German immigrants had been arriving in Buffalo in significant numbers since its early days with many becoming prosperous in areas of business and politics. By 1901 some of the leading entrepeneurs in the brewing, flour milling, tanning and meat-packing industries were first or second generation German-Americans. It is not surprising that many of these leaders were in some way involved in nearly all aspects of the Pan-American Exposition.
Buffalo's German-led Industry
Buffalo's German population in 1901 included a number of very influential, often wealthy businessmen, many of whom attained prominance through the business dominated by Buffalo's German population throughout the 19th century--brewing. In the 1840's small plants had first been established by such Buffalo brewing pioneers Jacob Roos, J. F. Schanzlin and Hoffman, and Joseph Friedman. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, however, breweries with names like Germania, Magnus-Beck, Gerhard-Lang, and the German-American Brewing Company were successfully competing with their counterparts in cities like Milwaukee. In 1896, Buffalo's 19 breweries produced an output of 652,340 barrels. The majority of these companies were still managed by German-American founders and/or their descendents. William Simon, Edward G. Becker, Alois and Philip Schaeffer, Charles Pankow, Christian Trapp, Col. John L. Schwarts--all were big names in the brewing industry who were also prominent Buffalo citizens.
were major investors in the Pan-American Exposition as well. According
to the Buffalo Commerical,
by February 1, 1899, Buffalo brewers had purchased $55,800 in subscriptions
of Pan-American Exposition stock.
Because the Pan-American Exposition was, after all, a way to show off the city and its industries, many of these individuals worked hard to bring the to Buffalo. Four members of the Board of Directors of the Exposition were either German or of German descent--Conrad Diehl, August Esenwein, George Urban, Jr., and F.C.M. Lautz.
The architect who designed the Temple of Music, August Esenwein, was from Germany, as were many of the musicians and directors who performed at the Pan American Exposition. The huge "Saengerfest" or festival of German choral music, which took place during the Exposition, brought at least ten thousand people to the fair. "Alt Nürnberg", or "old Nuremberg," replicated several historic buildings in Nuremberg, as well as a large open-air restaurant and concert area on the Midway. Within the buildings were reproductions of artwork and other cultural treasures of Germany.
German Americans were an influential group in Buffalo society at the time, and they had reason for pride in their representation at the Pan-American Exposition.
German Culture in 1901 Buffalo
German settlers in Buffalo started forming singing societies before the Civil War. By 1901, these included the Buffalo Sängerbund, Liedertafel, Liederkranz, Germania Singing Society, Orpheus, and the Harugari Männerchor. From June 24 to 27, 1901, Buffalo welcomed a huge crowd of German-American singers from all over North America, for the 1901 Saengerfest. F. C. M Lautz led the organizational effort, while John Lund conducted the enormous adult choir, and Joseph Mischka, an immigrant from Bohemia (then part of Austria-Hungary) and, in 1901, Director of Music for the Buffalo School System, directed about 3500 children in a concert at the 74th Regiment (now the Connecticut Street Armory) - the only building large enough to accommodate the concerts.
1. Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks'
website Archivaria.com looks
at the history of the Geman Community in Buffalo, including discussion
of the German singing societies.
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