Pan-American a Memory Only
Exposition Grounds Are Strewn with Wreckage of the
—Asphalt Streets Buried with Debris and the Venetian Canals Filled
A broad expanse of uneven land, intersected
here and there with large gullies, piles of bent and rusted tin,
large pieces of [stuff?] strewn about promiscuously, several untrimmed
trees, and countless posts driven almost their entire length into
the ground are the sole remains of the Pan-American Exposition.
Three years have passed since the great tract of land was covered
with the most beautiful of landscape, including fine trees, shrubbery
and plants; beautiful buildings and many features that made the
Buffalo Fair one of the greatest expositions that was ever arranged
within the confines of the United States.
The Exposition was one of the most
beautiful and educational exhibits that citizens had the good fortune
to visit. Without the prejudice that might accompany a home judgment,
Buffalo’s show ranked with the best in the land. Its compactness
was wondered at. Its buildings were architectural beauties. Its
decorative plan was most aesthetic. Its illumination was dazzling
and its educational scope wide. All these triumphs of man’s art
have passed into oblivion. Men look back and wonder at the Exposition,
but today there is hardly a soul who will interest himself sufficiently
to view the remains of the composite city of fun, learning and sports.
Like Devastation of an Army.
Today the Pan-American grounds present
a spectacle that is an eyesore. It has every appearance of being
the location of a great city that was destroyed by an army in battle.
The devastation is complete. Not a semblance of a building remains
standing. Not a complete roadway isleft [sic] within the
boundaries of the Exposition. Not a place of shrubbery that was
transplanted to make the landscape effect striking, thrives. A few
trees, with their misshapen limbs, stand up like ghosts of their
former thriving condition. The ravages of a guerilla band could
not have accomplished greater ruin. The above is but an epitome
of what can be seen at the place where thousands of dollars changed
Nothing Marks Temple of Music.
History was made at the Pan-American
Exposition grounds. President McKinley was shot down by the assassin,
Leon Czolgosz, in the Temple of Music. Nothing remains of the building
in which the President received the fatal wound. A few piles driven
into the ground, the foundation of the building, are monuments to
the site of the base deed. Scattered plaster, a few pieces of tin,
and numerous small fragments of boards remain on the ground to mark
the location of the spot where foul treachery was exchanged for
a cordial greeting.
At the Amherst Street entrance, where
the Pan-American Hospital was located, and to which building the
stricken President was hurried, nothing remains to mark the spot.
Familiarity with the grounds alone aids the sightseer to find the
spot. Like the other building, there are a few pieces of timber
and a quantity of dust lying on the ground to designate the spot
where the suddenly stricken President was taken for treatment.
Foundations as Monuments.
Machinery Hall, the Agricultural
Building, the Plaza Restaurant, and the many other minor structures
have nothing left to mark their identity. Their destruction has
been most complete. A few pieces of the foundation protrude from
the ground. The pile of waste material is rain washed and weather
beaten [sic] and taken together the place looks more like
a public dumping ground than the ruins of an exposition.
The Midway, the scene of many shows
of different character and various descriptions is unrecognizable.
The street of laughter has completely disappeared. There is not
a plank left of the many buildings where the many concessionaries
exhibited to the curious public their freaks, or the products of
ingenious minds. The long lane of asphalt over which thousands of
feet trod daily in and out of the shows is almost hidden from view.
Limbs of Statues Crumbling.
Long strips have been ripped from
the ground. In many spots the homely piles of clay are banked high
an,d [sic] have completely buried the asphalt from view.
At intervals of several hundred feet, the cracked pavement appears
like an oasis in a great desert. In several spots there are to be
found the limb or the bust of a statue which is rapidly being dissolved
by the frequent rains. They are beginning to crumble away to dust.
The Stadium, the remarkable amphitheater
where so many contests of athletic skill took place, is a thing
of the past. The Stadium was the greatest enclosure ever built in
this city, yet like the other buildings it was torn down. The cinder
track is ruined. The wagons that carted wood from the grounds cut
ruts into the best runway that Buffalo athletes ever stepped upon.
Canals Are Dry.
Coursing throughout the entire field
is a series of wild excavations, which have the appearance of being
extraordinary sewer ditches. They are dry, except for the small
amount of water that rests in them from rains. They are all that
remains of the Venetian canals, in which the gondolas plied and
where many a romance had its inception. They have been carefully
drained and in many places the ruins of buildings have been dumped
into the holes to fill them up. One spot in particular appears as
if the entire amount of tin used on the buildings was thrown into
At the points where the bridges spanned
the artificial canals, the dirt is piled high and either side has
the appearance of a rough and uneven declivity of a Colorado canyon,
only on a smaller scale. One would not recognize the grounds as
the place where the canals held the placid waters.
Trees in Poor Shape.
Trees that were imported have been
literally extirpated. A few remain, but there are many holes in
the ground that show where trees once stood and shaded rustic benches
beneath. Four or five dead trees remain and they are decaying with
every passing day.
Comparatively few spots are leveled
and graded. The property adjoining the Park Club and the Rumsey
site have been placed in something like the original condition.
But the greater part is but a mass of debris. The old fence, with
its three rows of barbed wire at the top, is still standing, although
at regular intervals boards have been ripped off and probably were
used to make ready some workingman’s breakfast. The Pan-American
Exposition is a thing of the past, but it will be a long time before
the remains of the city will have disappeared.