Columbian Exposition

The Fair of The Century

What Is the Exposition?

The Columbian Exposition was and is still relevant to Chicago and all of America today. The Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago form May, 1893 - October, 1893. The Exposition was held to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was meant to give people an opportunity to learn and have an idea of what is to come in the near future. There were thousands of new technologies, products, etc. that where introduced during the Columbian Exposition.
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Why is it Still Relevant?

The Columbian Exposition had a huge impact on Chicago, America, and the rest of the world. The new technologies and products introduced at the exposition are still used today. For example the ferris wheel, syrup, hot air balloon, juicy fruit gum, hershey's chocolate and much more. These are things that we sometimes use today. It is incredible to think about all the things that we use and even more incredible to think that hundreds of those things came from products and ideas from this fair. This fair was like a base point for thousands of new ideas which were in some ways were improved and still used today. I think many of the things we use today are things that are based off of what was seen at this magnificent fair.

The fair also influenced to architecture of many parts of America. In the middle of the fair was an area that was known as the "Whit City" because of the buildings with white siding and its illuminated streets using electric lamps. There we monuments and statues by people such as Charles McKim and Daniel Burnham. These artists left a lasting impression on planners to bring open spaces into crowded cities. Chicago was one of the fist to adopt the ideas of the architecture and planning of the fair and soon dozens of cities followed the lead.

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Interesting Facts!

  • Two days before the closing ceremony of the fair the mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrison, was assassinated. The closing ceremony was they cancelled in favor of a memorial service for the mayor.
  • Walt Disney's father was one of the workers who helped build and paint the buildings for the fair.
  • Milton Hershey purchased chocolate manufacturing equipment to add chocolate to his caramel business.
  • All 200 of the buildings for the fair were meant to be temporary, but today only two still stand. they are now the Science and Industry and the Art Institute.
  • When the fair first opened it almost went bankrupt because the cost of keeping it open was too high, but the popularity of the ferris wheel saved the fair from closing early.



  • "This exposition is not the conception of any single mind; It is not the result of any single effort, but it is the grandest conception of all the minds."

-Fair Director General Davis May 1, (1883)

  • " Sell the cook the stove if necessary and come. You must see the fair."
-Hamlin Garnald to parents (1893)

Modern Day

  • The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago was both functional and beautiful, and it encouraged visitors to rethink the aesthetics and infrastructure of American cities.
-Tamara Wolski (2009)

  • Every woman who visited the Fair made it the center of her orbit. Here was a structure designed by a woman, decorated by women, managed by women, filled with the work of women. Thousands discovered women were not only doing something, but had been working seriously for many generations ... [ellipsis in source] Many of the exhibits were admirable, but if others failed to satisfy experts, what of it?
-Jeanne Madeline Weimann (1981)


Maranzani, Barbara. "7 Things You May Not Know About the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair." A&E Television Networks, 01 May 2013. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Novak, Matt. "Where the Future Came From: A Trip Through the 1893 Chicago World's Fair." Paleofuture. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

Sigur, Hannah. "Join & Share Your Research with the World." A New Look at The World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

"The Soap Box." : 20 Interesting Things About The World's Columbian Exposition. N.p., 22 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.

"History Files - The World's Columbian Exhibition." History Files - The World's Columbian Exhibition. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.