The Pan-American Exposition, 1901
time had come for North and South America to unite in a noble enterprise
illustrating their community of interests. United States people
were deplorably ignorant of their southern neighbors, this accounting
in part for the paucity of our trade with them. They knew as little
of us. Our war with Spain had caused them some doubts touching our
intentions toward the Spanish-Americans. An exposition was a hopeful
means of bringing about mutual knowledge and friendliness. But the
fair could not be ecumenical. At Chicago and Paris World’s Fairs
had reached perhaps almost their final development. To compete in
interest, so soon, with such vast displays, an exposition must specialize
On May 20th, the day of opening, a
grand  procession marched
from Buffalo to the Exposition grounds. Inspired by the music of
twenty bands representing various nations, the parade wound through
the park gate up over the Triumphal Bridge into the Esplanade. As
the doors of the Temple of Music were thrown open, ten thousand
pigeons were released, which, wheeling round and round, soared away
to carry in all directions their messages announcing that the Exposition
had begun. The Hallelujah Chorus was rendered, when Vice-President
Roosevelt delivered the dedicatory address.
The authors of the Pan-American, architects,
landscape-gardeners, sculptors, painters, and electricians, aimed
first of all to create a beautiful spectacle. Entering by the Park
Gateway you passed from the Forecourt, attractive by its terraces
and colonnades, to the Triumphal Bridge, a noble portal, with four
monumental piers surmounted by equestrian figures, “The Standard-bearers.”
This dignified entrance was in striking contrast with the gaudy
and barbarous opening to the Paris Exposition. From the gate the
 whole panorama spread out
before the eye. Down the long court with its fountains, gardens,
and encircling buildings, you saw the Electric Tower soaring heavenward,
fit expression of the mighty power from Niagara, which at night
made it so glorious. The central court bore the form of a cross.
At either side of the gate lay transverse courts, each adorned with
a lake, fountains, and sunken gardens, and ending in curved groups
of buildings. On the east was the Government Group; on the west
that devoted to horticulture, mines, and the graphic arts. The intersection
of the two arms formed the 
Esplanade, spacious enough for a quarter of a million people, and
commanding a superb view. Connected by pergolas with the building
in the transverse ends two structures, the Temple of Music and the
Ethnology Building, stood like sentinels at the entrance to the
Court of Fountains. A group of buildings enclosed this court, terminating
in the Electric Tower at the north. From the Electric Tower round
to the Gateway again all the buildings were joined by cool colonnades.
Beyond the Tower was the Plaza, a charming little court, its sunken
garden and band-stand surrounded by colonnades holding statuary.
The broad and spacious gardens with
their wealth of verdure, their lakes, fountains, and statuary, formed
a picture of indescribable charm. Nothing here suggested exhibits.
Instead, spectators yielded to the spell of the beautiful scene.
Chicago was serious and classic; Buffalo romantic, picturesque,
even frivolous. The thought seemed to have been that, life in America
being so intense, a rare holiday ought to bring diversion and amuse-
 ment. No style of architecture
could have contributed better to such gayety than the Spanish-Renaissance,
light, ornate, and infinitely varied, lending itself to endless
decoration in color and relief, and no more delicate compliment
could have been paid our southern neighbors than this choice of
their graceful and attractive designs. Each building was unique
and original in plan. Domes, pinnacles, colonnades, balconies, towers,
and low-tiled roofs afforded endless variety. The Electric Tower,
designed by Mr. Howard, the central point in the scheme of architecture,
its background of columns and its airy perforated walls and circular
cupola with the Goddess of Light above, combined massiveness with
lightness. Other buildings were strikingly quaint and pleasing,
especially those suggesting the old Southern 
Missions. All blended into the general scheme with scarcely a discord.
This harmony was not accidental, but resulted from combined effort,
each architect working at a general plan, yet not sacrificing his
individual taste. It was an object lesson in massive architecture,
showing how easily public edifices may be made beautiful each in
itself, and to increase each other’s beauty by artistic grouping.
