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Friday, October 16, 2009

McKinley Statue - Adams, Mass.

This statue of President William McKinley in Adams, Massachusetts would appear to be directing traffic. An easy job, considering there doesn’t appear to be much traffic at this tidy little rotary, now known as McKinley Square.

President McKinley supported legislation and tariffs favorable to the cotton industry, which was still a huge part of the economy and major employer in New England in the last days of the 19th century. Adams, a small town in the western Berkshires, was in its heyday as a mill town at this period, and the local Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company, headed by Plunkett Brothers, did very well at this time.

President McKinley, a friend of the Plunketts, visited Adams three times during his presidency, which tragically ended when McKinley was assassinated in September 1901. The new century, so anticipated with hopeful celebration, began miserably.

But the Town of Adams was not willing to let go of an old friend so easily. Shortly after the assassination, the town commissioned sculptor Augustus Lukeman to create a statue in honor of the slain president. The statue was unveiled on October 10, 1903, and still forms the centerpiece of McKinley Square.

For more on President McKinley’s ties to Adams, Mass., have a look at this website of the Adams Historical Society.

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