The Pan-American Exposition was a World's Fair held in Buffalo, New York, United States, from May 1 through November 2, 1901. The fair occupied 350 acres (1.4 km2) of land on the western edge of what is present day Delaware Park, extending from Delaware Ave. to Elmwood Ave and northward to Great Arrow Ave.
The event was organized by the Pan-American Exposition Company, formed in 1897. Cayuga Island was initially chosen as the place to hold the Exposition because of the island's proximity to Niagara Falls, which was a huge tourist attraction. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, plans were put on hold. After the war, there was a heated competition between Buffalo and Niagara Falls over the location. Buffalo won for two main reasons. First, Buffalo had a much larger population — with roughly 350,000 people, it was the eighth-largest city in the United States. Second, Buffalo had better railroad connections — the city was within a day's journey by rail for over 40 million people. In July 1898, Congress pledged $500,000 for the Exposition to be held at Buffalo. The "Pan American" theme was carried throughout the event with the slogan "commercial well being and good understanding among the American Republics." The advent of the alternating current power transmission system in the US allowed designers to light the Exposition in Buffalo using power generated 25 miles (40 km) away at Niagara Falls.
The exposition is most remembered because President William McKinley was shot by an anarchist, Leon Czolgosz, at the Temple of Music on September 6, 1901; the President died 8 days later. McKinley had given an address at the exposition the previous day; his speech included the following words:
Expositions are the timekeepers of progress. They record the world's advancements. They stimulate the energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people, and quicken human genius. They go into the home. They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people. They open mighty storehouses of information to the student....
The newly-developed X-ray machine was displayed at the fair, but doctors were reluctant to use it on McKinley to search for the bullet because they did not know what side effects it might have had on him. Also, the operating room at the exposition's emergency hospital did not have any electric lighting, even though the exteriors of many of the buildings were covered with thousands of light bulbs. Doctors used a pan to reflect sunlight onto the operating table as they treated McKinley's wounds.
Lina Beecher, creator of the Flip Flap Railway, attempted to demonstrate one of his looping roller coasters at the fair, but the organizers of the event considered the ride to be too dangerous and refused to allow it on the grounds.
- The Administration Building
- The Agricultural, Manufacturers, and Liberal Arts Buildings designed by George Shepley.
- The Electric Tower (the fair's center piece) designed by John Galen Howard.
- The Electricity Building designed by Green & Wicks.
- The Ethnology Building designed by George Cary.
- The Government Building designed by James Knox Taylor.
- The Machinery and Transportation Building designed by Green & Wicks.
- The Mines, Forestry and Graphic Arts Building, and Horticulture Buildings all designed by Robert Swain Peabody.
- The New York State Building designed by George Cary and constructed of Vermont Marble.
- The Stadium, used for athletic sports was modeled after the Panathenaic Stadium.
- The Temple of Music which served as the center for the live performances. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson.
- The Woman's Building
- The Court of Fountains, the central court to the exposition.
- The Great Amphitheater
- The Triumphal Bridge, which was positioned over the "Mirror Lake"
- Joshua Slocum's sloop, the Spray, on which he had recently sailed around the world alone.
- A Trip to the Moon (attraction)
When the fair ended, most of the buildings were demolished and the grounds were cleared and subdivided to be used for residential streets. Similar to previous world fairs, most of the buildings were constructed of timber and steel framing with precast staff panels made of a plaster/fiber mix. These buildings were built as a means of rapid construction and temporary ornamentation and not made to last. A boulder marking the site of McKinley's assassination was placed in a grassy median on Fordham Drive in Buffalo. The New York State Building, located in Delaware Park, was designed to permanently outlast the Exposition and is presently used as a museum by the Buffalo History Museum. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, it can be visited on Nottingham Court. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery was intended to be used as a Fine Arts Pavilion but delays in its construction saw it uncompleted in time. The original Electric Tower, although demolished, was the inspiration and design prototype for the 13 story, Beaux-Arts Electric Tower, built in 1912, in downtown Buffalo.
- Ticket Cost: US$0.25
($7.00 in 2013 dollars).
- Total Event Expense: US$7 million
($196 million in 2013 dollars)
- Visitors: 8,000,000
- Put Me Off at Buffalo – popular song used to advertise the Exposition
- List of world's fairs
- Louisiana Purchase Exposition
- Raphael Beck
- Temple of Music
- Assassination of William McKinley
- World's Columbian Exposition
- "Lina Beecher Obituary". Batavia Daily News. October 6, 1915.
- Arnold, Charles (1901). Official catalogue of Pan-American exposition. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- Heverin, Aaron (December 14, 1998). "The Architecture". buffalohistoryworks. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- "Buffalo's Pan-American Exposition" Arcadia Publishing. (1998), page 23. Retrieved 2011-8-5.
- Peterson, Harold (2003). "Buffalo Builds the 1901 Pan-American Exposition". Buffalo as History. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2013. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "Pan-American Exposition Bibliography". Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- Goodrich, Arthur (August 1901). "Short Stories of Interesting Exhibits". The World's Work: A History of Our Time II: 1054–1096. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- Page, Walter H. (August 1901). "The Pan-American Exposition". The World's Work: A History of Our Time II: 1014–1048. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pan-American Exposition.|
- Pan-American Exposition Scrapbooks: A collection on New York Heritage
- William McKinley Autographed Pan-American Exposition Souvenir Booklet Shapell Manuscript Foundation
- Official catalogue and guide book to the Pan-American Exposition: with maps
- Doing the Pan
- Illuminations: Revisiting the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition of 1901
- Music Images from the Pan-American Exposition
- Movies of the Exposition and more
- The Buffalo History Museum
- Google Maps Street View of the memorial marker on Fordham Drive.