The Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo
The Delineator Magazine, July 1901
Did you ever see, when you were a child, a picture called "The Voyage of Life?" In the foreground was a boat with a youthful figure in the bow, and in the distance rose a city of domes and towers, pillars and minarets, beautiful, fairy-like, dream-like. To the childish mind it seemed impossibly lovely, yet such a city has risen almost on the shores of Lake Erie, where the Pan- American Exposition is displaying its wonderful beauty of form and color. Even to the visitor who recollects the White City at Chicago, or the more recent Exposition at Paris, this latest one of all dawns quite in the light of something new under the sun. At previous Expositions there had been considerable experimenting with color, but it was so unsuccessful that the idea was dropped. At the Pan-American it has proved one of the chief beauties; the buildings were planned to permit its use, and the wealth of ornamentation with which they are covered gains greater value from the fact that its cunning intricacies are more pronounced and catch the eye.
It is to Mr. C.Y.Turner that we are indebted for the perfect cohesion of the scheme of color. The advantage of having one head in each department is strikingly evident in this Exposition, for detail has been made subservient to general effect. Carrere & Hastings have been the guiding architectural chiefs in the grounds and landscape work. Mr. Turner has planned and carried out the color, Mr. Carl Bitter has superintended the statuary. All have had an equal chance, and no one portion has been brought into prominence at the expense of others equally worthy.
The use of color has not only the merit of beauty, but it conveys sentiment as well. Who that ever has seen the Niagara River can forget that deep, satisfying green that shows in its swirling waters below the Falls? Mr. Turner has taken this green as his dominant color in the whole arrangement. No building is without some touches of it, and the Electric Tower, the highest expression of beauty in the whole Exposition, has the greatest amount and richest shade of this color, mingled with ivory and gold. To the various other buildings colors have been assigned which seem appropriate. The Horticultural Building is splendid with orange, its minor details showing blue, green, gold and rose. The Music Hall is rich in red. The buildings on the outer edge of the grounds are the deepest in color, paling till they reach the heart of the Exposition, crowned by the Electric Tower and its splashing fountains.
This Tower, always lovely, is, perhaps, most fairy-like at dusk. You stand and watch its graceful proportions, see its rows of pillars outlined against the sky rich with the sunset glow, gradually fading into gloom. You almost lose its outline, when suddenly from base to the top of the flying figure on its dome, it springs to view again all bright gold, and you heave a sigh at your happiness in viewing such pure and harmless magic.
As one stands on the Triumphal Bridge, that sumptuous entrance to the great Esplanade, the heart swells with pride at the prospect. Before one lies a detailed display of the progress of the three Americas, a grand showing of the resources of the Western World. Americans are often credited among their elder cousins across the sea with a too-ardent desire to "let the eagle scream." Perhaps this is true, but at the Pan-American there is every reason why his voice should be heard, and in triumph, too. In fact, he is not quite as much in evidence in the decorations as an ardent American might desire, but his presence is felt none the less.
For the last couple of years we have been hearing about the Pan-American without taking in its full scope. Heretofore we have been lamentably ignorant about many of the states of South and Central America, their resources, their products and their progress. This Summer we may better this lack of acquaintance, and we will learn that some of these smaller states and republics are becoming notable factors in the strides the western hemisphere is taking.
In the matter of food products, and in undeveloped mineral resources their wealth is almost unestimated, while their success in the raising and exporting of live stock is quite phenominal. A single province in the Argentine Republic exports daily to Europe thirteen thousand carcasses of the finest mutton, fattened on rice, which the world can produce.
We have entered the grounds across the beautiful bridge designed by Carrere & Hastings, its four towers crowned by Carl Bitter's striking equestrian statues. The bridge is gay with banners; mirror lakes bear on their breasts gondolas looking like huge blackbirds in contrast with the snowy swans which float beside them. Before us lies the Esplanade, flanked on each side by those roofed colonnades called pergolas, which form ideal restaurants, permitting light and air as well as a view of the procession of vases filled with flowering plants.
At both ends of the Esplanade are two groups of fountains, bearing figures of heroic size, the plash of the water and the gleaming statues giving a feeling of coolness even beneath a Summer sun. There is nowhere about the grounds, comprising three hundred and fifty acres, a single arid spot; trees are growing in abundance, looking as if they always belonged here, and the floral display furnishes pleasure for whoever loves a flower. Beside the familiar friends of house and garden there are rarer beauties from hotter climates, and exhibits of greenhouse plants as well. One may rave over the tuberous begonias till distracted by the Spanish iris or caladiums, while the housewife who has been so proud of her palm may well wonder if this stately tree rising before her should be called by the same name.
