The Louisiana Purchase Exposition – St. Louis
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which was actually held in St. Louis in April 1904, was more commonly referred to as the St. Louis World’s Fair.
The 1,200-acre fairgrounds and its approximately 1,500 buildings cost millions of dollars to construct; this massive scale caused the opening to be postponed by a year.
Over the course of the fair’s eight-month run, almost 20 million visitors visited.
Technology, agricultural, artistic, and historical marvels were on show, and a portion named “the Pike” offered amusement rides and other forms of entertainment.
A sizable audience was introduced to some relatively recent inventions during the fair, including private vehicles, outdoor electric lighting, and the X-ray machine, as well as foods from all over the country and the world.
The exposition also placed a strong emphasis on anthropological displays, using a methodology that is stunning by modern standards:
People from the Philippines, the Arctic, and other places have occasionally been brought to fairgrounds as props for recreations of their homes or towns.
In a short period of time after the fair ended, practically all of its buildings were destroyed, leaving just a few imprints, ponds, and canals in Forest Park in St. Louis.
The World’s Colombian Exposition – Chicago
The World’s Columbian Exposition was planned to span over 686 acres (278 hectares) along the city’s south lakefront area; part of this location is now Jackson Park in Chicago. This was in keeping with the precedent set at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (1876), which created a vast gardened layout with numerous separate buildings rather than a single great hall.
The Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham served as the principal planner, Charles B. Atwood as the principal designer, and Frederick Law Olmsted as the landscape architect.
The new structures for the exhibition had striking Classical facades with uniform cornice heights of 60 feet (18.25 metres). The exhibition halls inside the plaster palace fronts had little in common with one another in terms of functionality, but the magnificence of the “White City,” which was electrically lit at night, temporarily sparked interest in Classical architecture.
On July 11, 1893, the headline of a front-page article in the Chicago Daily Tribune read, “In a funeral pyre… imprisoned by flames.” 16 people had perished in a fire at one of the World’s Columbian Exposition buildings in Jackson Park the day before, 12 of them firefighters. Thousands of fairgoers were present to see the first catastrophe at the event. Four persons, including fair architect Daniel Burnham, were accused of criminal negligence after the story covered the news pages for days.
Gross expenditures for the Columbian Exposition was $28,340,700, of which $18,678,000 was spent on buildings and grounds.
In total, more than 25.8 million people attended the fair, including the approximately 21.5 million people who paid entry.
However, the final number is occasionally stated to have been between 27 and 28 million because some visitors were tallied twice.
The final cash balance was $446,832, making it the first international exposition in America to end on a positive note.
The Palace of Fine Arts, a 600,000 square foot structure, was completely rebuilt in permanent limestone to house the Museum of Science and Industry’s public exhibitions between 1928 and 1932.