President William McKinley admired the view from atop a hill in Canton and suggested it as home for a memorial honoring Stark County soldiers and sailors who lost their lives during America’s wars. Instead, the site became home to a memorial honoring McKinley after his assassination in 1901.
The 200,000 visitors the Monument draws each year admire the view from the top of a set of tiered steps leading up to the monument. Visit on a sunny summer day, and you’ll find plenty of locals exercising by walking or running up and down the 108 steps!
Architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle designed the Monument shortly after the president’s death to house the granite-clad coffins of McKinley and his wife Ida. A nine-and-a-half-foot-tall figure of McKinley, created by Cincinnati-born sculptor Charles Henry Niehaus, greets step climbers on the way up to the memorial building. The Monument is open from April 1 to November 1.
If you want to learn more about President McKinley, stop by the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. It is next to the Monument and has the largest collection of McKinley artifacts in the world.
McKinley was one of eight presidents from Ohio. He served Ohio as a congressional representative and governor before becoming president in 1897.
It’s difficult to imagine campaigns where voters traveled to see candidates at their homes, rather than experiencing the intrusive campaign methods of today like endless robo calls, but President McKinley and, in 1880, President Garfield drew crowds to Ohio as part of successful campaigns run from their own front porches.
The museum’s Stark County Story gallery opened in 2009 and covers the county’s history in decade-sized chunks from its founding in 1805 through the present day. The Street of Shops, a recreation of Canton in the 1800’s, is a fun way to immerse yourself in the history of the area.
The museum draws 50,000 visitors annually, but the younger visitors we saw at the museum seemed especially jazzed about Discover World, a hands-on science center that draws as many as 20,000 visitors each year for class field trips. I suspect they’ll be even more excited since the museum opened its new Fascination Station on February 18!
Split Rock Studios, which created the Stark County Story gallery, redesigned the museum’s Space Station Earth exhibit, adding features like new science demonstration areas that showcase subjects like robotics, weather and eco-friendly living. Many new interactive exhibits allow visitors to see a solar car from Stark State College, play a robotic arm game and view real-time weather data collected from new solar panels installed on the museum’s roof.
Visit the museum’s Facebook page or check out museum curator Kim Kenney’s blog for behind-the-scenes scoops about museum activities and upcoming exhibits. Accessibility note: There is a parking lot behind the Monument. An elevator is to the right of the front doors.
Thanks to the Canton-Stark County Convention & Visitors Bureau for their assistance with planning the visit and arranging for comped media passes to the museum.