Source: When I Was a Girl in Mexico
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The Buffalo Exposition. President McKinley’s Assassination” [chapter 16]
Author(s): Godoy, Mercedes
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Co.
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1919
|Godoy, Mercedes. “The Buffalo Exposition. President McKinley’s Assassination” [chapter 16]. When I Was a Girl in Mexico. Boston: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1919: pp. 104-08.|
|full text of chapter; excerpt of book|
|Mercedes Godoy; Pan-American Exposition; McKinley assassination (personal response).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Ida McKinley; William McKinley.|
The Buffalo Exposition. President McKinley’s Assassination
We took a house in that lovely and attractive city and remained there about three months, going frequently to the Exposition and sometimes we stayed in the grounds all day long.
My delight was to go to the Exposition and visit the different buildings, and add to my collection badges, pamphlets, coins, samples, and imitations of various articles on exhibition there, which were given away to the people and children. Of course the greatest desire of us chil-  dren was to go to the “Midway,” where all the amusements were. I remember especially “The Trip to the Moon,” “The House Upside Down,” and the Streets of Cairo; there I rode on the backs of a camel and elephant, being almost shaken to pieces, but nevertheless enjoying it very much.
It was a very fine exposition and the illuminations were splendid; they say that owing to the great power obtained from Niagara Falls it had one of the best electrical displays ever had in any exposition.
Our trip to Niagara Falls was a very interesting one and we were able to admire those wonderful waterfalls, the greatest in the world, from both the American and Canadian sides. We still have a photograph taken there. It looks as if the whole family, my mother, father, brothers and I, were standing on one of the falls; a scheme the photographers have of combining both pic-  tures, the Falls and the group, to make it appear that way.
The assassination of President McKinley was a tragic and sad event. My parents related to me how pleasantly they had spent with him that day at an excursion and luncheon at Niagara Falls. All the officials, American and Latin-American, were invited, as were also President and Mrs. McKinley. They both were in a happy and cheerful mood, mingling and chatting most amiably with the other guests.
On returning to Buffalo and the Exposition, the party dispersed. My father then went home for us children to take us to join my mother, who had remained with friends in the Mexican building. To our great horror and regret on entering the grounds in a carriage, as that day carriages were permitted inside the grounds for the invited guests, we were told at the gate that an attempt had been made on the life of President  McKinley and that he was severely wounded. At that moment we began to hear shouts, screams of “Lynch him!” and the excitement of the people was intense. Just then a carriage passed us at high speed, in which the assassin Czolgosz was being taken to prison. President McKinley at the time of that cowardly attempt was holding a public reception and shaking hands with all at the Temple of Music. That tragedy upset us so much that we changed our plans and having met my mother, who also was very much impressed, sad and nervous, after having witnessed and heard the cries of “Lynch him!” and seen the carriage with the assassin, that we returned home, instead of remaining the rest of the day. Though very young then, the terrible event impressed me very much, especially as I noticed how everybody felt so sad, not only on account of the dastardly deed, but because President McKinley died a few  days later. He was so very kind and deservedly popular.
Mexico had a very important part in the Exposition, having an administration building and exhibits in all the various departments and buildings. These exhibits were very attractive and interesting, and drew the attention of thousands of visitors. That they were duly appreciated, is shown by its many prizes that Mexican exhibitors received at the Exposition. Furthermore it sent a military band, which gave concerts that were very popular. I well remember how the people applauded when the “Paloma” and other typical pieces, that are popular in the United States, were played by the band. Whenever I went into Mexico Building and saw so many things made in my country, it seemed, at times, as if I were back again in my native land.