< --Previous Up Next–>
J. W. Doane Block
Life Span: 1872-1899
Location: Southwest corner of Wabash and Lake streets
Architect: T. V. Wadskier
The Lakeside Monthly, October, 1873
The Doane Building is another fine Lake street structure, and one of which the people of Chicago may be proud. It occupies the site of the old Burch Block, on the southwest corner of Lake street and Wabash avenue. This ia a site made historic by the great fire of 1868, which destroyed about three million dollars’ worth of property on Lake street. Mr. J. W. Doane secured a long lease of the ground last winter, and in March commenced the construction of the present building. It is built of St. Louis brick, with trimmings of Milwaukee brick and sandstone. Its fronts are 115 feet on Lake street, and 170 feet on Wabash avenue, and it is divided into four stories, fronting on Wabash avenue. It is heated by steam, and each store has an elevator and fire-proof vaults. The building was constructed from the start, so as to accommodate the wholesale grocery business. The location of the largest jobbing grocers in this building and in its immediate neighborhood, will undoubtedly hold the great mass of the trade in this vicinity for many years to come.
Messrs. J. W. Doane & Co. occupy the south end of the block, as their many friends and patrons throughout every portion of the Northwest have already learned. The next store is occupied by Messrs. Bliss, Moore & Co., importers and jobbers of groceries. They were located, before the fire, at the corner of Michigan avenue and South Water street. The firm is made up of parties who hare been associated, from time to time, with some of the oldest houses in the city
The Doane Block, or Grocers Row, Corner Wabash and Lake Street, on the site of the old Burch Block.
Chicago Tribune, October 9, 1875
FRANKLIN MAC VEAGH & CO.
A natural leader among the wholesale firm of Franklin MacVeagh & Co. Sagacity of administration, scope of business, and a peculiarly Chicagoish spirit of enterprise, are the main causes which unite to give the home this predominance. The business transacted under the guidance of the firm is known to be larger than that done by any grocery house in the West, and, with a single exception, is greater than that of any American establishment in its line of trade. This statement is
A MATTER OF CONCEDED FACT,
and of course be substantiated by obstinate figures whenever requisite. The further magnitude of the house will be appreciated when it is known that it carries the largest variety of groceries ever handled by a single establishment in this country. This includes all the goods properly coming under the head of groceries, and embraces foreign and domestic articles as well as those of the plainest and most staple nature. All nations and chines are under tribute, and the great warehouse of Franklin Macveagh & Co. constitute a practical exposition of everything in the way of groceries which the world produces. The building, a large five-story brick structure, situated on the corner of Wabash avenue and Lake street, is a grand storehouse, an inspection of which is of peculiar interest. Here are constantly received and shipped
THE ENORMOUS CONSIGNMENTS
of goods which have given, and will doubtless long continue to give, the house its immense prestige as the chieftain in its line of trade in the West.
An enumeration of even greater classification of articles sold by Franklin MacVeagh & Co. would tax the limits of this sketch too severely. The unprecedented extent and variety of the goods handled by the house can best be understood by a study of
THE ANNUAL CATALOGUE
issued by the firm. this sets forth clearly every great and minor class of articles sold, and be at once interesting and valuable. The catalogue for the present year will be ready early this fall.
The history of the firm dates back over ten years. It was organized in 1865 as Whitaker, Harmon & Co., and the third year following it became known as Harmon, MacVeagh & Messer. This continued until Jan. 1, 1870, when the present organization was perfected, and the firm name of Franklin MacVeagh & Co. was permanently adopted. The partnership embraces four well-known gentlemen—Messrs. Franklin MacVeagh, the Hon. Wayne MacVeagh, of Pennsylvania, John B. Raymond, and Henry C. Bannard.
The system under which its business is conducted is both comprehensive and radically enterprising. It is really a combination of wholesale houses under one general administration. Before the founding of this firm it was the rule that even the largest grocery establishments should confine themselves principally to individual lines.
EACH HOUSE HAD ITS SPECIALTY,
and what other goods were handled were kept subsidiary to that specialty. The members of the firm conceived that it would prove beneficial to themselves, to the trade, and to the community, to combine all of the specialties under one organization. The success which the house has attained, and its peerless position in the eyes of dealers, and the public, is proof enough of the wisdom of its course. It has succeeded in accomplishing exactly what it set out to do. This, however, has been made possible only by the immediate availability of large capital, by broad executive ability on the part of the firm managers, and by instituting
GRAND SEPARATE DEPARTMENTS
under the charge of persons expert in the special requirements of those departments. The main divisions of business now united in this great house are appended:
Tobacco and cigars.
