Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site

Theodore Roosevelt
Inaugural National Historic Site
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
The house as it appeared in summer 2009
Map showing the location of Theodore RooseveltInaugural National Historic Site
Location Buffalo, New York, US
Area 1.03 (1470 m2)
Established November 2, 1966
Visitors 13,032 (in 2005)
Governing body

National Park Service

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Location 641 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, New York
Area 1 acre
Built 1901
Architect Cary, George; U.S. Army
Architectural style Greek Revival
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 66000516[1]
Added to NRHP November 2, 1966

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site preserves the Ansley Wilcox House, at 641 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Here, after the assassination of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States on September 14, 1901. A New York historical marker outside of the house indicates that it was the site of Theodore Roosevelt's Inauguration.


  • Property history 1
  • Museum 2
  • Administrative history 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Property history

Ansley Wilcox House, 1965

The oldest part of the National Historic Site includes the lone surviving structure from the Buffalo Barracks compound. Due to tensions between the U.S. and Anglo-Canada, a military post was constructed to ensure border security. Built in 1839, the post encompassed all the land from Allen Street to North Street and Delaware Ave to Main Street. The structure that would later be incorporated into the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site started life in 1840 as the Barrack's officer's quarters.

After the post was disbanded in 1845, the home reverted to a private residence. Subsequent owners continued to modify the structure adding and demolishing out structures and additions. In the late 19th century, Dexter Rumsey gave the property to his son-in-law Ansley Wilcox and his wife Mary Grace Rumsey. The newest inhabitants made extensive renovations to the structure. Plans of these renovations are still on file at the Historic Site.

In 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition, anarchist Leon Czolgosz twice shot President William McKinley. Although early doctor's reports on the President's condition were positive, McKinley's condition soon worsened. Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt rushed back to Buffalo, but arrived only after McKinley had died.

Interior of room in Wilcox House where Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of Presidency.

It was decided to conduct the inauguration immediately due to the tragic and politically charged circumstances of the President's death. The most appropriate site was determined to be the Wilcox home. Approximately 50 dignitaries, family members and cabinet officials gathered in the front library for the inauguration. Federal Judge John R. Hazel administered the oath. No photograph image exists of the ceremony itself, although the room was heavily photographed after the inauguration had concluded.

The Wilcoxes continued to live in the home until their deaths in the 1930s. The home's furniture was sold at a public auction and the property became the Kathryn Lawrence Restaurant. The proprietors removed interior walls, demolished a carriage house, and painted many of the finished wood surfaces before the restaurant ceased operations in 1961.[2]


The first part of the house is a museum displaying many items from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, including wine glasses, plates, playing cards, and the key to the Temple of Music. The last room is a recreation of the office Roosevelt used during his presidency, and includes an interactive desk which can be used to send e-mails to yourself.

Administrative history

The National Historic Site was authorized on November 2, 1966. As a historic area administered by the National Park Service, it was automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ "The House at 641 Delaware". Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. National Park Service. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation
  • Kasparian, Lance. Historic Structure Report: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2006. Accessed 7 December 2008.
  • Hurst, Richard M. The Wilcox House. Buffalo, NY: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Adventures in Western New York History, volume XIX (downloadable from click on Adventures in WNY History)
  • a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lesson planTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site: Birthplace of the Modern Presidency,
  • Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NY-5610, "Ansley Wilcox House, 641 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, Erie County, NY", 7 photos, 13 data pages