and the Pan-American Exposition
its inception, the architectural board of the Pan-American Exposition
was faced with the challenge of meeting the expectations and demands of
Exposition planners. The architects were charged not only with the design
of the buildings, but also with the development of a formal landscape
plan comprising fountains, lagoons, basins, a large network of canals
and extensive horticultural plantings. The plan was also expected to encompass
extensive electrical illumination effects, which presented a new challenge
to architects and designers, but also an opportunity for creative exploration.1
The Board of Architects
II: "The Architectural Scheme"
A Note on Color
A Definitive Style
III: "The Buildings"
From an architectural perspective,
the Pan-American Exposition was an example of the very successful utilization
of the "Exposition Formula," which grew from the tone set by
the previous world's fairs in Philadelphia (1876) and Chicago (1893).
Joann Thompson describes some of the common elements of this formula below2
(applications of these elements to the Pan-American Exposition follow
of an earlier time.
(Spanish Mission and Renaissance
buildings of a common theme or style grouped around a centralized
focal point in a landscaped setting.
Electric Tower and buildings on the Court
exposition as a self-contained city exhibiting the wealth and
diversity of the contemporary world.
of exhibits in an economically thriving region of the country.)
exposition itself serving as an exhibit.
impressive architecture and novel use of color.)
very prominent building as a focal point.
- The "secret
pleasures" of an Exposition Midway
applying this formula to the Buffalo Exposition, Thompson wrote, "The
prototype [exposition] consist[ed] of palatial structures situated in
a park, the whole of which was to commemorate a particular event or ideal."
The Pan-American Exposition exemplified this formula with "more big
buildings and an impressive park setting to celebrate the supremacy of
the United States in the Western Hemisphere."3
The Board of Architects
The Executive Committee of
the Exposition Board of Directors was chaired by John N. Scatcherd, who
also served as the chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Another
important figure in the development of the grounds was Newcomb Carleton,
an engineer who served at the Director of Works. Scatcherd and the Executive
Committee chose those men who would comprise the Exposition's Board of
John N. Scatcherd
John M. Carrère
M. Carrère was selected as the Chairman of the committee
with William Welles Bosworth as the
Assistant to the Chair. Both were of Carrère and Hastings in New
York and would assume responsibility for the block plan of the Exposition
and the treatment of all grounds and features not assumed by the other
members of the board. (John Carrère would be the architect to design
Buffalo's 1907 monument to U. S. President William McKinley, who was assassinated
at the Pan-American Exposition. The McKinley Monument is located in Niagara
Square in downtown Buffalo.)
Swain Peabody (1845-1917), from the Boston firm Peabody
and Stearns, designed the Horticultural Group, the Forestry Building
and the Graphic Arts Building.
An influential architect and writer, Peabody graduated from Harvard
in 1866 and later attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He returned
to Massachusetts, in 1870, and formed a partnership with John Stoddard
Stearns (1843-1917). The practice of Peabody & Stearns attracted
a creative team of skilled architects. Peabody tended to produce the
original sketches and delegate design responsibilities to the younger
architects, while Stearns supervised construction.
Cary, (1859-1945) of Buffalo. Cary designed the Ethnology
Building and the New York State Building. A Buffalo native, Cary
received a formal education at Harvard, and after graduating in
1883, studied architecture at Columbia University, with four additional
years at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris.
Following his return
to this country in 1891, Cary opened an office in Buffalo, and remained
in this professional practice throughout his long and successful
career. Among the many public and private buildings he designed,
- The General Hospital
- Dental College and
several other buildings at the University of Buffalo
- State Hospital for
- The Entrance gate
to the Forest Lawn Cemetery at 1411 Delaware Avenue.
LaChiusa's page on
the Buffalo as an
Architectural Museum web site for
images and more information on George Cary.)
An early member and
one-time president of the Buffalo Chapter, Cary was made a Fellow
of the Institute in 1892, and from 1908 to 1910 served as a member
of the national Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Academy and
the Albright Art Gallery.4
B. Green, of Green & Wicks, Buffalo, N.Y., designed
the Electricity Building and the Machinery and Transportation Building.
Green was also the architect of the Albright Art Gallery. Although
plans called for this building to be constructed as one of two permanent
structures of the Exposition, it would not be completed until 1905.
E.B. Green was born in Utica, NY in 1855 and graduated from Cornell
University with a bachelor of architecture degree in 1878.
After three years in
an architectural office, he joined with Sydney Wicks, an MIT graduate,
in opening an architectural practice in Auburn, NY. The firm of
Green and Wicks moved to Buffalo in 1881. Wicks served as a park
commissioner in Buffalo for three years and helped to promote development
of the Parkside community.5
Today, more than 160 of their Buffalo buildings still stand. Some
of the joint projects of Green & Wicks include:
- Dun Building, Buffalo's
first highrise building (110 Pearl Street)
- Buffalo Savings Bank
(545 Main Street)
- First Presbyterian
Church (One Symphony Circle)
(See the Buffalo
as an Architectural Museum web site for images and
more information on E.B. Green.)
Esenwein (1856-1926), also of Buffalo and a partner in
the firm, Esenwein & Johnson, was the architect of the Temple
Esenwein, was born in Germany and studied architecture in Paris
before coming to Buffalo in 1880. He was a highly skilled architect
and an excellent salesman who teamed with James Addison Johnson
(1865-1939) of Brewerton, New York.