In all of these it has been the steadfast aim of the house to get as nearly as possible to the producers. The delays and added costs of middlemen have thus been avoided. Obtaining its goods at first hand, the firm of Franklin MacVeagh & Co. has been able to deal with its own patrons on terms much more satisfactory to the latter than is commonly the case with wholesale grocers. The firm imports its teas and fancy groceries. In its tobacco department it has acquitted agencies which give it all the advantage of manufacturers. Its lead in the provision department is greatly attributable to the fact that it buys meats for cash before cutting, and has them cured specially for its own trade; and also that it buys its fish, both salt and lake, direct from the fishermen, and has the inspecting and packing done under its own supervision. In its spice department it has attained such gratifying success as to warrant it in erecting a coffee and spice mill. This will be done within a short time, and, with the facility which the house enjoys for purchasing from “first hands,” will enable it to place itself beyond the pale of competition in this specialty.
We have already noticed the fact that the various grand departments of the house are in charge of
GENTLEMEN WHOSE EXPERIENCE
in their respective lines, and thorough familiarity with the demands of the trade, enable them to conduct their individual departments with uniform success. The prosperity of the house, and its popularity everywhere, have been greatly embraced by these gentlemen. The manager of the tobacco and cigar department is Mr. J. G. Davis. The tea department is under the control of Mr. F. E. Bannard. That of fancy groceries is managed by Mr. George D. Wheaton. The other departments are superintended by different members of the firm.
A general air of thrift and neatness pervades the entire establishment of Franklin MacVeagh & Co. Ten years ago the head of this house was the first to enunciate the then starting idea that a wholesale grocery establishment could be kept
CLEAN AND RESPECTABLE
in appearance. This theory was soon enforced by practice, and the offices and store-rooms of other great grocery houses were, after a time, all the tidier for so good a model. As the house was the first to evolve the idea in question, so has it remained the first to improve upon that idea, and its establishment has now all the elegance and order which might be expected in so admirably managed an institution.
Towle & Roper and Franklin MacVeagh & Co.
The Land Owner
THE SUPERIOR SCOPE
of this firm’s trade is seen in the fact that it does a continuous, a growing, and an always satisfactory business in nineteen great States and Territories. Its trade stretches well nigh across the continent westward, reaching to the very edge of California. It has an office, with a resident agent, at Salt Lake City, Mr. B. W. E. Jennens being regularly established there. Within another month the house will have a resident agent also in Denver. Indeed, the possibilities of its locating regular deputies in every central point in the whole West and South seem to be limited only by the limits of the country itself. New Orleans is directly tributary, the firm doing a large commission business in sugar, molasses, rice, etc., from that city. This feature of its trade it expects to largely increase the present season.
Large as has been its business in the past, its sales for the month of November were in advance of any preceding month in its history.
The members of the house of Franklin MacVeagh are men known and honored, not only in the world of business, but also in the bright places of the public and social existence. The senior member, as head of the Citizen’s Association and in other eminent stations, has shown the West that a man may do high public service thoroughly and fearlessly, and yet not be a politician or office-hunter. Another member of the firm, Wayne MacVeagh, of Pennsylvania, has a reputation national in its extent, as a man whom his State honored, with credit to himself in every instance. The other associates in the control of the house are gentlemen occupying pleasant places in the good will of the trade and the general community.
In the magnitude of its operations, the vim and enterprise of its management, the honorable record of its members, the wholesale grocery-house of MacVeagh & Co. ranks with the foremost business institutions of America.
Chicago Tribune, October 13, 1907
FRANKLIN MACVEAGH, head of the grocery house which bears his name and in which the bulk of his fortune was made, has the distinction in Chicago of being more widely known as the citizen scholar than as the merchant: a merchant of the front rank, his name will be put down in the histories of the city as a man who achieved even greater success outside of than in it.
In at least the ephemeral history of the city the name MacVeagh long has been associated with the word Progress, with moving forward, with the larger affairs of Chicago, with every movement toward civic betterment, with sociology. It has been quoted in local and even national politics. It has its place in the literary diary of Chicago. Educational councils have imprinted the name upon their records. Capital and labor have recognized it in controversies. Even the law has recognized this name MacVeagh in its evolution.
