"It is a dreadful thing to come into the Presidency in this way; but it would be far worse to be morbid about it. Here is the task, and I have got to do it to the best of my ability."
-- Theodore Roosevelt
Most presidential inaugurals are vibrant, well-planned affairs that involve patriotic speeches, fancy dress balls, and a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Theodore Roosevelt's first inaugural took place before a few friends in the Buffalo home of his friend Ansley Wilcox, on September 14, 1901. His predecessor, William McKinley, had just died from wounds caused by an assassin's gun eight days earlier.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site preserves the Ansley Wilcox home as it would have appeared at the turn of the 20th century. Period furnishings and an exhibit focus on Roosevelt's sudden ascendancy to the presidency.
The home at 641 Delaware Avenue had a long and celebrated history prior to the impromptu inaugural. Built in 1839, likely as the officers' quarters for a U.S. Army installation, the building was sold when the Buffalo Barracks closed in 1845. It became a prestigious address for lawyers, judges, and politicians, and housed a restaurant before being renovated as a national historic site.
Did you know:
Theodore Roosevelt had no vice president during his first term, because the law at the time didn't allow a vice-president-turned-president to appoint a new vice president to finish his term.