The buildings are placed in the grounds with a certain pleasing regularity, the two great structures dedicated to Machinery and Transportation, and Manufactures and Liberal Arts, being on each side of a great walk, the centre of which is occupied with fountains and cascades and is shaded by fine trees. There is between these main buildings and those next them a Court of Lilies on the one hand and a Court of Cypresses on the other; and if wearied by the sight of the handiwork of man, one may withdraw and enjoy the handiwork of Nature.
If we choose to wander through the grounds before seeking to explore the twenty or more dignity to bridges and are placed wherever a corner or nook may be found to show them to advantage. Indeed, a careful study of these one hundred and twenty-five pieces comes almost under the head of a liberal education in sculpture, for the groups have been modelled by the best and strongest men in America. It is enough to say that such names as Herbert Adams, Carl Bitter, Paul Bartlett, F. E. Elwell, Hinton R. Perry, Isadore Konti, Philip Martiny and Charles Grafly appear among those who have contributed work, to place the stamp of superiority upon the sculpture. There is also a wealth of beauty in the adornment of each building, the designers seemig to vie with each other as to who should produce the most appropriate and beautiful embellishment. Not a curve is lost, the color serving to bring out the lacelike beauty and render visible what would be otherwise barely noticeable had the staff been kept in its original color.
Speaking of the wonderful attention to detail observed, the Agricultural Building will serve as an example. In the east and west entrances, which are airy, single arches, there is beautiful decoration of heavily fruited grape vines growing over lattice-work These are colored in their natural tints. Raise your eyes to the eaves and you will find the ornamentation just below the tiles is a repeated arrangement of animals' heads: the ram with curved horns, the head of the massive steer, and our humble but valuable friend, the porker, are all represented. The roof of the building, in common with most others, is of red tiling, harmonizing with the Spanish renaissance style of architecture. There are covered walks along the sides of the building connecting the east and west with the south or main entrance. This latter is ornamented with heroic-sized groups representing the "Sower" and the " Reaper."
Perhaps no structure is more symbolical of its use than the Temple of Music, a striking building octagonal in form and richly decorated with sculpture typifying music, grave and gay, religious and heroic. The Temple is crowned with a dome; the cornice is rich in decoration and bears the names of composers and musicians whose works have made them famous everywhere.
There is a certain spirit of gayety which breathes through the whole Exposition, the color contributing to it largely, the numerous lakes reflecting it and the crowds of waving banners fluttering it in the air. It is not alone the feeling of festivity which attracts the visitor, but a feeling of wonder at the marvellous progress in civilization which this youthful nation has made. If you wish to be fully and deeply impressed with this, cross from the Temple of Music to the Etnology Building, one of the most beautiful of the whole group. While the former is octagonal the latter is circular in shape, and gathered in it are exhibits from South and Central America and Mexico. Most instructing of all are the models of the villages of the Indian, the first possessors of this same fertile region, who fondly imagined these happy hunting grounds and this grand Niagara theirs by inalienable right. Scarcely one hundred and fifty years ago, on this very site where the Rainbow City stands showing the highest development in art, science and manufactures, the Indian followed the trail which led to the Genesee and the Mohawk, as yet scarcely a victim to the white man's firewater and musket. The casual observer and the student may see grouped together here the original implements pertaining to warfare and husbandry, and, farther along, the illustration of that period when "Lo" retained his primitive customs but used many articles gained in trade with the early settlers. There are also many manuscripts, books and letters of the early explorers and missionaries, some of them leaving anything but a feeling of exultation as we take in fully our treatment of these children of the wilderness.
Some distance from this building are some interesting reproductions of some of the famous Indian mounds found in the West, among others that of the serpent swallowing an egg. The burial chamber in a round tumulus from Ohio is shown, and also implements and pottery made centuries ago by the Incas and Aztecs. What would one of these primitive people think if they could wander with us through any one of these buildings crowded to the doors with labor-saving appliances ?
The whole world acknowledges American superiority in the the manufacture of those machines which have revolutionized agricu:tural work. Not only these machines arouse one's admiration and surprise, but also the delicate and intricate machines employed in making shoes, rubber goods, thread, watches, pins, needles and hooks and eyes. One looks almost with awe on these powerful ones used in working metals, for generating and using steam. Then there are machines for wood-working, for glass-making, for stone-cutting, and a thousand and one devices bearing testimony to American inventiveness and skill in making appliances for special purposes.