This man MacVeagh—is he the grocer7
Personality Above His Business.
The question has been asked 10,000 times of Chicago men. The answer obviously Is yes. Usually the questioner is amazed to find a man so many sided that his name has become more prominently linked with other works that with the life labor from which he secures his living, great or small. Grocery merchandising is a mere business—a means to an end; Franklin MacVeagh is a personality.
There are associates of Franklin MacVeagh who have interpreted tragedy in this evolution of the millionaire grocer. Forty odd years ago the young Franklin MacVeagh probably had as little thought of becoming a grocer as he might have thought ot an ascetic dignitary in the church.
He was born on a small farm in Chester county, Pa., the youngest of the farming family. He grew up on a farm as farmer boys grew in his time, but without the ruggedness of constitution which is accepted as the heritage of the farmer boy. From the country schools to Yale the young man went, and after his graduation in 1862 he spent two ears more In the Columbia Law school, where he fitted for the bar.
Law Was Chosen Career.
The bar was young MacVeagh’s choice in the professional field, but after a year’s partnership with Chariton Lewis In New York ill health forced MacVeagh to abandon the law.
It became apparent that a complete change was necessary to a restoration of health. His ambitions and the map he had made of his future had to be sacrificed. The law, for years of study, reading, and associations had so admirably qualified him, had to be abandoned. Here is the tragedy in the life of this man. Turned away from his profession by a breakdown in health. he was Compelled to go west and begin all over again.
Accident threw him into the grocery business. Here he made a fortune, but his heart was In other things. He had come to Chicago with a view to courting the opportunities of the great west. The opportunities lay all around him. He formed a partnership with Henry Bannard in the grocer’s business. His fortine piled up. The partnership was tbe nucleus of the present house of Franklin & Co.
Fire Proved His Citizenship.
When the great fire of 1871, wiped out the store and stock however, MacVeagh was the head of the concern. When the stricken city began to move toward rehabilitation, too, the house of Franklin MacVeagh & Co. put up its frame shack on the lake front and laid in a raw stock of necessaries for the provision trade. The MacVeagh residence at the time was In Michigan avenue, near Monroe street, and had burned to the ground.
Following the great fire Grocer MacVeagh was given his first opportunity in proving himself Citizen MacVeagh in its larger possibilities. When in 1874 it was recognized that Chicago was inadequately governed and protected the Volunteer Citizens’ association was formed and Mr. MacVeagh was elected president of the society. In the accomplishments of this Mr. MacVeagh brought himself into permanent recognition in Chicago.
The Commercial National bank about that time was presided over by Henry S. Eames, formerly of Ottawa. Ill., Mr. MacVeagh’s marriage to Miss Emily Eames, daughter of the wealthy banker, improved his material fortunes. It led to his connection with the bank as one of its directors, and today in that larger and growing institution Mr. MacVeagh is dean of the board of directors and one of the punctual members in the attendance at meetings of the board.
Sought Leisure in Commerce.
The growth of Mr. MacVeagh’s business has amazed his competitors in commercialism. Here was a man fitted for professional life thrust by circumstances into a career which at first seemed altogether unsuited to his tastes, and yet this man was building up a great business The achievement of success in a pursuit totally dissimilar to the one for which he had fitted himself has made MacVeagh a problem in the world of affairs. There is indeed something unique in such a worthy of investigation.
The one definite and distinct motive that prompted MacVeagh to enter the field of commercialism was that he might have an easy life, with plenty of leisure. Such a motive for embarking in a great business is enough to make men who struggle day and night to keep their heads above water sit up in wonder. Yet such was MacVeagh’s motive, his achievements are well known. The grocery business prospered from the first. Although MacVeagh regarded his business as a form of recreation, he put his own self into it; he saturated it with his strong personality.
He stood from under the details of business, but made certain that the details were given into the hands of the right sort of men. He directed the business and left others to carry out his directions. He saw that they wero carried out. It was simple enough. It was recreation. Where dozens of successful business men of the early Chicago threw heart and soul into business, MacVeagh gave enough time to business to insure the principles of success. The details he has always left to others.
Flexible Mind Key of Success.
As a policy which marked MacVeagh among Chicago men of affairs he has found time and opportunity for indulging ambitions that have been more to his taste. That he has taken advantage of these opportunities is shown in the fact that the name of MacVeagh has been more from day to day in the affairs of the larger Chicago than has the name of any other of the living millionaires of the city.
