News from 1902 (February)
February 17 - At this morning's session, the Board of Fire Commissioners made final arrangements for the shifting of the men who were temporarily assigned to Pan-American work to their former places. About 26 men, including captains, lieutenants and firemen, were changed about and now all the men are back in their old places.
February 19 - It is announced that the sale of the Pan-American Exposition buildings will be consummated tomorrow and the title in them be passed to Frank Harris, treasurer of the Chicago House Wrecking Company for $80,000. Mr. Harris arrived at the Iroquois Hotel Sunday night and has had several conferences with Robert F. Schelling concerning the sale. Mr. Harris is said to have made arrangements for the work of wrecking to go forward promptly.
The announcement that the sale is about completed follows close upon the heels of a resolution passed by the Park Board last week wherein it is declared that unless the Pan-American Exposition Company and the United States Government show they have a contract for the removal of their buildings by the middle of April, the Park Board will then proceed to do the work. The United States Government is included in the resolution on account of the United States Life-Saving building on Park Lake. The Exposition Company has only the Directors' Log Cabin, the Fine Arts building and some gates and fence and a few groups of plaster statuary on park territory. It is altogether probable that the wrecking company will begin dismantling operations in this quarter. The Fine Arts Academy [sic] is built of brick and will afford handsome salvage. As the restoration of the surface to its original condition, that will probably be left to the Park Board as the Exposition Company has no money with which to pay for the work, and the Chicago House Wrecking Company merely contracts to remove all material in the buildings that has a commercial value.
February 24 - It is now thought it will be April or May before the Buffalo Historical Society will be able to have it new building dedicated. Mr. Frank H. Severance, secretary of the society, made that announcement this morning. The reasons for the delay are many and not the least important of them is the alterations being made in the structure so it will be more suitable for the new uses to which it is to be put. The Lincoln Memorial Association, and possibly other organizations, will join in the dedicatory exercises. The bronze statue of Lincoln now in the building is to be unveiled.
Between now and the day of the dedication the society intends to swell its membership. This, in a way, is necessary to carry out the plans of the organization. The city will contribute enough money to maintain the building, but the society has been put to much expense recently and its income is at low tide. To carry on its work of historical research, publication, lectures and entertainments, money is needed and this, it is hoped, will be secured through increasing the membership.
A circular letter has been sent out to members and friends of the society by the Board of Managers setting forth tghe situation and stating the needs. The letter states that the building in the possession of the Historical Society is with one exception the finest of its kind in the United States. A statement of the scope of the society is given and the results obtained are also referred to in a general way, showing the desirability of maintaining the society and enlarging the work in hand. It is stated that the expense incident to installing the possessions of the society in the new building will deplete the treasury, which has never carried a very large balance, receiving only a small amount from the city for current maintenance.
An earnest appeal is made to residents of Buffalo who, it is believed, are in sympathy with the work and aims of the society, urging them to become members at the regular rate of $5 a year, or better still become life members by the payment of the sum of $100. Persons who contribute 2500 or more are made patrons of the society. Enough interest, it is thought, will be awakened in the society to insure sufficient funds for carrying on the work proposed.
February 26 - Frank Harris of the Chicago Wrecking Company today will shake the dust, or rather the snow and mud, of Buffalo off his feet and return to Chicago. He is disgusted clean through with the difficulties and delays which have arisen over the deal for the sale of the Pan-American Exposition Company. After spending a good part of the winter in Buffalod trying to secure possession of the buildings for his company which bid $80,000 and was awarded the structures he finds at the end that he is not much nearer accomplishing what he sought than he was at the beginning.
"I shall leave Buffalo today," said Mr. Harris this morning, "and I shall not return on this business unless I have positive assurances that all bar to the delivery of the buildings which we have bought has been removed. I shall certainly spend no more time in this city dickering over the matter."
It was supposed that this last effort to reach a settlement would be successful. So, at 10 o'clock yesterday morning Mr. Harris, in company with his attorney Alfred W. Gray of Niagara Falls, went to the office of Robert F. Schelling of the law committee of the Exposition Company to wind matters up. They remained in session all day, and in the evening Mr. Harris telegraphed the result of the conference to his company in Chicago. The reply was to cease negotiations and return to Chicago.
"All of the lienors except two or three agreed to relinquish their claims so that there could be a realization on the assets of the Exposition Company," said Mr. Harris. "But among these few were the Rumseys who would not sign. We have decided to spend no more time over the matter. Some time these Buffalo people who are standing in the way of the accomplishment of this sale will come to terms.
