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Temple of Music
at the
Pan American Exposition, 1901, Buffalo, NY


Photo source:  Collection of the webmaster

August Esenwein was one of the eight official architects for the Pan-American Exposition

The Expo's most notorious structure - designed by Esenwein and Johnson - was also the shortest lived: The Temple of Music was the site of
President McKinley's ill-fated meeting with assassin Leon Czolgosz in September 1901.

The Temple of Music's framework consisted of wooden members with cast-iron connections and steel tension rods. The facade was made of staff, like the other buildings that were temporary. Staff was invented in France ca. 1876 and first used in buildings of the Paris exhibition in 1878. It is composed of Plaster of Paris molded around a fibrous jute cloth. These are mixed with water and cast into molds. The material is off-white and is usually about 1/2 inch thick and cast around the fibers to help prevent brittleness. Castings can resemble cut stone, rock, faced stone, or any other type of masonry. Staff is impervious to water and is 1/10 the cost of construction with stone. The lower portions of the walls were often reinforced with concrete, to provide added strength.

The Temple of Music, one of the most beautiful of the
Exposition buildings, was situated west of the central fountain of the Esplanade and south of the Machinery and Transportation building. The building was colored in light yellows, with gold and red trimmings, and the panels in the dome were in light blue, producing an extremely beautiful effect.

See also:  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Pre-History: 1840-1935

The Temple provided an auditorium capable of seating 2,200 people, and contained one of the largest pipe organs (center) ever built in the United States. Daily organ recitals were given by the most celebrated organists of this country and Canada. John Philip Sousa and his band performed there.

The principal national holidays were observed with musical festivals, and many of the most famous bands of both the New and Old Worlds - including the bands of john Philip Sousa and the Royal Mexican Artillery - gave concerts in the Temple of Music, and from the other various band stands on the exposition grounds.

Text Source: B. Schulman, Interactive Guide to the World's Columbian Exposition (Offline Nov. 2012)
Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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