Yet with his time divided between his business and the affairs outside of it the business has grown. His assumption was—correct in his case. He assumed that he could so systematize his business that, like a great machine, It would go on running smoothly and without a break when he was away from It. He has a strong, flexible mind—that is the great contributing force to his success. He has been broadened by culture and education and dominated by a strong will.
Remarkable executive ability, capacity for organization, accurate intuitive Judgment of the capacity and adaptation of men for places—these are the qualities of the many sided MacVeagh—the qualities that have brought success to everything he has gone into, the qualities that have made him a great merchant and a great citizen.
He Is fearless in expressIng his opinions In the business house over which he presides no more than from the public platform. He stands for a high civic ideal; he favors trade unionism of the regulated, sane brand. He stands for things which other men too often do not stand for.
Cherishes High Civic Ideal.
It was in a speech before the Chicago Commercial association that Mr. MacVeagh two years ago delivered of the following paragraph on the upbuilding of the greater Chicago:
Our city government, like othera, long ago became clogged with personal politics, while the noble and splendid ideals and aspirations which are the basis of our na- tion s career dropped out or sight. And yet it is true. and wilt remain true, that personal or party politics and personal or party interests can intervene in our government and affairs with no more moral right than a burglar can enter a house to rob it—and with no more chance of beneficent results.
“MacVeagh is one of the finest types of the gentleman and scholar,” said a State street man of affairs who long has been associated with him in social contact “He is not understood by most men Who meet him for the first time. He makes friends slowly, but he is a friend when he has assumed the tie of friendship. He would not know how to be uncivil in social or business relations with his fellow man. He is the refinement of culture and gentle breeding. But by nature he is reserved. and his reserve has been taken for coldness is no part of the real man.”
Chicago tribune, November 10, 1899
Franklin MacVeagh & Co,, wholesale grocers, occupy a building on the west side of Wabash avenue, north of Lake street. The sidewalk in front of its store is bridged with frequent skids, and pedestrians who are not nimble-footed and good at jumping will find it next to impossible to overcome the numerous obstacles, and will do well to chose the other side of the street. All of yesterday from fifteen twenty drays blocked the western half of Wabash avenue in that square in front of this establishment.
Smaller business firms in that district point, as a contrast with Franklin MacVeagh & Co., to the business of house of W. M. Hoyt & Co., near Rush street bridge. This latter concern has found means to transact business without encroaching on the public streets and sidewalks. It has opened a wagon passageway through the building itself by cutting out a portion of the first story.
Reserve Nllstaien for Stubbornness.
Men wno nave brushed him in business contact, merely, say that he has a spirit of stubbornness in him and that this reserve and silence in argument is his refuge against opposition. That, as against this reserve, when the MacVeagh position has been taken nothing will avail to change him. He is right—and the argument fails flat.
Whatever this may be—singleness of purpose, belief in himself, or mere hard-headedness—there are few men coming In contact wth MacVeagh who have not recognized a strong personality. In public or in private be is not afraid to speak his mind. There is something of the dissenter in his makeup. There is a strain of the old Puritan in his mental processes, dissenting even in religion—he has made his positions plain before all men.
Away back in the early ’70s, when the Rev. David Swing’s teachings in the Fourth Presbyterian church in Chicago called for criticism of his denomination to an extent impelling Dr. Swing to resign hie pastorate, Franklin MacVeagh was one of the loyal following of the church which stood by the minister. MacVeagh was one of the signers of the declaration that Chicago could not afford to lose the services of Dr. Swing, he was one of the protestants who contributed $1,000 toward providing a church for the minister, and later was an active man in establishing the Central church In the famous CentraJ Music hall at State and Randolph streets.
Not Afraid to Express Views.
In the famous presidential campaign of 18S5, when Cleveland and Blaine seemed to be the presidential candidates of the two great parties, MacVeagh found Wis republican principles under a self-imposed fire. Butler’s candidacy on greenback principles had been construed as a ruse to draw from the democratic votes. and MacVeagh In Chicago became an active figure in the independent party movement. He led the executive committee which flooded the state with campaign literature and with the independents cast bis vote for Cleveland as a “mug-wump.”
Independence in politics and independence In his religious views as expressed before all men—are there stronger tests of individuality?