"I shall stay in town for a short time today to get back the $25,000 which we put up as a guarantee for the good faith of our bid for the buildings."
Attorney Gray said that he did not anticipate any trouble in getting the money back although, he said, there might be some effort on the part of the Exposition Company to obtain more time for the delivery of the property.
February 26 - Interest in the Pan-American is reviving. Hundreds of visitors now wander about the grounds daily, photographing the buildings and various points of interest, for the orbitrary rule of the official photographer is over. Yesterday afternoon there were fully a hundred persons paying what appeared to be farewell visits to the scenes of so many historic events last summer. There has been no attempt made to clear off the walks of the Rainbow City and walking conditions are not ideal. Still, there are footpaths tramped through the snowy landscape and it is possible to reach any of the most prominent points inside the fence without doing much wading. The result is worth the effort, for the Exposition in winter decorations of snow and ice is very beautiful.
There is not enough of the Midway left to tell where it was. When the snow melts, the course of the asphalt pavement will define the direction of the erstwhile "Lane of Laughter," but the gaudy and fantastic structures are gone with the voices of the spielers. The building that contained the infanct incubators and the village of Darkest Africa are the only structures left of the former mile of folly.
The Exposition buildings have retained much of the original color scheme, but it looks like a negligee shirt after its fourth trip to the laundry. The colors have been faded by storms and smirched with smoke from neighboring factory chimneys. To contemplate them now would be a source of pain to C. Y. Turner, the former director of color. The only place whre the original richness of coloring is preserved is in the cornices of the several buildings. There it remains as vivid-hued as Easter eggs.
If Karl Bitter, the Director of Sculpture, and Karl Bell, the superintendent of the same department, were on the grounds yesterday they would miss most of the 700 pieces of statuary with which they adorned the grounds. Every figure that could be reached without a ladder or moved without the use of a derrick has been carried off. One figure in the West Esplanade that evidently resisted the effort to wrench it from its pedestal, was partly sawed off at the neck. Some vandal was apparently determined to get at least the head and was balked by the law, encountering a nail. The statuary was offered for sale and most of it was bought and removed before the Sheriff took possession of the grounds last fall. The big groups still remain, including those about the "Fountain of Abundance," the "Fountain of Nature," the "Fountain of Man." Many of the figures are marred, however, showing the hand of the ever-present individual who wishes to destroy what he cannot steal.
The State and foreign section of the grounds is almost as much obliterated as the Midway. Only a few buildings are left, and they will be razed as soon as the snow leaves the grounds. Those who wish to get a last glimpse of the Exposition in the semblance of its entirety and before it is obliterated by the wreckers will do well to bear in mind the injuction of the spielers, "You'll have to hurry!"
February 28 - John G. Milburn, president of the Pan-American Exposition Company, had his attention invited this morning to an article in the Enquirer in which it is stated that he and Senator Marcus A. Hanna had charge of the matter of payment of the bills of the physicians who attended the late President McKinley: that the physicians were "put out" because Dr. Matthew D. Mann was to obtain the largest fee; and that the rate of compensation agreed upon to be presented in a bill to Congress was as follows:
Dr. Matthew D. Mann, $10,000; Dr. Herman Mynter, $5000, Dr. Roswell Park, $5000; Dr. Charles McBurney, $2500; Dr. Charles G. Stockton, $1000; Dr. N.W. Johnson, $1000; Dr. Janeway, $1000.
Mr. Milburn read the article carefully, then with much deliberation wrote the following statement:
"There is no basis whatever for the statement that the bills for the services of the doctors who attended the late President were referred to Senator Hanna and myself; that any bills rendered had been revised or cut down; or that I have anything to do with the preparation of any bill to be submitted to Congress. Some time ago I was requested to confer with the doctors about their compensation. No bills have been rendered by them. We met and talked the matter over. There has been no controversy between the doctors themselves or between me and any of them. As a result of our talk certain figures were made which were agreed on all around and impressed me as very reasonable, and those figures I sent to Washington, wihch is the last I have heard of the matter.
"It is unjust to the doctors to represent them as having rendered bills which were cut down, or as having asked for compensation which was not allowed, or as differing between themselves.
"I am not at liberty to give the figures which I sent to Washington. Those which are given in the Enquirer are not correct. That is all I can say."