Torn-Down Tuesday: Pan Am’s Electric Tower

By Steve Cichon

What a difference a year makes.

1901: The Electric Tower from the north. 1902: The Electric Tower from the south. Buffalo Stories archives.

Buffalo spent years getting ready for 1901’s Pan American Exposition, but after a presidential assassination and financial ruin, there was little thought of trying to preserve what was promised to be a temporary wonderland built mostly on property owned by the Rumsey family.

The visual focal point of the Pan-Am was the Electric Tower—but by spring 1902, it was the place where wrecking crews were piling lumber and refuse as the expo was dismantled.

Eventually, the tower came down, too. The spot in these photos is now a residential area. The 1902 photo was taken by someone standing about where Amherst Street and Lincoln Parkway intersect today.

A map of the Pan-Am grounds.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.