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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Report of the Horticulture Exhibit.1

S. D. Willard, Superintendent.
F. E. Dawley, Assistant Superintendent.

Thumbnail: the Horticulture Building

The Horticulture Building. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: The Rand-McNally Photo-Views of the Pan-American Exposition: A Choice Collection of Illustrations of the Main Points of Interest at the Rainbow City, Including Buildings, Statuary, Electrical Effects, Landscape, and Midway Scenes. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1901.

In arranging for the various exhibits of the State, the Horticultural Department was one of the last to be considered, and the appointment of the superintendents was not made until after the greater portion of the larger growers had disposed of their crop of 1900, so the exhibit was made up almost wholly from fruit obtained from smaller orchardists and amateurs. This, however, did not detract from the quality of the fruit which we were able to procure, but it added greatly to the difficulty in obtaining it.

The apple crop of 1900 was one of the finest that New York has ever grown, and we were fortunate in being able to secure barrel after barrel of selected stock which did not have a blemish on any specimen. It was our aim in placing the exhibit, not alone to make a pretty display of fruit, but also to demonstrate that certain sections of New York State were particularly adapted to the growing of one variety, while other sections were more favorable for the growing of another. Accordingly we secured specimens from every county in the State, and one of the attractions of the early days of the exhibit was the display of sixty-one plates of Baldwin apples, one from each county in the State, including New York city. The difference in form and color, as well as in quality, was decidedly marked.

Thumbnail: Pomological Exhibit - Main Section

Pomological Exhibit - Main Section. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

We were particularly anxious to get some facts of value in relation to the keeping quality of apples from various localities, and also of the different varieties. A careful count was kept of the number of specimens which were put into cold storage, and a record kept of the number of perfect specimens which were taken out. In packing these apples, new, clean barrels were procured and each specimen was wrapped separately in a sheet of waxed paper twelve by twelve inches square. Care was taken to press the paper tightly to the apple, excluding the air as much as possible. In a few instances tissue paper was experimented with, first wrapping the apple in this and then covering with waxed paper, and in other cases using the waxed paper next to the fruit with the tissue paper on the outside. No advantage was noted from either of these wrappings, and in some instances the tissue paper on the inside of the waxed seemed to be a positive damage, as it held the moisture when the apples sweat. In some cases the apples were too ripe when packed, owing to the lateness of our getting at the work, and these did not keep as well as those which were at just the proper stage when packed. In one case an entire shipment of apples decayed very badly. Investigation proved that the grower had let them stand in the orchard over Sunday after packing, and before shipping. As the weather was somewhat warm they became pretty thoroughly heated.

The fruit was all stored in the Buffalo Cold Storage Company's establishment, and the temperature did not vary much from thirty-four degrees from the time the fruit was received by them until it was taken out and placed upon the exhibition table.

In referring to the keeping qualities of the different varieties it is essential that you know that all the varieties taken into consideration were wrapped and packed in the same way, kept in the same temperature and treated in all respects exactly alike. The fruit which was experimented with by different systems of wrapping and packing were not taken into consideration, and a few barrels, for a check, were placed in cold storage without any wrapping, Baldwins and Ben Davis being selected for the test. They were placed in the same storage rooms and received the same treatment as the others. Up to May first they kept in remarkably good condition, but after that they lost flavor and color and began to speck badly. Of these at least twenty-five per cent were in bad condition on May twentieth. Those that were well wrapped in the waxed paper, making practically an air-tight compartment for each specimen, which not only preserves the apple from outside influences, but which prevents the germs of decay spreading from one specimen to another, were found in fine condition as late as November first. Reference to the accompanying table shows you that the Ben Davis, Gano, Red Romanite, Russets, Boiken and Bethel were among the best keepers.

When our exhibit was placed on May twentieth we found barrel after barrel of Spies, Baldwins, Newtown Pippins, Jonathan and Famuse in which the loss was less than one per cent. One barrel of Newtown Pippins which were placed at this time contained but one apple which was not fit to go upon the tables, and the last of this particular lot was not removed from the tables until thirty days afterwards. On November second, when the exhibit was removed. We had twelve specimens of Ben Davis and two of Gano which were taken from the barrel and placed on exhibition May eighteenth. Of course, they were badly shrivelled and discolored, but they had not decayed, and some of them on being broken open were as white as cotton inside.

