For diversion, rather than education, every exposition must have its Midway. The Pan-American Midway occupies nearly a third of the whole space and has nearly a mile of streets. The very large area lying in the northwestern end of the grounds has been allotted to the concessionaires whose business it is to amuse, and at the same time "instruct" the visitors.
Here are found foreign villages with picturesque types of architecture and the curious and interesting evidences of civilization, so different from our own. In modern expositions, the Midway has come to be a fixture, and without it the Exposition would lose much of its charm. Visitors to all of the great National and International shows carry away with them the most pleasant recollections of scenes in the amusement section.
Please note that the Midway and Government buildings will be closed on Sundays.
The Esquimo Village represents such scenes as the traveler finds in their native land. The native amusements are presented for the entertainment of the visitors. A large company of Esquimo appear in native dress, showing the manners and customs of their country, and from the shops and stores are sold their merchandise.
TRIP TO THE MOON
The journey is made on the airship "Luna", and is of thrilling interest to everyone who get aboard, and a great amount of curiosity exists to learn how it is accomplished. In the palace and domain of the Main-in-the-Moon, the visitor finds numberless things to cause wonder and amusement, and after a stroll among the streets and shops of the earth's satellite, the visitor returns to earth, safe and sound.
This attraction is the altitudinous novelty of the Midway. It resembles the "teeter" of boyhood days, constructed on a grand scale. It consists of two revolving wheels for carrying passengers, at the ends of a structural steel beam, and is so operated that when one wheel is down, the other is at an altitude of 275 feet, affording a wonderful view of the Exposition.
DARKNESS AND DAWN
A realistic representation of a departed spirit, whose life on earth has not been exemplary. The visitor witnesses the punishment meted out to scandal-mongers, umbrella borrowers and other offenders. After the seas of fire are passed, beautiful scenes to delight the eye appear, so that the visitor may be accustomed to the more familiar places above ground.
Reproducing a veritable old plantation in its minutest detail, and giving the visitor an interesting glimpse of the sunny South. The slave quarters and log cabins were brought from the South, and are occupied by genuine darkey families and their pickaninnies. Dancing and other pastimes dear to the old Negro are given at the theater, included in the attraction.
A collection of some 35 different African native tribes with their supremely ancient weapons, household gods and primitive handicraft. Native workmen show their skill in working of gold and silver. The enclosure contains sections of large villages in their primitive state, with a theater in which are given at times free exhibitions of native dances and entertainment.
HOUSE UPSIDE DOWN
This is the oddest attraction on the grounds and represents a castle sanding on its roof and battlements. The visitor enters through the roof and after going up - or down several flights of stairs, reaches the cellar, which has been converted into a garden. The apartments are elaborately furnished, and the topsy-turvey arrangement appears everywhere.
The splendid building of Egyptian architecture, directly opposite the House Upside Down. Here are shown a series of grand paintings illustrating events in the life of the Egyptian Queen, culminating with Cooper's masterpiece, "Cleopatra," in which she is shown surrounded by her oriental splendor in a beautiful pose, and displaying her charms in order to captivate Antony.
This feature is a dazzling, realistic display of the charms of the East, representing the salient characteristics of Eastern countries, with Oriental streets, buildings, costumes, animals, bona fide natives, and the necessary paraphernalia for a representative exhibit. In the center of the space is a plaza from which diverge several streets, each being characteristic of a great city of the East.
At the west end of the Midway is a building occupied by Dreamland, or the Mirror Maze. Behind mirrors is a large amount of fun for those who attempt to explore its recesses. No illusion on the Midway is more confusing and amusing.
The quaint old German town of Nuremburg is here represented. A street of this old town is reproduced with strict fidelity to the original and within the buildings facing the street, are shops, restaurants and other places of business in exactly the same manner as found in the old town.
This exhibit is housed in the brick structure which is the next east of the Service building. In it is a complete plant, such as is used in the rearing of infants. Many new and original devices are here illustrated, and not only in novelty but from an instructive point of view is the exhibit interesting.
Entering the Japanese village, through the gate of the Nikkil Temple, one can easily imagine himself to be in Fair Japan. Native girls in native costumes serve the tea, and geisha girls entertain you with dancing. The buildings and decorations are strictly Japanese. A free out-door performance goes on continuously and in the theater is given a strictly Japanese performance by the native jugglers, dancers, etc.
VENICE IN AMERICA
This is a perfect replica of the living city, with palaces, shops, bridges and canals, gondolas and gondoliers. Visitors can ride in the gondolas and be steered through the windings of the palace-lined waterways, while the ear is charmed with sweet songs and the music of the mandolin or guitar.
The space allotted to this exhibit is at the most southern end of the Midway. The different tribes of Indians appear before the visitor, presenting their different styles of war and ghost dances, with their songs and weird musical accompaniments. Seats are arranged in a semi-circle in the center of which the performance is conducted.
Reprinted from the
Official Catalogue and Guide Book to the
The Midway contained some 42 or so exhibits. It would be impossible to list them all in the space provided here. One thing you should be aware of is that the attitude of the country was very different in 1901. By reading some of the descriptions of these exhibits, one can get a sense of the racial humor. As extravagant as the Pan-American was, it was hiding some strong anti-race overtones. African-Americans and Native Americans were portrayed as savages, and many European cultures were often portrayed as unintelligent.
In his book "Around the Pan with Uncle Hank", author and artist Thomas Flemming 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. It is unfortunate that Flemming over-indulges himself in the stereo-types and characatures 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.
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This page was updated December 14, 1998 -- Aaron T. Heverin