crowning glory of the Pan-American Exposition is the nightly illumination.
It seems like a
The expression of admiration when this array of electric gorgeousness is thrown upon the heavens, is always spontaneous and unanimous, and is the most lavish display ever known, possible only because of the enormous power utilized at Niagara, where there is more power concentrated than could be furnished by all the coal mined in the world in a single day.
Yet even this preeminent distinction does not indicate the potential voltage of the Pan-American Exposition. It is a magnet which attracts people, and it is the gathering together of men and women that brings forth the permanent fruitage and advancement of trade, art, industries and science, the coming together inspires co-operation and concentration of effort, and every line of industry represented, and the stimulation of new movements and industries.
At the Elmwood gates, the quiet landscape view is a fitting prologue at the most striking vistas of the exposition. Here, as at other points, the well-defined plans of its projectors have gone awry. The main entrance has not proved the popular ingress, it is not as convenient to the car lines, and developed conditions and circumstances which can never be quite accurately foretold until actually tested. At the Elmwood gate, the splendid group, the chariot race, gives a sense of force and motion, and on the first day of the exposition, the smooth greensward, gorgeous array of tulips, hyacinths and narcissus gave a welcome suggestion of opening spring. Through the walks and on to the Triumphal Bridge we sauntered, the prismatic color effect gradually unfolding.
At first view, the gorgeous yellow of the band stand and the orange of the stately pillars are rather disappointing, as one recalls the pure white and the brilliant glare of the "White City." The blue-tinted domes soften and blend together as the day passes, until a sense of rest-fullness and the symmetry of the scene dissipates every trace of any disappointment that may have been felt.
The throngs gathered on the bridges about the fountains and through the grounds are an inspiration in themselves; as an officer of the German army with me remarked, "There is nothing quite so interesting as a crowd of American people." The contrasts in the crowd are so marked that a host of individuals appear in the sea of faces, as plainly as in the varied colors of the lillies in the pool nearby. A sturdy father, whose bright, winsome daughters, with dainty ribbons and coiffure, manage their skirts as gracefully as an empress; in another group the keen, alert agency of some great industry, the unassertive but forceful official and scholarly student, the mother and her sturdy sons; these reflections of typical American life were pointed out by the foreigners as the basis of our national greatness.
While I should make no invidious comparisons, the Temple of Music is my favorite building. Near the towering pillars of the Bridge of Triumph, its dainty and chaste colorings and classic simplicity appeal to me. It was here that the opening exercises were held. The circular auditorium and galleries at the side were soon filled, and there was a keen air of anticipation as the moment approached when the ideals, and aspiration of a long-continued effort would finally and formally become a fact and an achievement-in the dedication exercises. In the front seats were gathered representatives of all the nations of the Western hemisphere, smartly uniformed with a lavish display of gold braid. Swarthy faces and keen black eyes emphasized the representatives of a Latin civilization, and a descent from the early Spanish explorers and conquistadores. Back of the speakers was the Stars and Stripes, flanked on either side by the special flags of the Pan-American Exposition. When Vice-President Roosevelt entered with Senators Lodge and Hanna, there was a hearty American greetingbut a new auditorium is like new machineryit has to be gradually attuned to its purpose, and there was a just a bit of creaking in the initial outburst of enthusiasm.
The greeting read by President Milburn from our President, William McKinley, dispatched from the Pacific coast, and those from other nations of the Eastern hemisphere were significant expressions, in view of the existing international relations.
The prayer and poems were eloquent, the speeches stirring in their reiteration of the Monroe doctrine, but the most interesting numbers on the program to the auditors was Sturm's "Salve Libertas," by the male chorus, and the baritone solo from the prologue of "Pagalacci," sang by Emilo de Gorgorza.
