niagara falls

The Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, meant to herald the twentieth century, went tragically, spectacularly awry.

The Exposition opened with fanfare; its wonders, both strange and magnificent, dazzled the public. Then tragedy struck. In the early autumn of 1901, an assassin stalked the fairgrounds, waiting for President William McKinley. That was shocking enough, but there were more surprises in store.

In The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World's Fair, Margaret S. Creighton lifts the curtain on the assassination of McKinley as well as on the fair’s lesser-known battles, involving both notorious and forgotten figures.

  In the summer of 1978, residents of Love Canal, a suburban development in Niagara Falls, NY, began protesting against the leaking toxic waste dump in their midst-a sixteen-acre site containing 100,000 barrels of chemical waste that anchored their neighborhood. Initially seeking evacuation, area activists soon found that they were engaged in a far larger battle over the meaning of America's industrial past and its environmental future. The Love Canal protest movement inaugurated the era of grassroots environmentalism, spawning new anti-toxics laws and new models of ecological protest.

Historian Richard S. Newman examines the Love Canal crisis through the area's broader landscape, detailing the way this ever-contentious region has been used, altered, and understood from the colonial era to the present day.