Canton Repository

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

First lady to dedicate First Ladies’ Library

Copley Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — First lady Laura Bush is coming to Canton on Thursday to participate in the dedication of an expanded National First Ladies’ Library.

Bush is set to offer remarks and participate in a ribbon-cutting at the library’s Education and Research Center in the renovated former City National Bank Building in downtown Canton.

The 5-year-old library is based in a house where President William McKinley and his wife, the former Ida Saxton, once lived. As a national historic site, the library is part of the National Park system.

The visit by Bush will mark her first to the library. Hillary Rodham Clinton toured the Saxton house while she was first lady in 1999. Rosalyn Carter, a former first lady at the time, attended the original dedication of the library on June 8, 1998.

In preparation for the event, work crews were setting up canopy-type tents and fixing planters outside the library. Law-enforcement agents were combing a nearby parking garage as part of their security preparations.

Among those planning to attend are Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, and National Park Service Director Fran Mainella. Regula’s wife, Mary Regula, is the founder and president of the library. Regula introduced the legislation that made the library part of the park system three years ago.

Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich are not expected to attend, but Voinovich’s wife, Janet, is going. The event is not on Gov. Bob Taft’s schedule. Taft plans to attend a dedication at Allen Elementary School in Canton earlier in the day Thursday.

The library’s extensive archive on first ladies already has been moved to the former bank building, which cost $7.5 million to renovate. The Saxton McKinley house will continue to serve as a first ladies’ museum.