Pan Am

In 1901, Buffalo was the place to be. As the eighth-largest city in the US and well-connected to the railroad network, it earned its place as site of the first Pan-American Exposition, a World’s Fair that highlighted cultures and achievements of Western Hemisphere Nations. The original Exposition included a midway, educational exhibits, and demonstrations of technological advancements, including electricity generated by the hydroelectric power of Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, today, the Exposition is often associated with the assassination of President William McKinley, who was shot at the Temple of Music. Tragic as that was, we shouldn’t lose sight of the Exposition’s benefits to Buffalo; it drew more than eight million visitors—many of whom decided to plant roots here—and opened entrepreneurs’ eyes to the city’s potential. 

—Judith A. Rucki (originally published Forever Young, 2021)

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