Exposition's Effect on Life in Buffalo
of an Exposition.
The All Day and Night Cafe on Wheels
Effects of the Exposition As Seen on Buffalo Streets
number of newspaper articles reveal the effects of the Exposition on the
city and it's residents. Established businesses in Buffalo began to prepare
for fair crowds months before the Pan-American Exposition actually opened
while new businesses appeared literally overnight. The Buffalo Express
article below describes the establishment of new restaurants in the city
Spring Up "Like Frogs in a Pond After a June Rain"
of the preparations is the restaurants. They are popping up like
frogs in a pond after a June rain or like prairie dogs when the
sun is setting. Vacant stores along Main, Washington, Pearl, Niagara,
and cross streets have been rented, furnished with long counters
and small . . . tables with white cloth and neat napkins, a cake
griddle in the window, a coffee urn by the door, a waitress, a
cash register, oilcloth menu on the wall and a sign "Step
Inside." There are scores of them. They extend up Main Street
to High Street. Prices are rock bottom. Pie is five cents. It
is to be hoped exposition crowds are hearty eaters. Otherwise,
these bowers of gourmands will be turned to castles of disaster.
For 15 cents a visitor will be able to get a meal. For a quarter,
he will be able to enjoy a feast. The established restaurants
with the best locations will have matters arranged so that no
customers need pay less than he desires. In front of some of the
restaurants barkers have appeared. They chirp like the robins
who arrived before the last flurry of snow. They gain courage
with the arrival of the crowds. One of them said yesterday that
he could shout "pie" at a crowd when he could not say
"beans" to a single passer-by. In most of the new restaurants,
and in practically all the old restaurants, the menu on the wall
states the price of every article of food, a hungry customer who
can add half as well as he can eat will not be overcharged.
Source: The Buffalo Express, 15 January
Buffalo and the surrounding region certainly benefited economically
from the thousands of visitors who attended to the Pan-American, course,
there were "negative" byproducts of the Exposition that were
a source of contention among many city residents. Eyesores and establishments
of questionable character sprang up in the immediate vicinity of the
Exposition and throughout the city.
Buffalo Vistas are Cluttered by Eyesores
the Exposition opened in May you got a very lovely view of the
domes and towers across the fields from Forest Avenue. Buffalo
congratulated herself on the setting she had given her fair. She
spoke too quickly. A little city of quick-lunch kiosks sprang
up on that very corner; soft drink wagons and fruit stands; and
unspeakably shabby booths for the sale of beer and sandwiches
and the irrepressible souvenir, filled the whole countryside obliterating
the view of the Exposition. Temporary hotels and perhaps even
outside restaurants were a necessary evil. But Bohemian beer gardens
were not. The city groaned in spirit as two mighty pavilions of
the latter class were run up within a thousand feet of the main
gate of the fair. Despite the attraction of beer served among
the mummied palms, one of these places failed to draw, and it
has been whitewashed and relabeled with a more attractive name.
The other, orchid-like, lives on.
and up, certain harmless little booths offer "Pan-American
orangeade," or orange cider, or other pernicious dyed drinks,
grateful to the throat of the wayfarer, but scarcely grateful
to his aesthetic sense. Fakirs, masters of their art, draw throngs
of curious people at every street corner, and hideous night lunch
wagons prowl both night and day.
Buffalo Courier, 20 October 1901.
The Exposition's Effect on Prices
retailers hoped to take advantage of the crowds of Exposition visitors
to maximize their profits. The Buffalo Express article below
describes an increase in the price of soda water, while the fictional
Uncle Hank finds that the "bargain price" charged for a room
is not such a bargain after all.
Water Will Go Up
News for the matinee Girl
And the summer Man
Exposition Is To Blame
OF THE REFRESHING BEVERAGE
TO BE DOUBLED--THE POPULAR BUFFALO WILL BE
girls are disconsolate. The summer man is unhappy. The druggists
are jubilant and the exposition managers are unconcerned. All
because the price of soda water during the summer will be ten
cents a glass.
rumor has been current for some time, but a brave young woman
who questioned the clerk as he deftly filled her glass in a downtown
store yesterday had her worst fears confirmed.
that isn't all," he said, as he reached under the counter
and hung a placard on one of the faucets, which read:
the new drink,
Made with 11 ingredients
And costs 11 cents.
expect a big run this summer on the new beverage," said the
clerk, as he rinsed and wiped the glasses. "I don't know
who originated the Buffalo, but I heard it was a soda clerk in
a Chicago store. He certainly had a great head. The name itself
is going to make it popular, but it is a pleasant beverage that
cannot fail to make a hit with lovers of temperance drinks."
is made this way: Chipped ice, a dash of vanilla, nectar strup
[shrub], lemon juice, sherbet, dash of claret, sprig of mint,
slice of pineapple, slice of orange, a little cordial, and French
cherries. There's a drink that would make a man leave his happy
home, wouldn't it? Any druggist caught selling it under eleven
cents will be boycotted by all the Buffaloes in town."
soda season," continued the clerk, "is a little backward
this spring on account of the extreme cold weather, in former
years the business was in full blast all over town by April 15th,
but this year some of the fountains will not be started until
of the new drinks is a carnation flip, with or without a hatchet.
