In the summer of 1901, an event of unprecedented importance and beauty took place in Buffalo, New York. All told, four years of work were needed to bring about its opening. It was proposed as an exposition that would highlight all the Americas -- their people, their land, their technology.

Its sole object was to promote commercial and social interests among the States and countries of the Western Hemisphere. Its fundamental idea, essentially different from that of any other of the great fairs, was that it commemorated no historical event.

The citizens of Buffalo, in March, 1899, expressed such a tremendous interest and belief in their city to finance and produce a successful Exposition, Congress was convinced that Buffalo was well deserved to serve as the desirable location for the Pan-American Exposition.

In 1899, construction began on 350 acres of land owned by the Rumsey family. When completed , the exposition grounds, with their irregular lakes, flowering shrubs and rare trees, became the most picturesque of Buffalo's famous park system.

When it finally opened in May of 1901, the Pan-American Exposition attracted thousands of people with its ornate, multicolored buildings and gothic statues. It should also be noted that the Pan-American Exposition was the scene of an American tragedy. In September, while visiting the Exposition, president William McKinley fell to the bullet of an assassin. This event would drop a shadow not only on the great fair, but on the city of Buffalo. Many historians argue that the assassination of President McKinley spelled the beginning of the end for Buffalo.

So let us now spend a day at the Pan-American Exposition. Make sure you visit each of the exhibits and make a special stop at the Midway! Don't forget to buy souvenirs!

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This page updated December 14, 1998 -- Aaron T. Heverin