Perhaps It was a test quite as strong when in the great teamsters’ strike In Chicago in 1005 Mr. MacVeagh made a speech in Cincinnati in which he announced himself as a believer in the great principles of unionism. At the time his business In Chicago had suffered the full effect of that strike s riotous conditions. These conditions still existed. But he had no fault to find with the union principles involved—it was the violation of those principles as incited by irresponsible leaderships which he felt unionism should repudiate.
In these actions and utterances one may read a good deal of the character and characteristics of Franklin MacVeagh, citizen. As to the ways and means through which he has demonstrated his feelings of responsibility as a citizen of Chicago and of the United States, they are countless.
Not his worst enemies—and he has them—can say that he has refused his citizen services where his conscience has shown him that they are in line with his duty.
Suggested for Mayor of Chicago.
When the Civic federation of Chicago came into being a few years ago MacVeagh was a leader in the corrective movement against partisanship and graft in public office. From the local federation his efforts and his offices have gone to the National Civic federation, where his influence has been felt and recognized. He has been a civil service advocate for years. Several times his name has been proposed for the Chicago mayoralty, but he has felt no impulse to enter political life since he became a candidate for the Illinois senatorship.
As a citizen of Chicago his influence has been exerted in many of the movements for community betterment and advancement, He is a trustee in the University of Chicago. He was one of the directing influences in the organization of the Chicago bureau of charities. He is a factor In the Municipal Art league. Only a few weeks ago his term expired as president of the Chicago Literary club, to which office he was succeeded by Charles Henrotta.
Witty President of Literary Club.
Someone, a member of this club of 200, which holds Monday meetings in Orchestra hall in the season, talked a little the other day of his impressions of Franklin MacVeagh as gained through attendance at the regular meetings of the club. These impressions fill a gap in this biographical sketch and are worth while:
“It was a surprise to me with what lightness and wit this new president assumed the gavel.” he said. “There was nothing in the man’s sober face and attitude to lead one to expect wittIcisms of him. They were not easily reconciled with the man.
“But in the one year’s term of office he made a pleaslng president”
No Interest In Chicago Democracy.
It was several years ago that a friend of mine wast a candidate for office under the city government in a position where qualifications for the place always has been scrutinized by any of the parties. This friend had the indorsement of the democratic leaders, among thern the late Judge Murray F. Tuley. This friend sought out Mr. MacVeagh as a democrat and as one of the active forces in the federation to sound MecVeagh as to what the federation might do.
He was received courteously by Mr. MacVeagh as a man whom MacVeagh remem- bered having met before. Mr. MacVeagh would be quite pleased to know what ho might be able to do for the caller. But when the caller had explained his purpose in calLing and had his indorsement by about 100 democrats In Chicago the expressed but expressionless interest of Mr. MaoVeagh was discounted in a moment.
“I forgot his words,” said my friend, recalling the incident. “My impressions, however, are remarkably clear. They appear to me now as reading: First, that Mr. MacVeagh hadn’t the slightest interest in what the Chicago democracy was thinking or doing; second, that the matter had not yet come up in the federation; third (again), that Mr. MacVeagh hadn’t the slightest interest in what the Chicago democracy was thinking or doing; fourth. that when the matter of the candidates did come up before the federation it was wholly problematical at that time what the federation might do; fifth (again), that Mr. MacVeagh the slightest interest in what the Chicago democracy might be thinking or doing; sixth, that, personally, Mr. MacVeagh had not a word to say in disfavor of his caller’s ambition; and. seventh “(and about seventeenthly), that Mr. MacVeagh hadn’t Ohe slightest interest In what the Chicago democracy might be thinking or doing!”
Pleased with Office Boy.
A story is told of Mr. MacVeagh years ago, going Into a business house on business, the reception tendered him by the office boy of the concern was especially pleasing. He called several times at that office in order that he might size up the young fellow a little better. He satisfied his first judgment oa the lad and offered him a better position in the grocery house—a move that displeased some of Mr. MacVeagh’s associates.
But the boy staid. He continued to stay, and to grow, and to move up in line of promotion, until today it is recognized where the story Is known that the “old man’s” judgment of human nature isn’t so bad.
How deeply lies this reserve and balance of the man was shown a few years ago when, about 8 o’clock one morning, a fire broke cut in the MacVeagh mansion at 103 Lake Shore drive. An entertainment the evening before had kept the family up late and a number of guests of the evening had remained over night In the house.
