Pan-American Exposition Photograph Collection, MS 159
The Pan-American Exposition was held in Buffalo, New York, from May 1 through November 2, 1901. Informally known as the Buffalo World's Fair, the Exposition's purpose was to create a place where the Americas could exhibit and share their cultures. Exhibition participation was limited to countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Manhattan architect John Merven Carrère (1858–1911) chaired the Board of Architects charged with creating the Exposition's master plan. Born in Rio de Janeiro and trained at the École de Beaux-Arts in Paris, Carrère was an influential Beaux-Arts practitioner at his New York firm, Carrère & Hastings. For the Exposition, the favored style was Spanish Renaissance, the traditional architecture of the former Spanish colonies in the Americas. The Pan-American Exposition site covered 350 acres.
Carrère hired a "director of color," Charles Turner, to oversee multiple hues for the buildings, in contrast to the "White City" of the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Marketing for the Exposition stressed the "Rainbow City," which was transformed each evening into the "City of Lights," a breathtaking display of incandescent light reinforcing the fact that Buffalo, with its plentiful hydroelectric power, was the most extensively lighted city of its time.
A contemporary review of the Exposition noted: "Upon entering the Exposition's Esplanade, visitors are surrounded by buildings dealing with arts and politics, such as the U.S. Government building, the Ethnology Building, the Temple of Music, and the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. Further along the major axis are buildings with a more contemporary and scientific theme, like the Machinery and Transportation Building, the Electricity Building, the Electric Tower, and the Railroad Exhibit at the top."
Today the Buffalo World's Fair is largely remembered as the setting for the assassination of President William McKinley. On the second day of his visit, McKinley was at the Temple of Music greeting the public, when anarchist Leon Frank Czolgosz fired twice at the president. McKinley died of gangrene eight days later in Buffalo.
- Brush, Edward Hale. "The Artistic Side of the Pan-American Exposition." Architectural Review v. 9, 1901: 99-107.
- Linkswiler, Matt. "Buffalo 1901: Pan-American Exposition Bird's Eye View of Grounds and Map of Exposition." http://hdl.handle.net/
- "Visual Culture at the Pan-American Exposition: Architecture and the Pan-American Exposition," http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/exhibits/panam/art/architecture.html