Pan-American Midway Miscellany

The Alt Nurnberg Midway concession was entirely devised by a group of Buffalo German-American investors, including Jacob Schoellkopf. They spent $60,000 to construct the imitation medieval section of the village of Nurenberg, Germany. While I have not yet found any records of their profits or loss at the end of the Exposition, their expenses must have been significant. They hired the famous New York City restauranteur August Luchow to operate the fancy restaurant (the most expensive on the grounds - not for the average Exposition visitor!); they invited the entire Royal Bavarian Band (from Germany) to play for the season. Yodlers and folk dancers also were invited from abroad. All of these people had to be paid.

Fred Thompson's "A Trip to the Moon" cost $52,000 to build. He initially charged $.25 but found that his ride was so popular that he could double the price to $.50 and still fill every "ship" all day long. Why did he make only $20,000? Because he employed 60 people to run the ride, from dancing Moon Maidens, to the little "Selenites" inhabiting the interior of the moon, to the royal entourage of the Palace of the Man in the Moon.

Here is a question from a letter to the editor of the Buffalo Evening News, with the paper's answer:

"Is it true that many concessions had to be obtained through the medium of one or more farming out companies who had previously obtained exclusive rights? If so, were any Exposition officials interested in such companies?"

Answer: No. The concessions were not farmed out. They were let to individuals with the proviso that they were not to be sublet. Some individuals obtained concessions who were allied with other concessionaires in operating two or three in common. Toward the close of the Exposition one or two concessionaires were authorized by the Exposition Company to sublet part of their space to new concessions. No Exposition official was supposed to be interested financially in concessions, but it is understood that several were indirectly interested thus in one or two.


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