Johnson was born in
Brewerton, NY and trained at the prestigious McKim, Mead and White
in New York City. He had a flair for outstanding ornament, as evidenced
by his design of the spectacular marble floor of the Ellicott Square
Many of this team's
buildings remain today. A few of these include:
- Calumet Building
(46-58 West Chippewa Street)
- Niagara Mohawk Building,
originally the General Electric Tower (535 Washington Street)
- Col. Francis G. Ward
Pumping Station, the largest in the world in its day
- Lafayette High School
(370 Lafayette Avenue)
- Jewett House (313
- Buffalo Museum of
Science (1020 Humboldt Parkway)
- The original Lockwood
Library, now Abbott Hall on the University at Buffalo's South
page on the Buffalo
as an Architectural Museum web site for images and more
information on Esenwein & Johnson.)
Cary, E. B. Green and
Esenwein had been involved in the planning of the Exposition since
its inception. In fact, in 1897, when the the Exposition was in
the planning stages for its original opening in 1899, August Esenwein
had served as Director of Architecture. By October he had already
prepared the plans for the buildings before "outside"
participants were brought in.7
Foster Shepley (1860-1903),
of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, Boston, designed the Manufactures
and Liberal Arts Building as well as the Agriculture Building.
Born in St. Louis and educated at Washington University and MIT.
In 1886, he organized the firm of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge.
The firm inherited H. H. Richardson's practice in 1886 and was responsible
for completing many of his most noteworthy designs.
In 1892, the firm won
the competition for the Chicago Public Library which led to the
commission for the Art Institute of Chicago in the following year.
The design for the library is a good example of the firm's turn
from the Richardsonian Romanesque style to the Renaissance Revival
associated with the overall theme of the Pan-American Exposition.
John Galen Howard
(1864-1931), created the Exposition's focal point, the Electric
Born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and a leader in the American
Renaissance movement, Howard was educated at the MIT (1882-1885)
and the Ecole Des Beaux-arts (1891-1893). He was an apprentice with
H. H. Richardson and then a draftsman with Shepley, Rutan &
Coolidge. Later, he helped found the prestigious practice of Howard,
Cauldwell & Morgan in New York City, and was asked to join the
Exposition's Board of Architects.
After practicing in
New York, Howard moved to California in 1901 to execute the Hearst
Plan for the University of California, Berkeley, and to establish
the School of Architecture there. He became the School's Director
and a professor of Advanced Design. While teaching and designing
the university's new buildings, he maintained a sizable practice
in San Francisco. Some of Howard's houses were designed in the casual
Bay Area tradition, but his commercial and public buildings consistently
exhibited his desire to create a progressive classical tradition
appropriate for America.
Cook, of Babb, Cook & Willard, New York, was responsible
for designing the Plaza and entrance to the Midway, the Propylæa,
and the Stadium.
Knox Taylor served
the board in an ex-officio capacity. However, as Supervising Architect
of the United States, he was responsible for overseeing the design
of the United States Government Building.
to the board in ex-officio status, were Charles
Yardley Turner, the Director of Color, and Karl
Bitter, Director of Sculpture. The
collaboration between Turner, Bitter and the Board of Architects was evidence
of Carrère's vision of one of the greater goals of the Exposition's
... At Buffalo,
the Board of Architects of the Pan-American Exposition, with a full
realization of the importance of the task imposed upon them and
with the desire to avoid reminiscences of the Chicago Exposition,
decided that the purpose of the setting of this Exposition should
be to develop a picturesque ensemble on a formal ground plan, introducing
architecture, sculpture, and painting as allied arts.8
on to "Part II: The Architectural Scheme"
1. Joann M. Thompson. The
Art and Architecture of the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York,
1901. Unpublished dissertation. Rutgers University, the State
University of New Jersey, 1980. p. 20.
p. 18. Thompson makes and interesting point in comparing the Pan-American
Exposition to the world's fairs of Europe, where the United States was
often viewed as "culturally less developed" participants. In
the case of the Buffalo Exposition, which was a hemispherical
rather than a true world's fair, "[exposition] producers may have
realized that their United States role
vis- à-vis that of the developing Latin and South American
countries, was very similar to that of the United States relative to Europe's
example, but with America having the upper hand as the culturally superior
entity to its less developed neighbors."
4. Information on George Cary from Chuck LaChiusa,
"George Cary 1859-1945," Buffalo
as an Architectural Museum. Online. url: http://ah.bfn.org/a/archs/cary/index.html
(Accessed July, 2003).
5. Information on E.B. Green obtained from "Edward
Brodhead Green and Associates," Buffalo
as an Architectural Museum. Online. url: http://ah.bfn.org/a/archs/ebg/hp.html
(Accessed July, 2003).
Information on August Esenwein from Chuck
LaChiusa, "Esenwein & Johnson in Buffalo, NY," Buffalo
as an Architectural Museum. Online. url: http://ah.bfn.org/a/archs/e&j/e&j.html
(Accessed July, 2003).
v.1, no.5 (October 1899) p. 7 ; Thompson, p. 279 n. 12.
8. John M. Carrère, "The Architectural
Scheme," Art Hand-Book,
Official Handbook of Architecture and Sculpture and Art Catalogue to the
Pan-American Exposition. Ed. David Gray. Buffalo, NY: David
Gray, 1901, p. 13. [Click
to view the Art Handbook].
See also Kerry S. Grant, The
Rainbow City: Celebrating Light, Color and Architecture at the Pan-American
Exposition, Buffalo, 1901. Buffalo, N. Y.: Canisius College
Press, 2001, p. 11.
Return to Visual Culture