Chicago Worlds Fair

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Dasha Krumrey
Franz Burnier
English 1102
April, 2012
Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition
Between the first of May and the end of October, an estimated 27 million people attended Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition (Worlds Columbian Exposition), also known as Chicago World's fair of 1893. This fair was planned to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus voyage and discovery of the New World. However the fair was a year late due to political arguments. The exposition covered 630 acres in Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance., and featuring nearly 200 new buildings (History Files). The inspiration for the World Columbian Exposition was part of the success of the Paris expositions in 1878 and 1888. The rivalry and competition between the two countries made the fair a great success. In 1888, the United States Congress passed a bill to allow for an exposition celebrating Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. Several major cities competed to host the exposition, including New York, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and Chicago. Even though Chicago wasn’t the most popular city in the U.S, or the most clean, it was a city filled with slaughter houses and the smell from them. Much to everyone's surprise on April 25, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison announced Chicago as the winner for the location of the fair. The city was the most reasonable host because of its central location and abundant park space (1893 World's Columbian Exposition). Forty-six nations participated in the fair (Appelbaum 2). Each nation brought something interesting to the fair such as culture and architecture. The Exposition was an influential event on the American society. The fair made a great impact on architecture, technology, and culture.

As an architectural show the Exposition was extraordinarily successful. There were nearly 200 new buildings build just for the fair. Carroll William Westfall, a professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame said, "Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others in their circle have justifiably made Chicago a Mecca for those who love architecture" (Stone, 7). A lot of the fairs attractions were the building. Leading exhibitor's organization officially complained that the exposition was not an industrial fair at all, but an architectural show (Appelbaum, 5). The buildings were very fascinating and specifically built. Chicago got the approval of hosting the World's Fair in 1890, so builders had less than 3 years to create the new soon to be called the White City. Due to limited time the invention of spray paint was created. "Many writers see the necessity for speed as a major influence on the decision that created the White City. The white paint was applied by compressed air squirt guns which were used here for the first time on a major project" (Appelbaum, 5). Painting with a brush by hand would have taken an enormous amount of time and it would have never been finished in time. Architecture Building was 800 feet long and 500 feet wide and occupied about 10 acres (Rosenberg, 108). This building consisted of foreign exhibits in the eastern part of the ground floor. The invention of "staff," or stucco, covered the buildings, giving them a magnificent whiteness and dazzling visitors who arrived at the rail terminal just outside the Fair's gates (Muccigrosso, 182). This was how the image of the White City was created. Chicago tired to embrace the classical architecture, but at the same time incorporate their own new ideas. They wanted to show the worlds that they knew how to build well.

One of the most popular architectures that came out of the fair was the Farris Wheel. The Paris Exposition was dominated by Gustave Eiffel's tower, the Eiffel tower was 986 feet, or 75 stories, and weighed over 7,300 tons The Chicago World's Fair was created to be greater than the fair that Paris held in 1889. The people in charge of the Fair had a goal to make...
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