Perhaps the most novel feature of
the Fair was the coloring. Charles Y. Turner’s color-scheme, original
and daring, called forth much criticism. With the Chicago White
City the Rainbow City at Buffalo was a startling contrast. But the
artist knew what he was doing when he boldly applied the gayest
and brightest colors to buildings and columns, and added to the
quaint architecture that bizarre and oriental touch in keeping with
the festal purposes of the occasion. The rich, warm tones formed
a perfect background for the white statuary, the green foliage,
and the silvery fountains. The Temple of Music was a Pompeian red,
Horticultural Hall orange, with details of blue, green, and yellow.
The  whole effect was fascinating,
and at night, when the electric lights illumined and softened the
But the coloring had a deeper meaning
than this. Mr. Turner tried to depict, in his gradations of tone,
the struggle of Man to overcome the elements, and his progress from
barbarism to civilization. Thus, at the Gate, 
the strongest primary colors were used in barbaric warmth, yet in
their warmth suggestive of welcome. As you advanced down the court
the tones became milder and lighter, until they culminated in the
soft ivory and gold of the Electric Tower, symbol of Man’s crowning
achievements. Everywhere you found the note of Niagara, green, symbolizing
the great power of the falls.
Many forgot that in all this Mr. Turner
was working from Greek models. Color was lavishly used on the Athenian
temples, rich backgrounds of red or blue serving to throw the sculptural
adornments into vivid relief. Buffalo was in this a commentary on
classic art, revealing what fine effects may be produced by out-of-door
coloring when suited to surroundings. We saw that in our timid,
conventional avoidance of exterior colors we had missed something;
that cheerful colors might well supplant on our houses the eternal
sombre of gray and brown, as they so often and so gloriously do
The power sculpture may have in exterior
decoration was also taught. At Buffalo 
statues were not set up in long rows as in museums. Instead you
beheld noble and beautiful groups in natural environments of bright
green foliage with temples and blue sky above, or forming pediments
and friezes upon buildings. White nymphs and goddesses bent over
fountains or peeped from beneath trees or the ornate columns of
pergolas. One was greeted at every turn by these gleaming figures,
a vital and integral part of the landscape.
Carl Bitter, director of sculpture,
aimed to make sculpture teach while it decorated. He sought to tell
in sculpture the story of man and nature. In the lake fronting the
Government Building stood a fountain of Man. A half-veiled form,
mysterious Man, occupied a pedestal composed of figures of the five
senses. Underneath the basin the Virtues struggled with the Vices.
Minor groups depicted the different ages. The most remarkable was
Mr. Konti’s Despotic Age. The grim tyrant sat in his chariot, driven
by Ambition, who goaded on the four slaves in the traces, while
Justice and Mercy  cowered
in chains behind. In the opposite court was told the story of Nature.
Most striking there was Mr. Elwell’s figure of Kronos, standing,
with winged arms, on a turtle. From the Fountain of Abundance on
the Esplanade, Flora was represented as tossing garlands of flowers
to the chubby cherubs at her feet. The main court, dedicated to
the achievements of man, had groups representing the Human Intellect
and Emotions. The sculptures about the Electric Tower naturally
related to the  Falls. There
were primeval Niagara and the Niagara of to-day, as well as figures
symbolic of the Lakes and the Rivers.
Copies of the most famous marbles,
like the Playful Faun and the Venus of Melos, embellished the Plaza.
Many fine modern pieces adorned the grounds, as Roth’s stirring
“Chariot Race” and St. Gaudens’s equestrian statue of General Sherman.
Sculpture was profusely used to beautify buildings. Wholly original
and charming were the four groups for the Temple of Music: Heroic
Music, Sacred Music, Dance Music, and Lyric Music. Perched in every
corner were figures of children playing different instruments.
Much of the sculpture, was careless
in execution—not surprising when we consider that over 500 pieces
were set up in less than five months, and that the artists’ models
had to be enlarged by machinery. But in vigor and originality of
thought and as a testimony to the progress which art had made in
this country, the exhibit was truly wonderful. All the arts were
employed. To many it  was
mainly an Art Exhibition, the artistic feature making a stronger
impression than any other. As a work of art the Exposition could
not but effect permanent good, demonstrating what may be done to
beautify our cities and dwellings and cultivating our love for the
beautiful in art and nature.
