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University at Buffalo Libraries

Pan-American Exposition of 1901

The New York State Building1

BY GEORGE CARY

THE New York State Building is situated on the north side of the west bay of the park lake, near the Elmwood Avenue entrance. Used as the New York State Building during the Exposition, it is to remain afterward a permanent building for the Buffalo Historical Society. The building is of white Vermont marble, in the classic order of architecture known as the Greek Doric, being of the same order as the Parthenon at Athens, by Pericles. This would seem best to harmonize with the Albright Art Gallery on the opposite side of the water, designed in the spirit of the Erechtheum, which stands with the Parthenon on the Acropolis.

The Greek Doric is suggestive of solidity and force, has little carving, and its lines are all curved slightly upward. As exhibited in the monuments of the age of Pericles at Athens, the Greek Doric combines with solidity and force the most subtle and delicate refinement of outlines and proportions that architecture has known.

The building is a rectangle about 120 x 80 feet, and 50 feet high. On the north front is located the statue "Aspiration," by Mrs. Harry Paine Whitney. The northern façade is faced with three-quarter columns, and the entrance is through a vestibule, the bronze doors of which were the gift of the president of the Buffalo Historical Society, Mr. Andrew Langdon. The panels in these doors, representing "History" and "Ethnology," are the work of Perry. On the south, dividing the paths leading to the park, are Andersen's equestrian groups called "Progress," and between these two on the axis of the building is Andersen's bronze group termed "Affinity." As the starting-point of the grand marble staircase leading up to the southern entrance stands Elwell's statue of "Intelligence," described elsewhere.

The southern entrance is through a portico 61 x feet, embellished by ten Doric columns, and commanding a view of the park lake, the electric fountains, and the park.

The floor-level is taken 7 feet above ground to the north, while to the south the grade is kept at the ground-level of the basement, so as to get good light, and to enter the bicycle-room and other rooms of the basement direct.

The height of the basement is 14 feet. Here is the dining-room, facing the park to the south, the bicycle-room, kitchen, and janitor's quarters (entered from the hall and from outside), also boiler-rooms, etc., and the storage-room to the west, under the audience-hall. The ground or first floor is 15 feet high. Here is the audience-hall, which seats 250 persons.

The library occupies the eastern end of the building on this floor, and between the library and the audience-hall is the grand hall, stairway, and gallery. This grand hall, finished in black marble and gold, the largest room on this floor, may be given over to museum purposes, opening up into the upper floor to be used for larger relics.

North of this grand hall is the lobby, giving access to the governor's room to the east, a committee-room to the west, to cloak-rooms and toilet-rooms, as well as an entrance to all the other rooms on this floor.

The second floor runs up into the roof, making the rooms 18 feet high. It is lighted entirely by skylights, and will be used for museum purposes.

The building is absolutely fire-proof. It is planned to accommodate not only the ultimate needs of the Historical Society, but also the immediate needs of the Exposition. It is provided with a heating and ventilating plant, and is lighted by a thousand electric lights.


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.