Betty O’Neill-Roderick

The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum marked the 170th anniversary of his birth with a daylong celebration on Saturday.

Tina Taylor greeted over 300 guests who came to enjoy special events and get a sneak peek at the museum’s new Fascination Station, scheduled to open on Presidents Day, Feb. 18.

In the Pioneer Cabin, Director of Education Chris Kenney cooked over an open fire, offering samples of venison, pulled pork, apple pie and johnnycakes.

“All of my recipes are from 1840 to 1870, typical of Civil War food,” Kenney said.

He was assisted by Bill Gouge, who offered samples of “Bubble and Squeak” to Linda Horst and her nieces Eva Taylor and Karsin Bratton.

On the lawn in front of the museum, Civil War re-enactors from the 51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry presented artillery demonstrations. Later they participated in the wreath-laying ceremony with Brig. Gen. Alton G. Berry, state Sen. Scott Oelslager and state Reps. Christina Hagan and Stephen Slesnick.

Mark Gaynor, who commanded the troops, said both groups will participate in the re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga, scheduled to take place Sept. 7 and 8 in Zoar. In the museum library, Beth Odell said celebrating McKinley’s birthday actually began 110 years ago with a McKinley Day Dinner, as she showed a program from the dinner and other McKinley memorabilia. Curator Kimberly Kenney greeted teacher Bill Wyss, who brought members of his History Club at Louisville High School for the celebration.

Engineer Larry Rollins showed a miniature McKinley funeral train.

“We only run it on special occasions,” he said. “The train was built in 1951, and we are unable to get parts for it.”

Nita Bergen and Allison Obern helped 5-year old Shelby Walker dip candles, along with Alexa and Zane Renner and Tim Orr. In the Street of Shops, Frederick and Catherine Remenyi entertained with folk music.

Looking adorable in a period dress, 2-year old Courtney Eddy enjoyed the day with her parents, Patrick and Kris Eddy. Sydney Varga said she enjoyed the museum on a recent field trip so she brought her dad, Jim Varga, and 4-year-old brother, Derek, to the party.

Brad and Carissa Miller and their sons Jacob and Cody were fascinated with the animatronic figures of the McKinleys.

In the Museum Cafe, Robert Hadbony and Glenn Greenamyer enjoyed lunch, along with Bob Penix; Kelly Brenn and her sons Braden and Dylan; Sarah Quinn and her children Lucy and Ethan and her mother, Carol Angello; and Phil and Ruth Drumm. Jon Upham looked over the desserts being served by Karen Conde.

Museum Director Joyce Yut said the 116th anniversary celebration of President McKinley’s Inaugural Ball will take place on March 2, at Kent Stark’s University Center. Call 330-455-7043 for reservations.