Thursday, April 2, 2009


We have lived in Buffalo for 3.5 years now. Except for the taxes, I like it here. (I really HATE the taxes here.) The landscape is beautiful and it is rich in history- US History as well as Church history. I've been thinking about how much I did not enjoy history classes during my school days, but it interests me more and more these days. Seeing history up close, learning the stories about the people who made the history, and walking where they walked has made it come to life more for me I suppose.

I am in love with the architecture I see around our home and in the downtown area. Back in it's heyday, Buffalo was home to many millionaires. You can still drive downtown and see the ornate and expansive mansions on Delaware Ave. City Hall has a very cool art deco feel. We even have a Frank Lloyd Wright house (complex, actually) in Buffalo. Who knew?

I've also learned some presidential history too. Buffalo (actually East Aurora, the village just down the street from ours) was home to Millard Fillmore. Grover Cleveland lived here as mayor of Buffalo. President McKinley was assassinated in Buffalo at the Pan American Expo of 1901. Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated here following McKinley's death.

These last two facts I learned about thanks to an excellent school program (financed of course by those outrageous taxes.) Every year our fifth graders put on a musical play. Every student is required to participate. Some get bit by the acting bug, others never return to the stage, but at least they tried it out. This year's play (written by one of the teachers) was about the Pan American Expo of 1901. I had no idea there had been an historic world's fair right here! Reagan got to play the part of an Hawaiian dancer. She looks like a native Hawaiian doesn't she? ;)

The Pan American Expo's cutting edge technology of the day was the lighting of the building's exteriors. Thanks to Niagara Falls, they had the electrical power sufficient to do this. It is said there were tears in the people's eyes when the grounds were lit each night. They'd never seen such a thing.
Another piece of cutting edge technology on display at the Expo was the x-ray machine. When McKinley was shot, they couldn't find the bullet in his body, but thought it best to not dig around too much for it, for fear of doing more damage. The doctor who operated (who was actually an gynecologist!) decided not to use the x-ray machine because he did not know what effect it might have on the president. Ironically too, with all of the exterior lighting, there were no electric lights in the operating room. They couldn't use candlelight because of the flammable ether used to keep the president unconscious. So the doctors were forced to use pans to reflect sunlight onto the operating table.

Anyhow, the 5th graders put on an educational and entertaining show. The opening act was awesome- because it featured our Reagan in a duet!

And later on, she danced a hula...

She did a great job. We're so proud of her!


Jillie said...

I think Reagan did really good to preform a duet in the very beginning and i know even though i have done things like that i was scared and it looked liked reagan was meant to be singing up on that stage! I guess i have never noticed how good reagan sings and how comfortable shee seems doing it and I know i am just her sister but ia m very proud of her!

Sunny said...

Jillie, you are a GOOD big sister. And Reagan I'm sorry but you are too peachy and blonde to be authentic Hawaiian. But, girl, you've got the moves!!! How fun to learn all of this history. I remember disliking history in school but am totally intrigued with it now. It must be because they focused so much on dates and places...I'm more interested in the story.

Leanne said...

Well, that was quite a wealth of history! Thanks for sharing. What an interesting town you live in. Way to go Reagan! Great performance.

Caity said...

I love that house. That is very interesting. I have never lived somewhere where there is so much interesting history. You can go for a drive and it looks like there is tons to see and learn! How cool. Reagan looks very cute in her outfit.

Caity said...

Nikki-I wonder....we had two cottages growing up, so I bet that could be very possible. I'm almost 25 and my sister is 30, so if it was our cottage, it is very likely we were those little girls you remember. How funny!

Shan said...

I love that mansion. It would be fun to see what it looks like inside.
Reagan looks fantastic as a Hawaiian and did such a great job!

Robyn said...

Those are really cool buildings. Thanks for helping us get to know Buffalo a little better!