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After the great success of the first two American World's Fairs, the Pan-American Exposition opened in Buffalo in May 1901with hopes of bringing the economic benefits of an exposition to northern New York state. The organizers hoped to show the benefits of electric light made possible by hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, a lack of local community enthusiasm led to weak financial support and the snowy Great Lakes weather led to building delays.

The Exposition opened to moderate success and continued to generally good reviews. The most unusual aspect of the Pan-American was the color scheme of its buildings. Unlike the pristine design of the "White City," the architectural plan of the Pan-American was to build a "Rainbow City." The buildings were done in a Spanish Renaissance style and were colored in hues of red, blue, green, and gold. The Electric Tower, the focal point of the fair, was colored deep green with details of cream white, blue, and gold. At night, thousands of electric lights outlined the buildings.

The theme of the Pan-American Exposition was the linkage between the United States and the other nations of the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, only a handful of Latin-American countries sponsored major displays. Regional and national displays were, however, much in evidence.

A major event of the Pan-American Exposition was to be the September visit of President William McKinley. On September 6, after sightseeing at Niagara Falls, McKinley attended a reception at the Exposition's Temple of Music. Leon Czolgosz, identified as an anarchist, came through the receiving line with a revolver concealed in a handkerchief and shot the President twice. Eight days later, McKinley died of his wounds and Theodore Roosevelt became President.

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.

Ch. Gebhard & Sons.
The Most Wonderful Clock on Earth: on exhibition in the German Village, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, N.Y., 1901. [s.l.: s.n., 1901].

The Pan-American Exposition Pan-American Exposition Company, Buffalo. Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, May 1 to November 1, 1901. Its purpose and its plan ... Buffalo: Pan-American Exposition Company, 1901.

Buffalo Distilling Company. Of Interest to Ladies: The Pan-American Exposition: some of its special features. Buffalo: Courier Co. [1901].

Singer the Universal Sewing Machine. New York: Singer Manufacturing Co., 1901.

Souvenir of the Pan American Exposition and Niagra Falls. To Mrs George H. Castner from Wm.Horsley, New Haven, Conn., Sept. 22nd, 1901.

Richard Hayes Barry. An Historic Memento of the Nation's Loss; the true story of the assassination of President McKinley at Buffalo. Buffalo: R. A. Reid, 1901.

The Fair reopened after the President's death and attendance actually increased. The merchants did a brisk business in McKinley memorabilia and visiting orators focused on the death and its meaning for the nation.

Pan-American Exposition Buffalo, N.Y. Scene where our Martyred President was Shot: glimpses of the Pan-American Exposition, 1901. Chicago: Laird & Lee [1901].

The Pan-American Exposition and How To See It: a complete art souvenir edited by Mark Bennitt. Buffalo: Goff Co., 1901.

Rand-McNally Handbook The Rand-McNally Hand-book to the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Chicago; New York: Rand, McNally & Company, 1901.

Around the Thomas Fleming, 1853-1931.
Around the "Pan" with Uncle Hank. His trip through the Pan-American exposition. New York: The Nut Shell Pub. Co., 1901.

In his book Around the "Pan" with Uncle Hank, author and artist Thomas Fleming tells the story of likable Uncle Hank and his trip to the Pan-Am. As Uncle Hank wanders around the Fair, he encounters many different people as he views each exhibit. Unfortunately, Fleming over-indulges himself in the stereotypes and caricatures of these people. Both foreign and native individuals are portrayed as grotesque reflections of themselves in a way common to the style of the day.

Introduction Centennial Exposition Columbian Exposition Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Sesquicentennial Exposition Century of Progress New York World's Fair Internet Resources

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