In compiling the table I have arranged a scale of points for keeping quality, marking the apples which were found in perfect condition, or as nearly perfect as you could expect, 100. The marking on those which were decayed, discolored or damaged in any way has been reduced accordingly. These markings were made when the apples were taken from cold storage, and show the comparative condition of the various sorts at the date mentioned.

Table showing per cent of selected apples that were fit for exhibition as they came from cold storage on different dates.

Ben Davis, 99 99 99 98 97 97
Gano, 99 99 99 99 98 98
Baldwin, 98 97 97 97 96 95
Esopus Spitzenburg (Schoharie Valley), 99 99 98 98 97 97
Esopus Spitzenburg (Western N.Y.), 97 97 97 96 96 95
R. I. Greening, 94 91 90 90 83 81
Spy (grown in sod), 97 97 96 95 90 83
Spy (cultivated land), 93 90 89 89 81 73
Boiken, 98 98 98 97 96 95
Bethel, 98 98 98 9 96 95
Coopers Market, 97 97 96 95 93 91
King, 94 90 84 81 74 71
Wagner, 61 58 51 50 41 33
Jonathan, 94 94 94 93 92 90
Famuse, 95 94 94 93 90 90
Rome Beauty, 90 90 90 90 87 85
McIntosh Red, 90 88 88 88 85 85
Canada Red, 94 94 94 94 90 90
Russet, 99 97 95 93 80 80
Red Romanite, 99 97 97 97 97 96

While the table covers but a very few of the varieties which were on exhibition, we had small packages and parts of packages of many other varieties that are not so commonly grown, and which kept as well as the best. One barrel of Yellow Belle-fleur, which is a very tender apple, and which is ordinarily gone by February first, keep up a continuous exhibit from the time of opening until July tenth. The grower, Mr. J. S. Smith, was awarded a silver medal for the exhibit.

Pomological Exhibit, General View

Pomological Exhibit - General View. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

A fact of great practical value to the apple growers of New York State is brought out by our experience in handling this cold storage fruit, and that is that the season can be greatly prolonged by proper packing and placing in cold storage well-grown specimens of many varieties of apples, pears and grapes, and that great profit can be derived from so doing. Apples which cost us but three dollars per barrel in the fall could have been sold at the time we placed them on exhibition at from six to ten dollars per barrel. We were offered thirty cents per pound for all the Catawba grapes which we had soon after the first plates were placed on exhibition. Small packages of other apples and pears put up for family use would have brought almost fabulous prices.

In apples the varieties most suited for this trade would seem to be Spitzenburg, Famuse, Jonathan, Boiken and Baldwin. There is a wide field open for progressive growers in this direction, and as we have demonstrated that the difficulties can be overcome by following the methods which were used in packing this exhibit we expect many growers will take advantage of it. Reference to the list of awards at the close of this report will show that many gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded the New York State growers for their exhibits.

We were the first to place on exhibition apples grown in 1901, putting some elegant specimens of Yellow Transparent and Early Harvest on the tables June twelfth. These were grown under glass at Cornell University, and exhibited in the University's general exhibit. The finest specimens of Cerimin Monstera Deliciosa grown under glass, which were shown at the exposition were also found in the Cornell exhibit.


Our collective exhibit of strawberries, on which we received a gold medal, extended from June twenty-third to October thirty-first. It covered something over 180 varieties, shown by 63 different exhibitors. The most attractive exhibit which we were able to make was on June twenty-ninth, when we had over 700 plates of Marshalls on exhibition and 1200 plates of other varieties. The Marshall berries are very dark in color, large in size and of exquisite flavor. They demand the highest cultivation, and in sections where they do well are among the finest for home use. This exhibit was shipped to us from growers in all parts of the State, and was pronounced by our competitors to be the finest strawberry show they had ever seen.

The largest exhibit of different varieties of strawberries was made by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, of Geneva. The largest individual exhibit was made by Mr. Wm. Palmer, of Grooms, who contributed seventy-one varieties. Although grown in the eastern part of the State they were received in perfect condition, which is surprising, when you take into consideration that in so large a collection there are many varieties which are regarded as not being of good shipping quality. Nearly all market strawberries are shipped in ventilated crates, but those which came to us in tight packages were received in the best condition, and the fruit sent in this way remained in good condition longer when displayed than the other. Such varieties as the Sharpless, Carrie and Gandy held up from six to eight days after being displayed, drying up rather than decaying.

