The Buffalo History Museum (aka The New York State Pavilion, 1901)

You remember how I said yesterday that only one building remains from the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo, New York? This is it:

1901 New York State Pavilion, now the Buffalo History Museum

It started out as the New York State Pavilion (today it houses the Buffalo History Museum). This was one of the few structures intended to be permanent. It’s modeled after the Parthenon: check out the row of eight Doric columns rather than the usual six, a clear nod to that temple.

Like many late Neo-Classical it’s impressive at first glance, but anything more than the briefest of looks shows it to be a rather turgid pastiche. Built in 1901, it feels regressive. It feels like a bank (Neo-Classical pastiche was a favorite of banking architecture down to the Great Depression).

Dotted around the building are metopes. Some are feeble copies of the Parthenon’s metopes–one shows a Lapith and Centaur fighting, but with none of the vigor of the original. Others, jarringly, show modern scenes in modern dress. All are equally second-rate in design.

Lincoln at the Buffalo History Museum

Abraham Lincoln sits on the porch. His lined face tense with thought contrasts sharply with the uninvolved, motionless sculptures on the pediment above him. He looks out over part of what’s left of the huge lake at the south end of the Fair. He also has an excellent view of the Scajaquada Expressway, which was built in the 1960s.

Lincoln's View from the 1901 New York State Pavilion, Buffalo NY

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About Richard

I am a writer who travels endlessly. Fascinated by how our lives are propelled forward by what's left behind, I thirst to know everything. I read, collect, gather, organise, list. Here are some of the things I read, see and experience. Please make yourself at home: drinks and pretzels will be served shortly. If you'd like to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

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