To me this fact was significant in indicating that music is the one universal method of expression. The fixed attention to the music of the distinguished people on the stage and in the throng in contrast to the spirit of restlessness during other portions of the program, is certainly suggestive to the student of American life. Even Senator Hanna's attention was fixed during the music while otherwise he wiggled his cane. Vice-President Roosevelt frequently blew his noseexcept when the music was under way. Senator Lodge only crossed his leg once during the music, while it was a steady exerciser the balance of the time. Vice-President Roosevelt's address was keyed to the occasion, and altogether a masterly effort, reiterating the sentiment of the mottoes on the facades of the building. His peculiarly characteristic gesturescoming "straight from the shoulder"at first startled some of the foreign dignitaries in front, but they were soon won by the earnestness and sincerity of the speaker. The restless crowd was restrained by Senator Lodge, whose address was significant in its appropriatenessand American spiritputting another strong knot in the Monroe doctrineto say nothing of a twist of European featherswhich was heartily applauded by the gold-laced auditors in front. Governor Woodruff also gave a strong address, but after all, I must say that it was the music that fascinated the people.
Excessively formal functions are tiresome at best, so there was relief when the throng poured from the Temple of Musicdirect into the Midway. For, deny it as we may, the Midway still has the same old charms. It was here that I met Senator Hanna, and the staid Senator Lodge relaxed into smiles, jostling among the throng as the "spielers" were orating over their attractions and roasting the other fellows.
The gigantic dream face at the end of the Midway suggests an Anglo-American Budda. The familiar old Streets of Cairo and its unearthly strains, the Hawaiian dances, the plantation ragtime, the animal show; well, all the same old fascinating features appear, with a Trip to the Moon and the Johnstown Flood as something new. In "Old Nuremberg" the German band was drawing multitudes, who sat down at the little tables and sought solid comfort in continental fashion. That night the lights went out with hundreds of hungry ones still unfed, but they were bound to stay to see the illumination in all its fascinating grandeur-and it was like a dive into a grab-bag-no telling what species of sandwich or piece of pie you were consuming in the shadows.
Yes, the gondola and the Japanese rickshaw are everywhere in evidence. The Wild West was wild-westing in ancient fashion from the improvised cliffs, and the program man, the guard and the wheel chair-all there.
The tall, angular poplar trees are becoming graceful as the leaves come out, and the effect of Sicilian gardens between the buildings with the white statuary peering through the foliage, under the witching glare of the arc lights, and the beams from the scimitar-like new moon. All these, with the talk and laughter of over 100,000 sightseers, mingling with the music of the bands, made the dedication a day on Memory's tablet, and indicates how the sovereign royalty of American citizenship enjoy the imperial privileges of palatial repose and esthetic splendor.
The exhibits may not be as extensive as those of the Columbian exposition (I try to avert this constant inclination to comparisons, but cannot), but the exhibits are strikingly comprehensive and prove that the world has kept right on moving since 1893. The locomotives, coaches and railroad appliances are just as popular as ever, indicating why America has excelled the world in railway equipment. The new monster locomotives reveal a change in style, in stack and tender, quite as fluctuating as the fashions in women's hats. It is interesting to notice how the crowds will concentrate about an exhibit that has a keen and timely American interest.
The Pan-American Exposition is a comprehensive glance of American life. The sod-house, imported from Nebraska, furnished and reproduced exactly as it was in 1884, had to me a unique interest, for I have lived in oneon fried bacon and potatoeswith the prairie winds to lull me to sleep at night. Such cubes of earth as this have sheltered many a sturdy pioneer family. Inside there is often found a piano. On the walls are pictures, and books and papers are never wanting. They are cool and refreshing in summer, and cozily warm in winter. The sod house is quite as much a feature of prairie pioneering as the log house in the forest. And there was the log house, too, and the adobe hut, the primeval settler's dwelling, typical of much that is distinctive, sturdy and romantic in the development of the western hemisphere and the two Americas.
The government exhibit is much the same thing as usual, except that a phonograph adds interest to the wax figures representing the soldiers of America at different periods. To me, the tall hats worn first previous to and then after the Mexican war are more interesting than the cocked hats of the stately colonial days and continental uniforms. The naval exhibit discloses the deck of a flag ship with officers in the proper uniforms and position from the admiral down to the seaman. One wax figure closely resembles the familiar portraits of Admiral Dewey. The exhibit is upon a miniature stage and suggests a scene from "Pinafore." A glance at the throng pouring over the models of war ships shows a lively interest in the navy of the new world power.
