Pan-American Exposition Will Open Tomorrow

Mr. Hamlin Gets the First Tickets Mayor Diehl Sent It to Him With a Note

The Buffalo News April 30, 1901

There is an almost forgotten incident that will lend a touch of picturesque interest to the opening of the Pan-American tomorrow, notwithstanding the absence of any formal opening ceremony and regardless of the incompleteness of things. A little over two years ago when efforts were making to revive the project, Mayor Diehl sent for William Hamlin and urged him to take an interest in the proposed Exposition. This Hamlin's enthusiasm was at once aroused.

"My health will not permit me to take any of the responsibility for the project," Mr. Hamlin told Mayor Diehl. "Nor can I take any active part in the work, but I agree to pay you $5000 upon delivery to me of the first admission ticket on opening day."

When the dinner was arranged Mayor Diehl went to Mr. Hamlin and urged that he consent to the telling of this story at the dinner. Mr. Hamlin reluctantly did. The result is a matter of Pan-American history. Mayor Diehl told the story, which was received with a whirlwind of enthusiasm and when the dinner broke up $500,000 had been subscribed.

Since the memorable conversation took place between Mayor Diehl and Mr. Hamlin, the Hamlin family have interested themselves financially in the exposition for something like $52,000. Mr. Hamlin's personal subscription at the dinner was $20,000. When the first mortgage bonds were put on the market he bought $50,000 worth. Later when a call was made upon the stockholders to underwrite the second mortgage bonds he came forward with a subscription of $41,000, and the next day subscribed $29,000 covering the stock of his father, Cicero J. Hamlin. Mr. Hamlin's generous support of the Exposition does not stop with financial help. He offered the Driving Park grounds to the Exposition Company, as a site, free of cost. Within the last year he made a second offer to the company, tendering the use of the grounds free, for their convenience, should the land be needed.

"Under the circumstances," said Mayor Diehl this morning, "I don't feel exactly like holding Mr. Hamlin to his promise, would you? But you can say that it is true that I have secured the first admission ticket and I shall deliver the ticket to Mr. Hamlin."

Shortly after this interview Mayor Diehl summoned a special messenger to his office and sent him to Mr. Hamlin with a letter containing Ticket No. 1 for admission to the Pan-American Exposition. The Mayor wrote to Mr. Hamlin thanking him for the interest he had manifested in the fair, and congratulating Buffalo on having such a public-spirited citizen. The letter was sent shortly before noon.

Preliminary to this graceful act was the official recognition of Mr. Hamlin's enterprising spirit by the Exposition Company itself. At a meeting of the executive committee in February a resolution was passed instructing Supt. Cash of the department of admission and collections to turn over to Mayor Diehl Exposition Ticket No. 1 for delivery to Mr. Hamlin.

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