Not only will these machines be in active operation, but
there are three forces which may be used to supply power, so rich in its
The Electrical Building, like all the others, preserves the general character of the Spanish renaissance, in deference to our Southern sisters. The red-tiled roofs give pleasing tone, and all the details preserve the architectural characteristics. Observe the windows, beautifully grilled, lending still further to the illusion. One may almost expect while wandering through the pergolas or covered walks beside the buildings, to see a white hand wave a handkerchief through the envious bars and behold an Andalusian maid with a rose in her black hair smiling behind them. The pure, strong colors used in much of the decoration are those the Moors delighted in, and in the Niagara green that has been introduced so freely and so successfully, we recognize the same beautiful shade which in the old pottery and tiles of Granada has charmed the world.
The building first completed was the Service Building, and near it is placed a neat little hospital. Beyond, toward the centre of the grounds, is the only brick building in the Exposition. It is an incubator for infants, and is considered one of the marvels of the Pan-American . There is something to attract the student, no matter what branch of Art, Science or Nature he affects, and one thing that appeals particularly to the Nature student is the admirable arrangement for observing the life of bees. They are to be lodged in glass hives and the whole interesting phenomena from the "piping" of the young queens to the storing of the completed comb may be easily seen. There is also a section devoted to our native wildflowers and plants, one to birds and one to insects.
Delaware Park has been under cultivation for years and is a fine example of successful work by the landscape gardener; and in a most clever and apparently natural way the old park and the new, within whose borders the Exposition stands, have been dove-tailed one into the other. The garden effects in the Exposition grounds naturally fall into rather formal lines, the planning of the beds suggesting the stately gardens of the Old World, rather than the trained luxuriance of the new.
In a beautiful plot of ground on the hill which rises above the Park Lake stands the Art Building, which was erected to take the place of the Albright Art Gallery when it was found that the latter could not be completed in time for the Exposition.
Up to this time we have confined our attention to the exterior of the buildings and the grounds. On entering the halls we find the same thoughtful care bestowed which pleased our eyes on the outside. The booths are built of a similar height, and the wall space above thern is utilized further to embellish the building. From the great rafters which support the roof hang cloud-like drapings of light cloth, each building having its own appropriate color. These draperies are brought over to the side walls,and below them are painted tapestries illustrating the exhibits in each particular building. The Agricultural Building is hung in pale green, and the decorative tapestries all show scenes of husbandry or some subject connected with farm life. Interspersed a r e groups of flags and banners, lending brightness to an already gay scene and gently swaying in the cool breezes which sweep up from the lake.
The interior decoration, while done in connection with the exterior coloring, has been planned and executed by Miss Adelaide Thorpe, of New York. She has been very successful in decorative work in private houses, and when this great opportunity presented itself, Mr. Turner considered her the most capable person he knew to carry the work to a successful finish.Her tasteful arrangement is duly admired, and has caused surprise that the interior possibilities were not grasped at other Expositions.
The appointment of Miss Thorpe but carries out the aim of the Exposition in making no classification by sex. If a woman's work is good it is fitted to take its place among other exhibits of a similar character, and if it is poor there is no room for it. There are, however, some industries conducted by women for which sufficient space for a separate exhibit could not be secured. The Committee of Applied Arts on the Woman's Board arranged to place all these exhibits together in the Manufactures Building. Then it was found that some men also could not secure the desired space. so their work is to be united with the women's in a collective exhibit. Many home industries whose advance is not generally known are brought into prominence. Among these are aesthetic rugmaking, artistic setting of jewels and gold and silver work, pottery, and carved and burnt leather work. Women are excelling in all these branches, and it is quite time that due recognition should be given to their efforts-in fact so anxious is the Committee to secure a notable exhibit of the highest class work,thatcases, attendants and care of exhibits have all been included in one item of expense.
The Woman's Administrative Building is a typical country club house, surrounded by trees and havingwide and shady piazzas. It is most agreeably placed near a beautiful rose garden and fairly in the midst of the fine Horticultural Exhibit. While far enough away from the heart of the Exposition to permit its visitors rest and quiet, it is but a short walk from the Triumphal Bridge and the main buildings. This house will be used as a headquarters for social and business meetings of women. It contains, in addition to offices and several tea-rooms, a large hall, which is to be a reading-room when not used for social or business gatherings. Many societies have chosen Buffalo as a meeting place for their conventions. The New York State Federation, the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union are some of the largest organizations so far registered.