The exhibit of the "Pan-American" strawberry, made by Mr. Samuel Cooper, of Delavan, was remarkable. From July eighteenth until November second Mr. Cooper kept a continuous display of his new seedling strawberry on our tables. The quality of the fruit is very good, resembling the Bismarck somewhat, but the fact of its continuous bearing throughout the summer is wonderful.

Mr. G. E. Ryckman, of Brocton, also exhibited a very fine new seedling, showing both the fruit and the growing plants. The growth is very strong. The fruit is of good color and extra large size and remarkably fine in quality for so large a berry. Another seedling of merit was the Corsican, shown by Mr. Charles A. Green, of Rochester.


Our display of gooseberries was a revelation to many of our own citizens. Because of mildew and other difficulties this is a fruit which is not very largely grown, and as it is seldom found in market people lose sight of it. When properly prepared for table use it is one of our finest summer fruits. Those who have partaken of none of the new, sweeter, yet delightfully acid, varieties have but little conception of its value. The rapid strides which have been made in scientific fruit culture have enabled growers to successfully combat with mildew and blights which formerly made the culture of the finer English varieties unprofitable. Growers who begin early in the season to spray their bushes thoroughly and continuously with sulphide of potassium and who understand that the soil needs to be shady and kept cool, are growing this fruit to perfection. The demand for gooseberries is rapidly increasing, and it might well take the place of the cranberry in making jellies to be served with meats, game and fowl. The extent to which this fruit is being grown can be judged from the fact that at one time we were able to show 139 named varieties. The largest exhibit of gooseberries was made by the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, consisting of 128 varieties.


Our exhibit of currants comprised something over 9,000 plates and sixty varieties, continuing for forty-three days. The first to be exhibited were Fay's Prolific, White Grape and Cherry. A number of new seedlings were shown, on which medals were awarded to the propagators. Among the finest were the Perfection, exhibited by C. G. Hooker, of Rochester; the Diploma, exhibited by Mr. Jacob Moore, Vine Valley, and the Chautauqua Climbing, exhibited by E. H. Fay & Son, Portland. One of the finest varieties which was exhibited was the White Imperial. A continuous display was maintained for twenty-eight days, showing that this is a currant of long season, and careful tests proved it to be of the finest table quality. The President Wilder also attracted much attention.


Of this popular fruit we had a magnificent exhibit, extending from July third to August twenty-second. Many new varieties were placed on exhibition. The display of Columbian, Ohio, Gregg, Palmer and Kansas indicated that these are among the most profitable and popular varieties in the black caps. Of the red varieties we had a large and beautiful display. Our exhibit of blackberries, dewberries and huckleberries comprised every variety grown in the State, and indicates the wide range of our possibilities as a fruit growing section.

Apricots and Nectarines

Peach and Grape Exhibit

Peach and Grape Exhibit. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

On June twenty-ninth a fine exhibit of nectarines, comprising four varieties, was shown by Cornell University. It is to be regretted that this fruit is such a difficult one to grow, as its beauty and quality would soon make it a most popular sort. The samples which we had on exhibition attracted a great deal of attention, as it was entirely new to many people.

The apricot is a native of Central Asia and the perfection with which it can be grown on the soils of New York State simply helps to demonstrate the vast number of varieties of fruits which we can produce. The samples shown from the various counties in Central and Western New York comprised the following varieties: Acme, Nicholas, Shenoe, Catharine, Cluster, Alexander, Large Early, Mantagamet, Moorpark, Jackson, Roman, Golden Russian and Gibbs.


The soil and climatic conditions of Central New York and the Hudson River valley, as well as the grape belt along the line of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, make an ideal situation for plum growing. While this fruit is not adapted to all sorts of soils, there are hundreds of acres in New York upon which it can be grown profitably. Our large cities and thickly populated manufacturing sections make a fine market for this popular fruit, and it is cultivated by many. While the summer of 1901 was not an ideal one for profitable plum culture, we were able to make a very good exhibit, extending from July twentieth to October seventeenth. The great multitude of varieties extends the marketing season so that it is one of the most profitable fruits in sections to which it is adapted. The attractive Japanese varieties, which are so easily grown, made a most showy exhibit. The display of prunes and English varieties, with their bright green, yellow and blue coloring, made the plum display one of the most beautiful of the season. The first variety to be shown was the Wild Goose, and among the last ones on the tables were the Copper, Warner's Late Red, Wayland, Damson and Shippers' Pride.


