Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Architectural Forum
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: “William McKinley Memorial, Niles, Ohio”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: December 1919
Volume number: 31
Issue number: 6
Pagination: 205-06

“William McKinley Memorial, Niles, Ohio.” Architectural Forum Dec. 1919 v31n6: pp. 205-06.
full text
McKinley memorial (Niles, OH).
Named persons
William McKinley; John Massey Rhind.
No text appears on page 206 of this article.

The article is accompanied on page 205 by a photograph of the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial. Page 206 features a photograph (“Detail of Rear Elevation”) as well as an architectural drawing (“Exterior Detail of Wings”).

Additional images appear in this same journal issue on plates 81-84 (between pages 200 and 201), captioned as follows:
  • Plate 81: “View in Central Court” [photograph].
  • Plate 82: “General View from Street” [photograph].
  • Plate 82: “Elevation of Main Facade” [architectural drawing].
  • Plate 83: “Detail of Colonnade” [photograph].
  • Plate 83: “Plan of Library, Court and Auditorium” [architectural drawing].
  • Plate 84: “Detail of Peristyle in Court” [architectural drawing].
  • Plate 84: “Colonnade from Central Court” [photograph].
“McKim, Mead & White, Architects” (p. 205).


William McKinley Memorial, Niles, Ohio

THE National McKinley Birthplace Memorial Association—a society chartered by Congress in 1911—proposed in 1914 to erect a memorial to William McKinley in his native city, and held an architectural competition.
     The following quotation from the program of the competition gives the character of the problem:
     “The projected memorial will take the form of a monument and a building so grouped as to form an ensemble. The monument will consist of a full-figure statue of President McKinley, with suitable pedestal and architectural setting. The building, while destined for practical service to the community, should nevertheless be designed in the spirit of a memorial.”
     The requirements of the building were an auditorium, a public library, a museum room for McKinley memorials and the meeting of local posts of war veterans, offices for trustees and service rooms. Settings were to be provided for tablets to donors and busts of local historical personages and associates of the late president.
     McKim, Mead & White were selected as architects in the competition, and Massey Rhind was appointed sculptor by the building committee.
     The building was carried out by the architects without a single important deviation from the competition drawings, and an inspection of the accompanying illustrations will show how appropriate to the problem their solution has proven to be. The memorial statue is placed in an open atrium surrounded by a colonnade of great delicacy of proportion in the Doric style. The auditorium and library are both street level rooms, and the isolation of the auditorium permits of an economical operation of the heating plant, as well as insuring a quiet library.
     The exterior of the building is faced with white Georgia marble, and the statue and pedestal are of the same material. The ceiling of the open colonnade shows a very interesting use of architectural terra cotta. A classic coffered ceiling was designed and this was executed in polychrome terra cotta of a cream white ground, upon which the ornament is picked out in the primary colors of the ancient Greek palette,—blue, yellow, red and green.
     The color scheme was worked out after a careful study of the available records of Greek polychrome decoration and executed with the hearty co-operation of the terra-cotta manufacturers, who extended themselves to produce the clear and brilliant colors in the small quantities and confined spaces which the style demanded. The effect produced is of great beauty and decision, due to the use of limited quantities of strong color, rather than broader masses of “pastel shades,” which are often employed by modern designers in their all too rare excursions into this field of designing in color.



top of page