Is this a scene from the South Bronx, or a small town in middle America in this circa-1910 postcard? It’s the former, of course—a view of a pocket park called McKinley Square, at 169th Street and Boston Road.
Hard to believe how old-timey the Bronx looked then. Just one automobile can be seen in the distance. Telephone poles dot the sidewalks, a liberty flag post stands tall, and there’s an ad for Zeman chocolates (bon-bons!) on the side of a row of tenements.
Just after the turn of the century, the square was named for President William McKinley, cut down by an anarchist’s bullet in Buffalo in 1901.
But he’s not the only president memorialized here. Three oak trees (they must be the ones in the postcard) planted during a dedication ceremony were named Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley, “after the three martyred presidents,” a 1903 New York Times article tells us.