We’ve all seen a ton of beautiful imagery from the Pan Am Exposition over the years. From postcards to prints, there are some inspirational images that live on from the expo. In this day and age, with so many ways to research and resource historic imagery, you would think that it would be relatively impossible to find previously unknown paper documents from something as highly publicized as the sensational Pan Am Expo. At the same time, the power of the internet allows us to scour countless sites, with limitless eyes.
In 2001 local teacher Lisa Zolnowski was surfing online and came across an original print from the Pan Am Expo (1901), which she purchased. It was soon discovered that the print was extremely rare, and was not even on the radar of the Buffalo History Museum. Lisa went on to conduct some additional research and found one other print for sale in Canada. She proceeded to purchase that as well. What had started as a research project for one of her classes, had turned into a relative gold mine of historic treasure.
It turns out that the rare print had been commissioned by the Tympalyn printing company in Boston. The Company had retained the services of artist Maurice Coleman to create the image, which was that of the Pan Am Expo buildings with a rainbow overhead. The piece was appropriately named, The Rainbow City. Since the discovery, Lisa has donated one of the prints to the Buffalo Historical Society this past February and has also created additional copies that are available at TheRainbowCity.com.
A mural of the print is on display at the Pan Am Grill and Brewery within The Hotel @ The Lafayette in Downtown Buffalo.