Sculpture at Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site aimed at inspiring leaders

Oct 28, 2015

Visitors to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo may notice a seven-and-a-half-foot bronze statue of the former president on the west lawn. 

The new sculpture by artist Toby Mendez was unveiled this week.  Mendez says his inspiration for the statue came during a visit to the site.

Artist Toby Mendez stands beside the sculpture of Theodore Roosevelt he created.
Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News

"Standing in the parlor where he was sworn in, you think about what must have been going through his mind," notes Mendez. "What I thought was wonderful, was a photograph of Teddy Roosevelt with the wind caught in his coat, taking that one step forward with his chin out, really ready to take on the future, knowing the gravity of the moment and knowing that he was ready to be president. I'm hoping that I captured that."

The sculpture is the result of a joint effort by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site and the Buffalo Renaissance  Foundation. Jake Schneider is a board member for both groups and was on hand for the dedication.

"Let it inspire us," notes Schneider. "Let it inspire the leader in each of us, the builder, the artist, the doctor, the lawyer, the volunteer, the businesswoman. Remember to enjoy the camaraderie of collaboration with your fellow citizens and choose to live your life as Theodore Roosevelt did with purpose and conviction."

Schneider notes the statue is titled the "Spirit of Leadership." It's the third in a series of five funded by the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation's Spirit of Buffalo sculptural art series. 

Roosevelt took the oath of office inside what was then the Wilcox Mansion on September 14th, 1901. That's the same day President William McKinley died after being shot by an assassin eight days earlier while attending the Pan American Exposition here in Buffalo.