Mr. MacVeaghi was the first awakened by the smoke that had filled hie room. Without a thought of the costly house and its costlier interior, he slipped out of bed quietly and groped through the smoke to the doors of tho sleepers, telling them the janitor had allowed the furnace to smoke abominably and that every one should get up and out into the fresh air immediately, Not until he had assisted two halt suffocated domestics through a window into safety did he turn In an alarm to the tire department. This coolness unquestionably preserved the lives of some of the sleeping ones in the four story residence, as long before the fire was subdued smoke had made the rooms untenable.
103 Lake Shore Drive
Prefers Library to Store.
This great house of the MacVeaghs on the Lake Shore drive is one of the landmarks of that avenue of wealth. Its library is the home of the master of the household in which he finds the keenest pleasure in work and study. Mrs. MacVcagh always has been a figure in Chicago’s social life, and the hospitalities of the home are commensurate with the wealth of its occupants. More than once when Chicago has taken up the question of its society leadership, the name of Mrs. MacVeagh has been proposed and pressed by her friends.
The MacVeagh home is near Dublin, N. H., where an elaborate cottage is surrounded by an estate of 50O acres. In this retreat in the New Hampshire hills Mr. MacVeagh spends his summers, leaving Chicago about the 1st of Juno, and returning in October. In late years he has given little of his time and presence to the Wabash avenue grocery house.
“An odd man” seems to be a concise yet commonplace characterization of Frankiln MacVeagh. Most men of his time and circumstances have been content if, availing themselves of Chlcago opportunity, fortune has come as the result of an earnest, aggressive attention to business. Mr. MacVeagh, accepting a. business life as a second choice, has seemed to have fortune come to him at his door.
Long after he is forgotten as a man at business his activities in the fields of his true ambitions will be remembered.
Chicago Tribune, December 9, 1931
Franklin MacVeagh & Co., one of the oldest wholesale grocery houses in the city, will discontinue operation as soon as its stock and equipment are disposed of, about the firat of the year. This was announced yesterday by Franklin MacVegh, one of the founders of the sixty-six year old business and secretary of the treasury under President Taft. Present business conditions were given as the reason for going out of business. Mr. MacVeagh is 91 years old.
“My son, Eames, wanted to close the business some time ago,” he said, “but I did not resolve to do so until a week ago. We could go on, but it does not seem advisable. We have gone through several panics and one great disaster, the Chicago fire. The present depression will end, but it is the most incorrectible situation I have ever experienced. Never before has one been so difficult to control or so mixed up with foreign finances.”
Mr. MacVeagh indulged in reminiscences of his early experience in the grocery business and declared he would miss his business associates and the 400 employes of the company.
He declared that he and the founders of Chicago’s other pioneer wholesale groceries, Albert Sprague & Co. (now Sprague, Warner & Co.) and Reid, Murdoch & Co., had always been friendly competitors. Mr. MacVeagh met the late Albert Sprague at Yale university when they both entered the grocery business in Chicago.
Franklin MacVeagh & Co. originally had four partners, James A. Whitaker, Isaac N. Harmon, Col. John Messer, and Mr. MacVeagh, and was known as Whitaker, Harmon & Co. until Mr. MacVeagh bought the others out. Its present location is 333 West Lake street.
Mr. MacVeagh said that he might devote his time to writing after he disposes of his business. His interests have always been varied and he has headed many civic and charitable associations in Chicago.
MacVeagh’s Legacy: 1913-38 BUFFALO NICKEL
It was a difficult time for Charles Barber, Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint. Although Teddy Roosevelt was no longer in office, his desire to have more classical designs on our coins, as expressed to Augustus Saint-Gaudens over dinner in 1905, was very much alive. Barber’s uninspired Liberty Head nickel had been in production since 1883. Under the Coinage Act of 1890, it was time for a change, and Secretary of the Treasury Franklin MacVeagh, originally a Roosevelt appointee, wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity. Reminded by his son in May, 1911, that a new nickel would be “A permanent souvenir of the most attractive sort,” MacVeagh, pointedly bypassing the competent but mediocre Barber, started the process for a new design.
The Buffalo nickel became a reality less than two years later. On March 4, 1913, coins from the first bag to go into circulation were presented to outgoing President Taft and 33 Indian Chiefs at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the National Memorial to the North American Indian at Fort Wadsworth, New York.