It is anticipated that many thousands of Daughters of the American Revolution will visit the Exposition this Surrimer, and the Board of Women Managers will be pleased to do anything in their power to make the Daughters' stay agreeable. The Buffalo chapter will be glad to register all out-of-town D. A. R.s, and it is hoped that such visitors will make their presence known at the Woman's Building. In fact, this building is largely for the benefit of the visitors to the Exposition, and women going there alone or from a great distance, by reporting themselves at this office, will be hospitably treated and their wishes furthered by the Board of Managers.
The visitor to the Pan-American must not remain content with seeing the Exposition only. There are many points of interest in the immediate neighborhood which should claim attention from every American as marking neriods in progress from dependence to independence. To many people a visit to Niagara Falls will prove as much of a treat as the Exposition itself, and the marvellous rides on each side of the Gorge to Lewiston and Queenstown are not easily crowded from the memory. Clinging to the very edge of the cliff, you creep down the rocky sides, past the boiling Whirlpool Rapids, Devil's Hole and the ruins of Fort Gray. You may study Old Fort Niagara with its early historic associations, or the site of Fort Little Niagara, built by the French and dating as far back as 1750. In fact all this region, so replete with natural beauty and so hallowed by early struggles, is alone worth a trip of many bundrcd miles, and in planning the length of time to be given to the Exposition, if possible, a couple of days should be added for Niagara and its surroundings. The trolley lines by which all these trips may be accomplished make it possible to go over the ground rapidly and at a comparatively small expense. The city of Buffalo also contains many points of historic interest, and a report of these has been prepared by the patriotic and historical societies of Buffalo. In fact, the people of Buffalo seem to have thought and prepared for the pleasure of their guests in every direction, and it is only necessary to state one's tastes in order to have them gratified.
There are ample provisions for obtaining refreshments on the grounds. Two large restaurants are placed at the entrances of the Midway and the Stadium; there is still another in the Midway, one in the Electric Tower, and light meals are served in the pergolas and on the Esplanade. In the German Village, and in the Mexican and Italian restaurants, food is served according to the custom of each country. There are also numerous lunch counters where food may be very cheaply obtained, so that every palate and every purse may be suited.
On the opposite side of the grounds from the Woman's Building are grouped the buildings erected by different States and countries, the Ordnance Exhibit and the Encampment of the Six Nations. No one should miss an examination of the Ordnance Exhibit of the United States Government, showing the modern weapons used in the recent wars. Outside the buildings the heavy ordnance is displayed, including those recent marvellous inventions, the twelve-inch gun with disappearing carriage, and the new sea-coast rifle, the most powerful ordnance ever constructed, having a range of twenty miles. Indeed, till the Government exhibits are of peculiar interest, in view of the late experiences with both Army and Navy. The display of models of war vessels, including armored and unarrnored ships, torpedo boats and destroyers, transports, fumigation and repair ships will be practically complete. The fleets which operated in Cuba and Manila will be shown in models, correctly grouped. The War Department shows equipments for military or civilian use, defenses, camp equipage and all that multitude must be supplied when the army takes the field.
The Treasury Department shows how money is coined, and there are complete collections of coins of all nations, as well as of United States currency.
On the large lake in the Park there is a Life-Saving Station fully equipped and showing daily the means used for saving life on the coast.
The Fisheries present never-ending objects of interest, with all the small fry in various stages of development. There are numerous stockyards, where fine cattle are on show, to the number of six thousand, and the lover of superior horseflesh is not denied the sight of his favorites, for a horse-show is a great feature.
At the upper end of the grounds, just in front of the Propylaea, is a great open space with a band-stand in the centre. In this stand bands from all countries play at stated times, while the air is filled with music and the scent of flowers, for the stand is surrounded with sunken gardens.
The Stadium or arena is used daily for open-air sports, including bull-fights with the horrors eliminated. Many games, races, etc., both professional and amateur, are going on, with many champions competing.
As yet we have barely mentioned the appearance of the Exposition at night; then it is fairyland, indeed. It is almost idle to use numbers and say three hundred thousand electric lights are used to decorate buildings and grounds. But when it is said the buildings stand out ablaze against the dusky background of the night, that the Electric Tower of green, gold and ivory crowned iyith its golden goddess can be seen twenty miles away, and that even the fountains and cascades sparkle through the gloom with rainbow tints, then some idea of the lovely spectacle may be imagined.