From August first to November first on our tables were found the finest collections of peaches that were shown in the Horticultural Building. The peach is a native of Persia, and delights in a warm climate, yet some of the finest flavored peaches which are grown in the world are produced on Long Island, in the Hudson River valley and in Central and Western New York. While we have had some trouble in peach growing, in the way of yellows, borers and other difficulties, it is one of the most profitable fruits our producers grow. We hear much about the large crops in other States, still a large portion of all that finds its way to our New York markets is home grown. Our displays demonstrated clearly that no finer peaches are grown anywhere than in New York State.


Very few people realize the extent of New York State's grape growing industry. So nearly as can be ascertained the vineyard area in the Chautauqua grape belt comprises over 25,000 acres. The Central New York lake region has an acreage of not less than 20,000 acres, divided as follows: in the vicinity of Canandaigua lake 6000 acres, in the vicinity of Keuka lake 7000 acres, in the vicinity of Cayuga lake 2000 acres, in the vicinity of Seneca lake 5000 acres. In Niagara and Orleans counties there are about 2000 acres, and in Onondaga and Oswego counties about 1000 acres. In the Hudson River valley there are about 15,000 acres, and in isolated vineyards in other parts of the State there are probably 2000 acres, making the total acreage for the State about 65,000 acres.

Hot House Grape Exhibit

Hot House Grape Exhibit. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

The aggregate sales of grapes over the State this year, independent of those sold to wine makers, will not be less than 110,000 tons. From official sources we learn that shipments in carload lots from twenty-nine leading stations in the Chautauqua grape belt in 1899 amounted to 6977 cars. Each car consists of about 3000 eight-pound baskets, or from twelve to twelve and a half tons of fruit. From all the data which can be obtained it is evident that the grape crop of New York State brings more money to the grower than does that of California. Very few people seem to realize that New York State is far in the lead as a grape-growing as well as an apple-growing State, and in preparing our exhibit we were particularly anxious to demonstrate the State's prominence as a grape-growing section.

Our first exhibit was received on August eighteenth, and consisted of three varieties. Shipments came in rapidly from that time until November first, and on many occasions we had more than 2000 plates of grapes on the tables at one time. During the month of September an average of 1200 plates of grapes was kept on the tables, and during October the average was 1800 plates.

Grape and Wine Exhibit

Grape and Wine Exhibit. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

The largest cluster of grapes exhibited during the exposition, from any State, was shown by Mr. D. M. Dunning, of Auburn, and weighed eight pounds nine ounces. It was grown under glass, and is shown in the center of the plaque in one of the accompanying illustrations.

A large number of very fine new seedling grapes were shown. The best seedling, by all odds, that was shown was produced at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, and is known as Seedling No. 797. It is the finest of the hybrids that have been brought out under Prof. Beach's experiments, and should find a place in every collection as soon as it is disseminated. It grows very compact in the cluster, is of fair size and is very rich and sweet. The Charlton, shown by Mr. John Charlton, of Rochester, and some Mr. Moore's seedlings were also of very superior quality.

It may be interesting to know that in the grape exhibits New York received more awards than all the rest of the States together, and exhibited four times as many varieties as any other State.

While but little space was reserved for wine exhibits New York's exhibit was larger than any other, excepting California and each of our exhibitors received an award.

Apples Grown in 1901

Had our competitors arranged conditions we could not have been more seriously handicapped in attempting to make an apple exhibit than we were this season. Official figures show that the apple crop of New York State was less than eighteen per cent of an average crop, and while the fruit grown in 1900 which we exhibited contained no blemishes, it was hard work to find enough perfect specimens of the crop of 1901 to make a first class plate. We were not able to secure as many varieties of winter fruit as we had in cold storage of the season before, because many sorts did not bear fruit at all. However, our samples came from a wide range of territory, and in a few isolated orchards we were able to get fine specimens. Even with these unfavorable conditions we were successful in winning more awards than any of our competitors, and with the samples of cold storage fruits which remained on our tables throughout the fall we were able to impress upon dealers that New York State still maintained with ease its position as an apple-growing section.

Many people have an idea that exhibits of this character are of but little practical value to the State. Could they have seen the eagerness with which apple buyers and cold storage operators watched the various shipments as they came in, taking note of the quality and the section in which the fruit was grown, this notion would have been dispelled, and I believe fully that the increased prices which the producers of apples alone received for their 1901 crop because of the samples which were exhibited, would more than pay the cost of the State's horticultural exhibit at the exposition.

