Bird's Eye View of the Pan-American Exposition

Scientific American Supplement, December 8, 1900

We have so recently (November 10 and November 24) described and illustrated the general scope and the recent progress of the Pan-American Exposition that the accompanying bird's-eye view will be perfectly intelligible to our readers without any lengthy elaboration on our part. The point of view is supposed to be an elevation beyond the water gate, at the extremity of the large lake, which will form one of the most delightful landscape features of the Exposition. The Lake, including the North Bay, is approximately three-quarters of a mile in total length, and its sloping and gently undulating shores will be richly wooded down to the water's edge. To the left of the lake is seen that architectural gem, the Albright Art Gallery, its gray-white marble walls and columns showing in vivid contrast amid its setting of greensward and foliage. Descending the broad marble flight of steps and turning to the left over a bridge which separates the main lake from what is known as the North Bay, one sees across the latter sheet of water another marble building, not so large as the art gallery, but scarcely less charming in its architecture and landscape setting.

After crossing the bridge, and swinging somewhat to the right, one enters the magnificent main approach to the Exposition buildings, and the eye ranges through the long perspective of the Fore Court, the vast Esplanade, capable of holding a quarter of a million people, the Court of Fountains and the Grand Basin until it is arrested by the towering mass of the noble Electric Tower -- the dominating architectural feature of the whole Exposition. To the right of the approach are the Ordnance exhibits, and adjoining them the numerous groups of buildings devoted to State and Foreign exhibits. Following down the main approach and through the Fore Court, one reaches the ornamental bridge which leads into the Esplanade. Enclosing the right wing of the Esplanade are the United States Government buildings, and the left wing is shut in by the Forestry and Mines building, the Horticultural, the Graphic Arts building and the Temple of Music. Passing through the Esplanade, whose shorter axis measures 450 feet and its longer 1,700 feet, the visitor is confronted by the Fountain and Cascades, which, together with their setting of greensward and flower beds, extend down the main approach for 700 feet. Beyond the Cascades is the Mall, a broad, imposing concourse, extending entirely across the grounds, which measures 150 feet in width by 2,640 feet in length. Here one is confronted by a sheet of water 350 feet by 400 feet in length, from which there towers nearly 400 feet into the air the massive and pre- eminently graceful structure of the Electric Tower. To the right and left of the Cascades are the buildings devoted respectively to Manufactures and Liberal Arts and to Machinery and Transportation, each of which is 350 feet in width by 500 feet in length. At the back of the Liberal Arts building is the stock exhibit, while to the rear of the Transportation building are grouped in one structure the various offices of the administration. To the right of the Electric Tower is the building 500 feet in length, devoted to Agriculture, while to the left of the Basin is another building of similar dimensions devoted to the Electrical Exhibit. Behind the Electric Tower is the Plaza, surrounded by restaurants and the Propylaea, while immediately behind the Propylaea is the general station of the steam and electric railways. By no means least among the attractions of the Pan-American Exposition is the structure which will be given up to athletics and general outdoor sports, known as the Stadium. The major axis of the Stadium will be fully 750 feet in length and its minor axis 500 feet. The arena will be laid out as an athletic field and will be surrounded by a track for contests of speed. Seating accommodation will be provided at two sides and around one curve of the track for 12,000 people. On the opposite side of the Plaza to the Stadium will be the Midway, without which no end-of-the century exposition seems to be complete, if, indeed, judged by its popularity, it must not be considered its leading feature.

The present progress in the construction of the buildings and that essentially novel feature the color treatment have been very ably dealt with in our recent articles contributed by Edward Hale Brush; and after studying the accompanying bird's-eye view, our readers will agree with him that the combination of the delicate, tastefully-tinted buildings with the broad plazas, the generous expanse of greensward and shrubbery, and the various carefully elaborated elements of the landscape gardening, will produce a tout ensemble which will give the Pan-American Exposition the leading place for beauty among the great expositions of the closing years of the present century.

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