It was thought that extreme beauty in electrical effects had been secured at the "White City," but those triumphs pale before the illumination that decorates this "Rainbow City." The tower has its 409 feet of beauty lighted in three ways. Thousands of incandescent lamps are imbedded in its walls, making it look almost translucent. Search-lights are placed oil the top, and at the base are ten huge lights, protected by different colored glasses, so that it will be possible to throw the tints of the rainbow on the building or the cascades. One cannot from mere words gain any idea of the beauty of the fountains which ornament the grounds. These will be spouting all the time. One particular fountain, however, shows its wonders only at night and then for a brief period. In North Bay, which lies the southern end of the Midway, there is a small artificial island, and it is on this island that the electric fountain is placed. The main jet of water rises two hundred and fifty feet in air, and more smaller jets. These smaller jets are operated so as to produce patterns of falls, pyramids, etc., in endless variety, so that the designs may vary each evening. Below the basin where these waters play is a great room ceiled with different colored glasses. By throwing powerful lights through these glasses the lovely changing effects are produced. In this same room are placed the pumps which operate the jets of water, and the variety and beauty of the changes are illimitable. The shores of the North Bay provide room for thousands of spectators.
There has been a disposition in some quarters to question the taste of the managers in using such a comparatively small space in which to set the buildings. General effect is, of course, a point earnestly to be considered, but the convenience of the public is to our minds even a more potent factor.
To see even cursorily the sights presented at a great exposition is a pleasure necessarily attended with great fatigue. When the buildings are separated by great distances which must be traversed. Under a Summer sun the fatigue is brought to a maximum, and one is often tempted to forego the sight of something which really interests one, rather than travel the weary way which leads there. The compactness of this Exposition will prove to its visitors one of its conspicuous merits. They will enjoy its many beautiful vistas and views, its wealth of floral and sculptured beauty with less weariness of flesh, since they are perusing an edition de luxe instead of a mighty, unabridged volume. Wheel chairs with attendants or without simplify matters much for people who are delicate or easily fatigued. They may be used both in the buildings and on the grounds.
The members of the Gypsy Camp are living their nomadic life undisturbed by the sight of civilized appliances. The pleasures of life on all Ostrich Farm can be guessed by watching the ungainly birds stalking about and by calculating the power generated in one flap of the powerful wing or one stride of those huge legs. The Indian Congress is situated on the Midway and has no connection with the Six Nations' exhibit, which is made by the Exposition. Forty-two tribes will be represented in the Congress, and they have a fine collection of relics and implements from all parts of North America. There are some notable Indians here - the girl Winona, who is such a wonderful rifle shot and, at the Six Nations, Chief red Cloud, an imposing figure with his feathers and bone ornaments, which need all his dignity to carry them off. The old Indian woman said to be over a hundred years old and living in her own but, which has been brought with her, seems still to enjoy life in her own fashion. When one sees how easily these primitive people fill the wants of Nature and how simple "housekeeping " seems to be, the thought will arise if, after all, the benefits of civilization counterbalance its wear and tear.
Venice in America is perhaps the most fairylike part of the gay Midway, and one can stand on a tiny Rialto without being baited like Shylock, or may cross a miniature Bridge of Sighs. With a bit of silver and the necessary courage one may tempt fate by going up in a captive balloon, and if one cannot see enough of the world in this way, he may go "Around the World," next door. It seems as if the invention of man had been taxed to its uttermost to bring together into one place such a variety of amusements.
Buffalo with its two hundred and twenty-five miles of shady, asphalted streets may well be called the wheelman's paradise. From August 6 to August 17, there are to be athletic events which will be spoken of more fully later.
All that we have seen hitherto has been of a character to provide food for thought as well as amusement. For the visitor who wishes to partake purely of pleasure there is an ample field. A Midway, with new attractions and old favorites, has been given a large section of the grounds, and one may at once see life in an Arab encampment, idle away a morning in aVenetian gondola, wander through the "Streets of Mexico," float through the air in a sort of flying machine, or be whirled upward in the "AerioCvcle." An `' upside down house," like the one which created so much amusement in Paris, is also to be found here, while an "African village" and a "Johnstown Flood" are neighbors. All tastes are suited, and one may pass at will from "grave to gay, from lively to severe."
Of the pulsing life of the great Exposition we have spoken not at all, nor of the notable art collection here, nor of the music, nor yet of the splendid floral beauties. In order to do justice to these features we shall reserve them for other papers, when pictures illustrating them will be presented.
to The Delineator, Part 2, August 1901
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