1900 : President McKinley Stops in Three Oaks To Dedicate Memorial Park

June 28, 2024 all-day

Tourist Pose With U.S.S. Maine Cannon

The citizens of Three Oaks, Michigan won a contest to raise the most money per capita in memory of the U.S.S. Maine, which was sunk in the Havana Harbor before the start of the War With Spain in 1898. Their reward — a Spanish cannon captured during the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Fortunately for the citizens of Three Oaks, the railroad passed through town so President McKinley was able to stop, given a speech, and witness the dedication of the park on June 28, 1900.

However, it would never have happened without local resident Edward Warren.  Edward Warren had a store in town in the late 1880’s which was doing fine but not outrageously flourishing.  One day he noticed a clerk fix a broken whalebone corset stay with a turkey feather quill.  Like all great entrepreneurs, Warren had a flash of inspiration and turned it into a successful business.  Turkey feather quills could not only fix whalebone corsets, they could also be used for other garment stays and buggy whips, as well. Before long, Warren built the Warren Featherbone factory and the Three Oaks economy was booming.  With good times at hand and spare change in their pockets, the citizens of Three Oaks listened positively to Edward Warren’s appeal to help raise money for the Spanish American War effort and the rest is history.

Well to make a long story short, it’s not every day that the President of the United States makes his way to a tiny Michigan village to dedicate a war memorial. He’s greeted by a fellow who has turned turkey feathers into a worldwide industry and declared “Three Oaks Against the World.”  At any rate, Edward Warren was able to shake the hand of President McKinley in 1899 at the Three Oaks train station and hear President McKinley eloquently dedicate the Dewey Cannon Monument to the good people of Three Oaks and their contribution to the Spanish-American War.  The campaign Warren waged against every other city and village in the nation, to raise the most per capita contribution for the war effort and its veterans, was yet another victory for a most incredible businessman and benefactor.

Sources :

Michigan Every Day.

The Village of Three Oaks, Michigan 49128

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