they're exactly the most popular presidents in history.

Our best hope would be to gather up whatever we can for an unofficial library/museum, like Washington's, Lincoln's or McKinley's. Combining our four presidential links might be enough of a draw to snowball a movement, as 3 of the 4 really don't have much in the way of a library or museum.

But even that would require that the TR Inaugural site and History Museum (BECHS) be involved or donate some of their collections.

grad94
grad94

scattered among institutions who have no intention of giving them up just because some outfit in buffalo hangs out a presidential museum shingle.

DeanerPPX
DeanerPPX

The McKinley Museum and Library is owned and operated by Stark County, Ohio and is not officially sanctioned as a Presidential Library by the National Archives.

While the museum honors the birthplace of McKinley and has a large collection pertaining to him, it is largely composed of a science center and planetarium.

Generally, a presidential library is decided by the president himself, a tradition begun by FDR. Although in the case of Nixon, this has been done posthumously. Ford has a separate library and museum in two different cities.

Only Hoover through Clinton currently have official federal libraries (previous presidents generally willed their artifacts to various institutions). Therefore, neither Fillmore, Cleveland nor Teddy Roosevelt have presidential libraries, as their documents, archives, tombs and possessions are somewhat scattered.

whatever
whatever

What were any of McKinley's extensive accomplishments here?

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

A William McKinley Presidential Museum would focus on his accomplishments in Buffalo, NY which were extensive.

ChristieLou, I couldn't agree more. President McKinley accomplished a lot in the week or so that he spent in Buffalo... before he died.

grad94
grad94

best laugh i've had all day! where can i get me some of them presidential bobblehead dolls?

paulsobo
paulsobo

A William McKinley Presidential Museum would focus on his accomplishments in Buffalo, NY which were extensive.

The Historical Society and the Library have enough for a Museum and having a dedicated museum would allow even more to be collected.

Your a sarcastic snarky stalker and everyone knows your only stalking and negating my points to delegitimize me but its your wasted time and effort. I will continue posting until such time as I choose not too.

Buffalo is worth the effort to make it a better place.

A Fillmore, McKinley, Cleveland presidential museum need not duplicate museums elsewhere. There is enough to focus on their time in Buffalo...and of course whatever we add only further compliments what we already have...

PaulBuffalo
PaulBuffalo

How much better would it be if the Teddy Roosevelt Museum had an event and sold tickets to a joint event at a McKinely Museum?

ChristieLou, I couldn't agree more. Why should Buffalonians have to drive all the way to Canton, Ohio, to see the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum and the McKinley Memorial when Buffalo could have a duplicate museum of its own? You can't even get a McKinley bobblehead at the Canton museum: I'm sure Buffalo could do better.

paulsobo
paulsobo

I think that the Leadership Stearing Committee or Board of Directors must find a way to put Teddy Roosevelt, Cleveland, McKinley and Fillmore under one umbrella.

They can be separate organizations. I understand the TRoosevelt Museum is supported via a federal park (or something like that) and so cannot directly expand to create other museums but they can participate.

An umbrella organization would help with (government) federal and state applications for aid. They can help with branding, marketing and advertising.

Museums can be more successful if they are partnered together so that visitors can patronize a series of museums and events.

How much better would it be if the Teddy Roosevelt Museum had an event and sold tickets to a joint event at a McKinely Museum? of the TRoosevelt Museum held a Presidents Day event and sold tickets to the other presidential museums in the area.

This is a huge missed opportunity to both expand our museums but also expand our cultural and historical tourism.

© 2014 Hyperlocal Media. All Rights Reserved.