Ohio Day at the Pan-American Exposition!

'Ohio at the Pan-American Exposition' program cover, via Ohio Memory.
‘Ohio at the Pan-American Exposition’ program cover, via Ohio Memory.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary, back in 1901, of what was declared to be “Ohio Day” at the Pan-American Exposition, a World’s Fair held in Buffalo, New York, from May through November in 1901.

The Ohio Building, erected on the grounds of the Pan-American Exhibition. Via Ohio Memory.
The Ohio Building, erected on the grounds of the Pan-American Exhibition. Via Ohio Memory.

Thanks to a bill approved by Ohio’s General Assembly and approved by Governor George K. Nash, a commission was organized and appointed with the duty to “properly advertise the greatness of Ohio.” To do so, they had built on the exposition grounds an “Ohio building,” whose “hospitable doors will always be open for the entertainment of visitors,” and which “old fashioned Buckeye cordiality permeates…from foundation to roof.” We recently added a program from the Ohio Day festivities to Ohio Memory, which we’re happy to share with you today!

Logo for the 1901 Exposition, via Ohio Memory.
Logo for the 1901 Exposition, via Ohio Memory.

The focus of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 was narrower than past World’s Fairs–it was distinctly “all-American,” with the goal “to cement a better commercial and political understanding between the two continents of the Western Hemisphere.” This more localized focus was exemplified by the popularity of the Ohio Building and the elaborate schedule for Ohio Day, which included music from the Eighth Regiment Band, invocations and welcomes, and a number of addresses from such names as Joseph Foraker, Marcus Hanna and Governor Nash. Additional contents of the program include: “The Golden Rule: The Motto in the Life of Col. James Kilbourne,” “Ohio, the Mother of Presidents,” “The Rainbow City” and “The Ohio Building” as well as the schedule for Ohio Day and numerous advertisements and photographs.

Much was made throughout the program of Ohio’s role as “Mother of Presidents,” particularly since the current sitting president was Ohio native William McKinley. However, as many of our readers may know, tragedy struck during the course of the Pan-American Exposition upon McKinley’s visit later that year on September 1st, when he was shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while attending a public reception. Though he initially appeared to be recovering well, his health took a turn for the worse and he succumbed to his injuries in the early morning hours of September 14th.

We invite you to explore this historical document with its many connections to our state’s past–and maybe consider celebrating your own “Ohio Day” tomorrow!

Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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