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Pan-American Exposition

Pan-American Exposition Event Button Museum
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Blue text and an illustration of a woman as North America and one as South America on a white background

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Made by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. Newark, N. J. U.S.A. Pat April 14, 1896, July 21, 1896

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Buffalo, New York became the site of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, because of its location near major population centers and along rail lines. The exposition grounds stretched 342 acres. The exposition’s “Pan-American” theme was timely. It took place not long after the Spanish-American War of 1898, and effectively ended Spain’s control over its remaining colonies in Latin America. The United States took control of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

Buildings were constructed for the occasion, though most of them would be torn down within a year. The exhibits included hydroelectric power, electric lights, engines, feats of engineering and technology, buildings like “Cleopatra’s Temple,” a “wild west” show, and captive Apache chief Geronimo. The exposition is perhaps best known as the site of President William McKinley’s assassination on September 6th, 1901. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot President McKinley twice, and he died on September 14th. Theodore Roosevelt, McKinley’s vice president, succeeded him.


Library of Congress. America at the turn of the century: A look at the historical context. Last days of a president: Films of McKinley and the Pan-American Exposition, 1901. Retrieved from

University at Buffalo Libraries. Pan-American exposition of 1901. University at Buffalo Libraries, Digital Collections. Retrieved from

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