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McKinley History series to conclude

NILES — Speakers in the past months have shared information and stories about President William McKinley and his life as part of the McKinley History Speaker Series, which will conclude Saturday.

Saturday’s program is “Lawyer, Prosecutor, Friend — William McKinley’s Stop in Stark County that Lasted Forever” by Mark Holland of the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

The program will begin at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the McKinley Birthplace Museum, 40 N. Main St.

Ralph Tolbert of the Niles Historical Society was a recent speaker of the program, talking about McKinley’s connection to Niles. Tolbert, a historian and retired Niles city school teacher, said that for many years, postcards of McKinley’s home and buildings, such as the McKinley Memorial and the bank building named for him, were found in many local homes in the city.

“The McKinley house was an older historic home which was often on the postcards. There were many historic homes and sites in Niles which were featured on the postcards,” he said.

He showed slides of items, including a rocking chair, cradle and bed warmer, as well as pictures often featured in the McKinley memorabilia collection.

While McKinley was born in Niles, his family moved to Poland in Mahoning County when he was 9.

Tolbert said Niles at the time had a one-room schoolhouse and the McKinley family wanted him in a larger seminary school system in Poland.

He said the downtown area of Niles grew during the time the McKinley family lived here and after they moved. The McKinley Federal Bank building had a drive-through window off Main Street since there was limited parking spaces in the city’s downtown area.

Amber Farris, the director at the McKinley Birthplace Museum, was the guest speaker at a recent William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society program to talk about the McKinley family, where they came from and what they did.

She said speakers try to share information on McKinley’s family’s relationship to the Mahoning Valley. Also, many speak on the McKinley Memorial Museum and how it has been a vital part of the Niles community.

Ferris said the seventh annual McKinley Christmas, set for noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14, will showcase the museum, the McKinley Replica House and the Ward Thomas House. There will be free trolley rides taking people to locations that will be decorated for the Christmas season.

A display of gingerbread houses will be shown at the McKinley Memorial Library Dec. 7 through Jan. 2.

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