Pan American
City of Light
What was the Pan Am?
 The Pan American Exposition
was a World’s Fair held in Buffalo
New York from May 1 through
November 2, 1901. It is most
notable because United States
President William McKinley was
shot by an anarchist named Leon
Secretary of State
John M. Hay - flag day speech
June 14, 1901
 "All the triumphs of the spirit and of the
skilled hands of labor, the garnered
treasures of science, the witcheries of
art, the spoils of earth and air and sea
are gathered here to warn, to delight, to
encourage and reward the ever-striving,
the indomitable mind of man."
What’s in a Name
 “Pan” means across, or a union or
community of interests. Therefore PanAmerican means all the America's: North
American, Central America, South
 Exposition – to display publicly
 1890’s – committee formed to find a site
in America for a trade fair
 1895 – Cotton Exposition in Atlanta Ga.
Representatives from Central & South
American Propose that the PanAmerican should be held
 June 1897 Pan-American exposition Co.
was formed
Chronology Contd.
 September 1897 – Cayuga Island near
Niagara Falls chosen as site for the fair.
 Plans for fair put off due to SpanishAmerican war in 1898.
 When plans are discussed again there
was rivalry between Niagara Falls and
Buffalo over the location
Why was Buffalo Chosen?
 Population in buffalo 350,000 had more
commercial possibilities than the scenic
value of Niagara Falls
 Buffalo’s extensive rail system put
Buffalo within a day’s journey of 40
Million Americans
 Buffalo had the “facilities for displaying
the new electric age into which the world
was entering.” i.e. we were wired for the
 July 1898 – in Congress “a pan-American
Exposition will undoubtedly be of vast benefit to
the commercial interests of the countries of
North, South & Central America”
 Congress set aside $500,000 for the Exposition
to be held in 1901
 Purpose of the Exposition would be to
highlight all of the Americas, their people
cultures, and new technology.
Choosing a site
 20 sites proposed
 Final choice was the Rumsey property together
wit a portion of Delaware Park
 Site consisted of 350 acres
 East to West ½ mile wide from Delaware Ave. to
Elmwood Ave.
 North to South 1 mile long from the New York
Central RR belt line to Delaware Park
 Easy access on three sides by existing Trolley
A Bird’s Eye View
Ground Broken
 September 26, 1899 ground broken and construction
 City of Buffalo funds allocated to build a new casino
and boat house to become a permanent addition to
the Delaware Park
 New York State Building constructed for $150,000
with funds from State, Buffalo, and Buffalo Historical
Society – designed by George Cary – to become a
permanent addition after the fair.
Buffalo & Erie County
Historical Society
Pan Am Logo
Opening Day May 1, 1901
 Noon – government buildings dedicated
with informal exercises
 2PM – 45 aerial bombs fired from the
Esplanade as a salute and all the flags
unfurled to the tune of “The Star
Spangled Banner”
 3PM – 3,000 homing pigeons were
released from their cages to the tune of
“Home Sweet Home”.
Opening Day contd.
 The weather was almost perfect
 20,000 people were in attendance
 Cost of admission was 50 cents and
was lowered to 25 cents on Sunday
because the Midway entertainments
were closed due to pressure from
religious groups.
Dedication day May 20, 1901
 Grand Parade from City Hall
 Buffalo schools were closed
 General Louis L. Babcock was grand marshal
 Parade included 104 carriages, troops, and
bands – stretched over 4 miles
 Honored guests: Theodore Roosevelt VicePresident of U.S. , John G. Milburn – Exposition
president, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Conrad
Diehl, mayor of Buffalo
Buffalo Mayor – Conrad Diehl
1898 - 1901
5 ,
 After attendance of 71,000 on July 4th, July 5th
brought torrential rains early in the evening and
an electrical storm
1” of water fell on the city. City was w/o
Trolley cars stranded – passengers stood on
seats to keep dry
Children swam in the streets
Cellars flooded to dept of 4 & 5 feet
Water in East Ferry street was 3 feet deep
 Labor disputes and strikes slowed down
building construction schedules as did
unseasonable weather in late spring.
 Many postponed attendance until after July 1
because rumor suggested that final completion
could not be done until June 15.
 Attendance actually increased after the death of
President McKinley and thousands bought
souvenirs of the unfortunate event.
What did they come to see?
 Electric Tower
 400 feet high – taller than
Buffalo’s City Hall
 View included all of
Buffalo, Lake Erie, the
Niagara River and
Canada – 20 miles away
 Inside stairway led to
domed cupola
 Crowned by a gilded
figure, the Goddess of
Electric Tower at Night
Triumphal Bridge
Agricultural Building
Temple of Music
The Midway
Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull
President’s Day
September 5 1901
 Evening of September 4th McKinley
arrived on special train – 21 gun salute
from cannons on the Terrace in
downtown shattered windows in train.
Met at train by Mr. Harry Hamlin.
 President was to have attended on Flag
Day but delayed due to wife’s illness
 Biggest day of fair’s attendance 116,660
The President
In Mourning
 Exposition closed on Sept. 14th the day
McKinley died and did not reopen until
Sept. 16th.
 It closed again on September 19th, the
day of the President’s funeral in Canton
The assassin
The Fair’s Last Day
 Saturday, November 2, 1901
 Attendance of nearly 125,000
 Most buildings had closed the previous
 Midnight – 10 buglers in the Electric
Tower sounded taps – signaled
President Milburn to extinguish all of the
decorative lights.
News Report
 Illustrated Buffalo Express reported:
 “All recall the beginning, the raw preceding days.
The rainy succeeding days, the delays, the
departure of labor, the day of dedication with its
speeches and songs, its statesmen and poets
and preachers, its music and rejoicing. Then
followed the months of merry days, of State
celebrations, of national ceremonies, of club and
college and social days, of flag and Army and
Navy and municipal days…. Then came the
awful tragedy, the day of death, saddest of all
days.” and now it was Closing Day
Success or Failure?
 Officials estimated to meet expenses paid
attendance must reach 8 million visitors
 To make a profit attendance must reach 10
million paid admissions
 Total paid admissions were only 5,306,859
 Free admissions were 2,813,189
 Total admissions to the Exposition were
Success or Failure
contd. ?
 The Exposition suffered a large financial loss.
 U.S. Congress helped by appropriating
$500,000 to help pay a large share of the
 People who attended became more familiar
with the people, products and living conditions
in the whole Western Hemisphere.
 Fair pointed out the need for better trade
relations between the America's
Results for Buffalo
 Buffalo businesses prospered
 Labor in Buffalo had several years of full
employment at high wages
 Local stores made higher than normal
profits with sales in the millions of dollars
 Bank deposits increased noticeably
 Buffalo was in the National Spotlight
which stimulated industrial growth in the
Buffalo Remembered
 The death of President McKinley
overshadowed the rest of the Exposition.
Buffalo, hoping to be seen as a
prosperous, technologically-advanced
city, would instead be seen as the city of
the assassination
End Notes:

Pan American Exposition - Iroquois Central School District