Among the newer varieties of fruit shown some of the most beautiful were the Bismarck, Stark and Boiken. Many varieties which are not usually grown and which seem to possess superior merit were shown, among them being the Gano, Canada Red and Cooper's Market. While the varieties of apples have been multiplied almost without number, it is still a fact that those which seem best adapted to market culture can be named on the ten fingers, and it will be many years before the Baldwin, Spy, Greening, Hubardtson, Esopus, Spitzenburg, Russets, King and Ben Davis are crowded out. While many people have an idea that the Ben Davis as grown in the west is a better apple than when grown in New York, it is a fact that the finest colored specimens and those which kept the longest during the exposition were grown on New York State soil, The Rome Beauty attracted considerable attention at the exposition and the growers who have tried it speak in the highest terms of its fruitfulness and ability to resist wind.

The entire season's work with apples demonstrated clearly that while thousands of acres may be set in the west, New York has but little to fear from that competition. New Mexico and Oregon exhibited particularly fine specimens of fruit, and while, contrary to the general belief in the east, they were of good flavor, operations must be carried on there on a large scale to be profitable, and they do not get the fine texture and keeping quality in their fruit which is manifested in ours.


Our quince exhibit, grown in 1901, was fine, and the wide range of varieties shown and the large number of exhibitors making the display, indicated that this fruit is receiving more attention.

Pomological Exhibit, General View

Pomological Exhibit, General View. Photo Credit: n/a. Source: Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902.

One of the greatest attractions in the Horticultural Building were our plaques of fruit, which were five feet high and six feet wide. The first one set up represented Spring, the second Summer and the third Autumn. In these designs over 1000 pounds of fruit were used, and not a blemish in the lot. The third one representing Autumn was at its best on New York Day, and was admired by thousands. Prince Eito, of Japan, said it was the most magnificent work of the kind he had ever seen, and requested that a photograph of it be sent to him. The designs of the other States did not approach these elaborate pictures. Another feature of our exhibit was the baskets of the finest fruits, which were maintained from August first to the close of the exposition, which we varied from day to day, Sometimes filling the baskets with grapes and at other times with peaches, plums or apples. While the display on plates was most carefully inspected by those most interested in fruit, and was many times studied whole days by scientific men and professional growers, the fancy designs attracted the attention of the general public, and impressed them with the beauty and quality of New York State's fruit. The plan of color and association of form in these designs entitled them to be styled works of art. They were designed by Mr. F. E. Dawley and executed by Mr. Julius Heinrich.

The especial thanks of the management of the Horticultural Department are due to the director of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, at Geneva, who did so much to make our exhibit a success: to Prof. S. A. Beach, horticulturist at the station, and to his assistants, for their careful packing and labeling of the various sorts of fruit which they contributed to the exhibit. Many of these sorts are new, or but little known, and it would have been impossible for us to name them. Our thanks are also due to Dr. I. P. Roberts, Prof. L. H. Bailey and Mr. G. E. Hunn, of Cornell University, for the fine exhibits which they maintained, and especially for the specimens of hot house grown apples and semi-tropical fruits. The section of our space which was occupied by the Chautauqua Fruit and Wine Association was kept well filled with a fine display of Chautauqua county's superior horticultural products, and the president of this association, Mr. G. E. Ryckman, and the secretary, Mr. S. S. Crissey, are entitled to much praise for their assistance. Our New York State exhibit was recognized by all the exhibitors in the building as a strictly educational exhibit. Nothing was placed on our tables unless it was carefully named. We wish to thank Prof. H. E. Van Deman for his uniform courtesy and assistance in correctly naming disputed varieties. It is a source of gratification to us that the New York exhibit received more gold medals than any three competitors, and that while we received forty-nine awards of gold medals the next highest competitor, the Province of Ontario, received eighteen, and the next highest State twelve.


1. "Report of the Horticulture Exhibit." Report of the Board of General Managers of the Exhibit of the State of New York at the Pan-American Exposition - transmitted to the Legislature March 27, 1902. Albany, N. Y.: J. B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1902. pp. 205-216. Unless otherwise noted, the text and images have been reproduced in full from the original.
2. This image of the Horticulture Building appeared in The Rand-McNally Photo-Views of the Pan-American Exposition: A Choice Collection of Illustrations of the Main Points of Interest at the Rainbow City, Including Buildings, Statuary, Electrical Effects, Landscape, and Midway Scenes. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co., 1901.