A New Business
A Company Which Speculates in Old Exposition Buildings.
By January 1 the last vestige of
the Pan-American Exposition will have been removed, according to
the calculations of the Chicago Wrecking Company, the firm engaged
in the demolition and disposal of the buildings. Owing to litigation
instituted by the creditors of the exposition company early in the
year and the scarcity of labor completion of the work has been considerably
delayed. From thirty to fifty carloads of lumber, structural iron,
piping and other material are being shipped every day from the grounds
and about two-thirds of the quantity remaining has been sold in
different parts of the United States.
“The Exposition buildings,” said Superintendent
Harris, o[f] the wrecking company, “are being scattered to the four
corners of the country and some of the material has been shipped
to the Bermuda Islands. Most of the lumber, of which more than 33,000,000
feet were used in the Fair, has [been] disposed of to farmers in
nearly every state for barns. As far West as the Dakotas and Nebraska
farm buildings are being erected from Pan-American material.
“The floor of the Temple of Music,
where President McKinley was shot was bought by an Indiana man and
is being used in some kind of a ware house [sic]. That particular
part upon which Mr. McKinley stood at the time of the shooting is
in our office. We propose to present it to th[e] Field Museum at
Chicago. Some new[s]paper accounts, I know, have had it that this
piece of flooring was sent to the Smithsonian Institution at Washington,
but that is not true as you may see for yourself.”
Mr. Harris showed the reporter a square
of flooring upon which was marked the fatal spot where the tragedy
of September, 1901, took place.
“There has been a remarkable lack
of sentiment, or whatever you may choose to call it, in regard [to]
the Temple of Music,” said Mr. Harris. “Thousands of relic hunters
have annoyed us by forcing their way in to see the building, but
nobody seems to want to buy the material for either sentimental
or practical purposes. In our catalogue we made special mention
of the building, and offered to furnish [an] affidavit with each
portion, but there it stands with hardly an offer for any part of
it. In view of the eagerness of the average visitor to get a peep
at the temple we think this rather strange.”
Some of the structures have been sold
outright and rebuilt in other parts of the country. The agricultural
building is now doing service at A[d]rian, Mich., as a wire mill.
The principal power house at the fair
will be a rolling mill at Carnegie, Pa., and one of the buildings
[i]n which the government exhibited the heavy ordnance, near the
border of Delaware Park, is now a ware house [sic] at Clarksville,
One of East Aurora’s enterprising
citizens bought from the wrecking company the Midway building known
as Dreamland and it is now his home in that pretty town.
One half of the hospital building,
to which President McKinley was taken after his death wound, will
be shipped to the Pennsylvania coal region to be used as an office.
It will probably include the room in which the president lay prior
to his removal to the Milburn house.
Bostock’s animal arena, a circular
structure, with a large platform in the centre, was bought for a
dance pavilion, to be used in a town of this state.
So methodical and expert has the wrecking
business became [sic] that there is little or no waste in
the work of razing. Every nail, screw and bolt is saved, and what
is broken in lumber is sold for kindling.
On what was known to Exposition visitors
as the Grand Court, and midway between the Ethnology building and
the Triumphal Causeway, the wrecking company has a saw mill [sic]
in operation. Timber is here converted into lumber to fill orde[r]s,
and various other wood material is changed to suit the market.
Tearing down is a small part of the
work of removing an exposition. Preparing the material for purchasers
is what takes time and skill. An idea of the enormity of the task
may be gained from the following quantities of material which went
to make up the Pan-American Exposition:
Lumber, 33,000,000 feet.
Structural steel, 1,500 tons.
Larg-esized [sic] piping, 40
Small piping, 20 miles.
Sewer pipe, 18 miles.
Steam boilers and engin[e]s, [9?],000
Electric globes, 500,000.
Window sashes, 40,000 square feet.
Doors, 12,000 square feet.
Approximately, the structural cost
of the exposition was [$8,750,000?], for which the Chicago Wrecking
Company paid $132,000 cash. For the Chicago fair of 1893 the same
company, then organized for the first time, paid only $80,000, although
its cost was over $33,000,000. It will thus be seen that whereas
the Buffalo exposition cost about [a?] quarter that of the World’s
Fair, the wreckers paid for the Pan-American buildings $52,000 more.
“We were able to pay more for the
Pan-American,” said Mr. Harris, “largely because of our increased
experience in wrecking and marketing the material. Since 1893 we
have wrecked several big expositions, to say nothing of the numerous
large buildings like the Chicago postoffice, the Four Seasons Hotel
in the Cumberland mountains which cost $1,000,000, and the Cleveland
postoffice. House wrecking on a large scale has become one of the
established vocations, and as it grows in importance the greater
percentage of the original cost of the structures the wreckers can
afford to pay. The more economies they learn by experience the better
it will be for their customers.
“We expect to reck [sic] the World’s
Fair now being constructed at St. Louis, and it will be the biggest
contract ever undertaken in our line. It [i]s a mistake to suppose
that any material used at the Pan-American will go toward building
the St. Louis fair. Not a stck [sic] nor a pound from here has been
sold for that purpose, and the officials would be very foolish to
buy any, as it would at once give the public the impr[ess]ion that
the great exposition was to [be] a [second]hand affair.”—Buffalo