The supreme glory of the Exposition
lay in its electrical illumination. Niagara was used to create a
city of light more dazzling than any dream. “As the moment for the
illumination approached, the band hushed and a stillness fell upon
the multitude. Suddenly dull reddish threads appeared on the globes
of the near-by lamp-pillars. A murmur of expectation ran through
the crowd. For an instant the great tower seemed to pulse with a
thread of life before the eye became sensible to what had taken
place. Then its surfaces gleamed with a faint flush like the flush
which church spires catch from the dawn. This deepened slowly to
pink and then to red. . . . In a moment the architectural skeletons
of the great buildings had been picked out in lines of red light.
 Then the whole effect mellowed
into luminous yellow. The material exposition had been transfigured,
and its glorified ghost was in its place. . . . Every night this
modern miracle was worked by the rheostat housed in a humble shed
somewhere in the inner recesses of the exposition.”
The centre of light was the Tower.
It was suffused with the loveliest glow of gold, ivory, and delicate
green, all blending. The lights revealed and interpreted the architecture,
 softening the colors and
adding the subtle charm of mystery. A hundred beautiful hues were
reflected in the waters of the fountains. The floral effects made
by submerged lights in the basin were exquisite, and the witchery
of the scene was indescribable.
The chaining of Niagara for electric
purposes was of course a prominent feature of the fair. Electricity
was almost, or quite, the sole motor used on the grounds; 5,000
horsepower being directly from Niagara’s total of 50,000. Niagara
circulated the salt water in the fisheries and kept their water
at the right temperature. It operated telephones, phonographs, soda
fountains, the big search-lights, the elevators, the machines in
the Machinery Building, the shows and illusions in the Midway.
At Chicago we were ashamed of the
Midway. We had since learned to play. Buffalo used utmost ingenuity
to provide sensations and novelties. The Midway was made fascinating.
You saw in it every variety of buildings, representing all countries
from Eskimodom to Darkest Africa. Cairo had 
eight streets with 600 natives. The Hawaiian and Philippine villages
were centres of interest, revealing the every-day life of our new-won
lands. In Alt-Nürnberg you dined to the strains of a German orchestra.
The magnificent amphitheatre, covering
ten acres, a monument to American athletics, was built after the
marble Stadium of Lycurgus at Athens. An Athletic Congress celebrated
American supremacy in athletic sports. The programme included basket-ball
tournaments, automobile, bicycle, and track and field championship
races, lacrosse matches, and canoe “meets.” 
The exhibits at Buffalo, though less
ample, naturally showed advance over the corresponding ones at Chicago.
The guns and ammunition of the United States ordnance department
excited interest, for we were now making our own war supplies. A
picturesque log building was devoted to forestry. The Graphic Arts
Building showed the great strides made in printing and engraving.
A model dairy was operated in a quaint little cottage on the grounds.
Fifty cows of the best breeds were tested and the tests recorded.
A conservatory contained a very fine
collection of food plants, alive and growing, sent from South and
Central America; also eight different kinds of tea plants from South
Carolina. A small coffee plantation and some vanilla vines had been
transplanted from Mexico. Nearly every country in Spanish America
was represented. Cuba, San Domingo, Ecuador, Chile, Honduras, Mexico,
and Canada had buildings. Sections in the Government Building were
devoted to exhibits from Porto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the
The United States Government Building
was most interesting. New inventions made its exhibits live. In
place of reading reports and statistics, you saw scenes and heard
sounds. Class-room songs and recitations were reproduced by the
graphophone. The biograph showed naval cadets marching while at
the same time you heard the band music. Labor-saving machines were
represented in full operation. Pictures by wire, the mutoscope,
and type-setting by electricity were among the wonders shown. Every
day a crew of the life-saving service gave a demonstration, launching
a life-boat and rescuing a 
sailor. Near by was a field hospital, where wounded soldiers were
cared for. Many of the newest uses for electricity were displayed.
Never before had lighting been so brilliant or covered such large
areas, or such speed in telegraphy been attained, or telephoning
reached such distances. The akouphone, a blessing to the deaf, was
exhibited, as were also the powerful search-lights now a necessity