It is made with chipped ice, pine apple, strawberry, and raspberry
strups [shrubs] , ice cream, plain cream, and an egg. A little
nutmeg is sprinkled on the top. If the customer wants a hatchet
in his flip, he winks the left eye, and we just add a dash of
brandy to flavor it."
nearly all the drug stores have soda fountains. Some of the stores
in the crowded downtown districts do an immense business from
May 1st to September 1st and even to October 1st, if the weather
continues warm. From two to five clerks are kept busy at a great
many of the downtown stores.
late years the sale of medicines is merely a side issue of the
drug business at some of the big pharmacies," said a well-known
druggist. A drug store at a prominent corner will take in from
the soda fountain $100 day from May 1st to September 1st. Some
of them, I am told, take in on an average $125 a day from the
fountain. That amount is far in excess of money taken in for drugs
and toilet articles. I venture to say that the drug stores in
Buffalo that have soda fountains will average $10 a day during
the heated season from the sale of beverages. Of course, there
are a great many in the outskirts of the city that don't take
in over $2 a day, but the average will reach $10.
I don't think
there will ever again be a drink so popular as the milk shake
that came out a dozen or more years ago. It spread over the country
like wildfire, and it is no exaggeration to say that millions
of dollars were spent the first season for a beverage which all
America was drinking.
28 April 1901.
realized that he would have to make several journeys to the Exposition,
and, wishing to be nearer to the grounds, he had one morning secured
a room in one of the many private residences thrown open to Pan-American
visitors by the frugal residents of Buffalo.
placard on the door announced:
this about suited his pocketbook, and after an interview with
the sharp-featured landlady, paid her a dollar, on the assurance
that she would have a nice room ready for him on his return from
the door bell of his new quarters several times, the door was
finally opened by a frowsy-headed maid-of-all-work, who recognized
him immediately, and ushered him in.
the gent as hired a room this mornin'?" she inquired.
that same individool thet paid yer mistress a dollar fer a room;
is she to hum?"
gone ter market, but I kin show ye up. This way, please."
And she led the way up several flights of wheezy, creaking stairs
to the top of the house.
was out of breath when he reached a small attic room close to
be'ant what I bargained fer. I want one ov them rooms down stairs;
I paid what yer sign called fer, a dollar fer a room."
you didn't read the sign right; it reads $1.00 up, and this is
up as high as ye can git," and the girl grinned from ear
to ear, and then suggested that he could get one of the rooms
down stairs by paying more money.
He soon realized
that he was in for it, so resolved to make the best of his bad
bargain, and as he was very tired he was soon lost in slumber,
disturbed only by the onslaught of an army of Pan-American bedbugs
that would surely have taken first prize had they been placed
on exhibition in the big show.
[Source: Thomas Fleming. Around the Pan with
Uncle Hank: His Trip Through the Pan-American Exposition.
New York: The Nut Shell Publ. Co., 1901, pp. 148-150.]
The By-products of Questionable Character
In addition to the "eyesores" described in the
Buffalo Courier article reproduced above, the Exposition brought
numerous drinking establishments, gambling houses and other institutions
"questionable character" to Buffalo. Many of the "gin
mills" sprang up on the "Free Midway" immediately outside
the Exposition gates. More were established at various locations throughout
the city, namely Main Street. Below, we see that Uncle Hank ventures
into one of the Free Midway's "beverage dispensaries" as he
travels "Around the Pan."
next day Uncle Hank concluded to take a look at the "Free
Midway" just outside the grounds of the Exposition.
the entrance, a wild Western mining town celebrity, styling himself
Cheyenne Joe, had a cabin fashioned after the style in vogue in
mining communities, in which he dispensed various beverages of
more or less poisonous qualities; to attract votaries he had emblazoned
the walls of the aforesaid cabin with strangely worded devices
which carried double meanings, very amusing to the initiated:
one in particular attracted Uncle Hank's attention. It occupied
a prominent place on the wall and read as follows:
Drinking Interferes with Your Business,
Give Up Your Business.
too much for Uncle Hank, who remarked to the attendant behind
the bar: "Young man, ye'd better take daown thet sign. It's
well understood among men ov your craft thet a wise man never
drinks behind ther bar so ye'd better giv up yer bizness er take
daown yer sign."
Fleming, Thomas. Around the Pan with Uncle Hank: His Trip Through
the Pan-American Exposition. New York: The Nut Shell Publ.
Co., 1901, p. 189-191.]
of an Exposition.
A Scene of Main Street
The image of the "barker" located to the left
of the Orangeade Tradecard is an illustration by Thomas Fleming, found
in Fleming's Around the Pan with Uncle Hank: His Trip Through the
Pan-American Exposition. New York: The Nut Shell Publ. Co., 1901,
Return to Food and Drink at the Pan-American Exposition