The grading and decorations around the Dairy building were the last to be completed, as the farmers' exhibits were not expected until after "seeding time" was over. The walks and drives were slow in being completed; in fact many of the walks put down this winter had to be relaid, as staff does not weather our vigorous climate and much of May was devoted to patching up broken lines and injured ornamentation.
The architecture of the Forestry building suggested to me the early days of Abraham Lincoln and other rail-splitting heroes of American pioneer life. The trunks of the trees, used in constructing the building, are laid as in some styles of rail fences, and not at right angles, as is usually the custom in log houses. The interior exhibits many specimens of American wood, and notably those varieties whose lumber products alone exceed in value the crude wheat, corn products of the United States. When it comes to figures, lumber gives us much of our prestige in the industrial world.
One of the most delightful days I recall at the Columbian exposition was a day at the Welsh Eistedfoddtthe day of the song contest. There were about a dozen young lady contestants from all parts of the country. They all sang the same song, "O Loving Heart," by Gottschalk, and each one had her own accompanist. Of course, they were all bright and comely American born girls, of Welsh parentage. But they evidenced the love of the folke song of Wales, which is always so fascinating. There were fair haired lassies, dark haired lassies and auburn haired lassies, and perhaps you might have included the Welsh carmine hue. The various tempos and expression given that one song was an indication of the range of possibilities of a single ballad. The fair contestants, some timid and shy, others confident and defiant, gave Gottschalk's song a wide interpretation. The accompanist in some cases were the teacher, indicated by the appealing trustful glances from the pupil. In other instancesevidently a sister or a brother who presided at the piano. The judges, grim and immovable, occupied a position near by and every shade in the rendering of the song, as well as the general stage presence, was considered. The judges did not award the prize to the one whom I thought sang best, and it is safe to say that the sentiment of "O Loving Heart'' was not so popular after the decision was rendered. My favorite was perhaps lacking in finish, tone and shading, perhaps the technique was all wrong, but in her last sweet phrase, "O Loving Heart," there was a touch of soul expression that thrilled and was sung direct at the swarthy man at the piano, whose playing was faulty, but whose heart was with the singer.
This incident comes vividly to mind because the Welsh Eistedfoddt are to be held again at the Temple of Music on the exposition grounds some time during September, and there will be likely another song contest. The events are interesting and fascinating, not for their musical value alone-but the touch of the best and loftiest in human nature, which they express. These girls represent homes, counties, aye states, and while there may be variation in tempo and theme, music is the one great universal expression of the soul, and in those thousands of isolated homes throughout the land, there are lonely hearts, who have found solace in the hours with their music. It may not be the superb and grand work of the masters-but it is music, where the spirit of Apollo reigns. The piano or some musical instrument is now essential to an American home.
The floral calendar will be marked by blooming roses during every month of the exposition in the same way as that followed in the Public Gardens at Boston. The best view of this display is from the Elmwood gate, and the exposition will undoubtedly emphasize the need of more flowers in the parks of the smaller cities. The esthetic influence of these beautiful floral displays cannot well be measured, for they speak to human hearts, of innocence and beauty in a language which all understand. The Pan-American exhibits will demonstrate how flowers in public parks and lawns may form a continuous floral calendar.
A glance at the tea exhibit from a South Carolina plantation; the tropical fruit exhibits from Florida and California; the coffee display from plantations in Porto Rico, and the general display in the agricultural building impresses one with the boundless agrarian resources of the United States. When one further views the products of the South American republics, the Western hemisphere appears to possess about every good thing which this terrestial firmament has to furnish for the welfare and sustenance of the human race. These happy days of sightseeing at the exposition should furnish the American people with most valuable material for future study and practical use.
Perhaps I should write more about the exhibits, and paint in glowing word pictures the splendor of the Pan-American Exposition, but I confess my controlling impulse is to tell more about the people. Here is a composite study of American life, such as can never be enjoyed elsewhere. And it is that unity of spirit and keen observance of others that has given America pre-eminence in the industrial and commercial world.