William McKinley statue.

William McKinley, Auctioneer of Allegory

Field review by the editors.

San Jose, California

President McKinley gave a speech in San Jose only four months before he was assassinated. A year-and-a-half later, on February 21, 1903, a statue of McKinley by sculptor Rupert Schmidt was unveiled on the exact same spot. He stands, top hat in hand, and appears to be auctioning off a pile of bronze allegorical objects slumped against the statue's pedestal, including a torch, a cross, a food-stuffed cornucopia, and the Ten Commandments tablets. Behind McKinley's right leg is what looks like a axe and a bundle of dynamite. In front of his statue is a small cannon, warning off any McKinley monument assassins.

An excerpt from the speech McKinley gave on May 12, 1901, is inscribed on the side of the pedestal: "The Constitution is a sacred instrument, and a sacred trust is given to us to see to it that its preservation in all its virtue and its vigor is passed on to the generations yet to come."

Over a hundred years have passed since the statue's dedication (so it's time for a virtue and vigor check!). Today it seems to be a popular nesting spot for chess players, loiterers, and the homeless. During our visit we were the only ones looking at the statue. A yellow stain runs down McKinley's uncovered head, as if he's just suffered a mustard packet broadside -- but it's probably just pollution and a weathering peculiarity.

Roadside Presidents
Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

William McKinley, Auctioneer of Allegory

Address:
N. 1st St., San Jose, CA
Directions:
In St. James Park. On the east side of N. 1st St. just south of E. St. James St.
Admission:
Free
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

The Tech InteractiveThe Tech Interactive, San Jose, CA - < 1 mi.
World's Largest Permanent Outdoor Monopoly BoardWorld's Largest Permanent Outdoor Monopoly Board, San Jose, CA - < 1 mi.
Olympic Black Power StatueOlympic Black Power Statue, San Jose, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Carrier USS Hornet, Prints of Moon Men, Alameda, CA - 38 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Roswell Alien Attraction Autopsy, Roswell, New Mexico (Jun 21-27, 2021)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special rates for hotels.

Book Now