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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

The Ethnology Building1

BY GEORGE CARY

THE character of this building is classic in outline, with Renaissance decorative treatment. It is situated at the eastern junction of the Grand Esplanade and the Court of Fountains. The building is circular in plan, with the main entrances on the diagonal axis; between and connecting these is a continuous colonnade with a decorative frieze over the windows. The colonnade is raised some seven feet above the level of the Grand Esplanade, giving a covered portico or loggia commanding a pleasing view. Surmounting this colonnade is a terrace, with balustrade decorated with Martiny's "Torch-Bearer. "Over each entrance is a pediment containing McNeil's ethnological group, forming the decorative motive of the tympanum, and back of and above each pediment is Phimister Proctor's "Quadriga," made by him for the United States Government Building at the Paris Exposition of 1900. The building is covered by a dome like that of the Pantheon at Rome. The dome of the Ethnology Building is capped by a decorative cresting, the highest point being 150 feet. Hidden by the cresting is the skylight opening which lights the interior. Surrounding the dome, in eight of the sixteen panels, are eagles measuring 16 feet over all, and below these are eight circular windows in the encircling shaft, lighting the upper gallery. Surmounting each of these windows, and standing below the eagles, is Brewster's ethnological group, described elsewhere. The building covers about 20,000 square feet. There are two octagonal galleries, the first one being 25 feet above the floor, and the second one 21 feet above that. These galleries and the roof terrace are made accessible by staircases located at the side of each entrance. The eight decorated piers of the interior support eight arches, forming the octagon which, with the pendatives, carries the dome. The galleries encircle the octagon, leaving all open space under the dome 80 feet in diameter and 120 feet in height.


INSCRIPTIONS FOR ETHNOLOGY BUILDING.

  • I. "KNOWLEDGE BEGINS IN WONDER."—Plato, Aristotle, Langley.
  • II. "SPEAK TO THE EARTH, AND IT SHALL TEACH THEE."—Job xii, 8
  • III. "NOTHING THAT IS HUMAN IS ALIEN TO ME."— Terence.
  • IV. "AND HATH MADE OF ONE BLOOD ALL NATIONS OF MEN."—Acts xvii, 26.
  • V. "WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN!"—Shakspere, Hamlet, ii. 2.
  • VI. "ALL ARE NEEDED BY EACH ONE."—Emerson, Each and All.
  • VII. "THE WEAKEST AMONG US HAS A GIFT."—Ruskin.
  • VIII. "NO SE GANO' ZAMORA EN UNA HORA."—Cervantes, part ii. chap. lxxi.
  • IX. "O rich and various Man! thou palace of sight and sound, carrying in thy senses the morning and the night and the unfathomable galaxy; in thy brain, the geometry of the City of God; in thy heart, the bower of love and the realms of right and wrong."

References

1. Text quoted directly from the Art Hand-Book, Official Handbook of Architecture and Sculpture and Art Catalogue to the Pan-American Exposition. Ed. David Gray. Buffalo, N.Y.: David Gray, 1901. Sources of the images are noted with each.