Jun 18, 2013

The Great Exposition of 1893


One of the most sensational of all world's fairs opened in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. Called the World's Columbian Exposition , it celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in the Americas.

The fair was opened by U.S. President Grover Cleveland on May 1, 1893. With the push of a button, he switched on the fair's electric power, turning on lights, fountains, and motors throughout the grounds. The fair ran for six months. By the time it closed on October 31, it had attracted more than 27 million visitors. Among the fair's wonders were:

Architecture: The major exhibition buildings - with their columns, towers, and domes - dazzled fair visitors. The gleaming white buildings surrounded a huge lagoon and a statue-filled Court of Honor. (The writer L. Frank Baum was so inspired by this "White City" that he used it as a model for his imaginary land in The Wizard of Oz.)

Science and Technology: Many fair visitors from rural areas got their first look at such novelties as electric lights, electric stoves, telephones, monorail trains, and the phonograph. (In the inset, visitors to the fair stroll past the spectacular "Golden Door" of the Transportation Building.)

The Midway Plaisance: This area, devoted to amusements, included the newly invented Ferris wheel. (The name "midway" was later adopted by fairs and carnivals throughout North America.)

Souvenir Postcards: These were introduced in the United States for the first time at the fair and soon became popular collectibles. (Grolier Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia)