The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World's Fair
4.2.2017 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Margaret Creighton, author of the book The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World's Fair shares a fascinating presentation about the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, which was meant to herald the twentieth century but went tragically, spectacularly awry.
In 1901, Buffalo was the eighth-largest city in the United States, and its leaders had big dreams. They would host a world’s fair, showcasing the Americas, and bring millions of people to western New York. With nearby Niagara Falls as a drawing card and with stunning colors and electric lights, they hoped the fair would be more popular and more brilliant, literally, than Chicago’s White City of 1893.
The Exposition opened with fanfare; its wonders, both strange and magnificent, dazzled the public. Then tragedy struck. In the early autumn of 1901, an assassin stalked the fairgrounds, waiting for President William McKinley.
That was shocking enough, but there were more surprises in store. A female daredevil captivated crowds by trying to ride a barrel over Niagara Falls. Apache leader Geronimo startled visitors with a controversial performance. And a showman called the Animal King, the self-proclaimed star of the Midway, announced that one of his acts, the smallest woman in the world and the fair’s “mascot,” had been kidnapped. Then he staged the attempted electrocution of an elephant.
In this extraordinary presenation, Ms. Creighton lifts the curtain on the assassination of McKinley as well as on the fair’s lesser-known battles, involving both notorious and forgotten figures. In a story that is by turns suspenseful, heartrending, and triumphant, she reveals the myriad power struggles that not only marked the Exposition but shaped the new century. Copies of her book will be available for sale, and she will gladly autograph a copy for you.
The program will be presented in Forest Lawn's Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center located on the grounds of Forest Lawn at 1990 Main Street (directly across from Canisius College) with plenty of free parking available.
Please note that tickets for this presentation are $15 for general admission but are FREE for members of the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation. (Members, please log into your account to redeem your free ticket.)