The Columbian Exposition

Chicago and the Giant Magnet

"The City's Beautiful movement which changed Chicago forever"

The Columbian Exposition had a great, long lasting effect on Chicago and its people. It unified many Americans, had an influence on many cultures, and boosted the city's national image. It paved the path for a new era of architecture and the arts, and it signified Chicago's national achievments, and cultural outburst. It also provided Chicago with a growing commercial, gave it widespread fame, and allowed Chicago to become a giant magnet, drawing itself to all the hopeful people. The Columbian Exposition stood as a symbol telling the world America's coming of age, and Chicago was first in line.

Welcome To The Fair

The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893. It was the last and the greatest of the nineteenth century's World's Fairs. The Fair was immensely popular, drawing over 26 million visitors, and people traveled all over the world to come and see it. The World's Columbian Exposition was a very influential and popular social and cultural event, and anyone who saw it was amazed.

"The greatest cultural and entertainment event in the history of the world." (1996)

The Fair was organized and directed by Daniel H. Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, and George R. Davis. The goal of the Fair was unity, the assertion of culture and education, and to show the world America's progress since the 400 years that Columbus landed in America. They wanted to show the World that America and Chicago could advance like the rest of the world. It also paved the way of a new era of architecture and technology.
People that attended the fair were from all over the world. When people came to the fair they would see the famous Ferris Wheel and the 14 buildings that were made especially for the fair. Some of the buildings were The Administration Building, The Agricultural Building, The Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, The Woman's Building, The Mines and Minning Building, The Electricity Building, The Machinery Building and many more. In each building people could see the latest trends in inventions, and many popular products today made their debut at the fair, including Juicy Fruit gum, and Aunt Jemima syrup. Another popular part of the fair was the Midway Plaisance, which was an amusement park. It included rides, musicians, refreshments, a zoo, a swimming pool, and a hot-air balloon ride. The fair was also very clean, had well-behaved visitors, and was very beautiful.
The fair was very successful in achieving its goals and boosting the city's national image. The fair drew in 26 million people from all over the world, and America's population from 1890-1900 increased by 13 million people. The fair's beauty was talked about over and over again in journals and letters, and many people loved the architecture and landscaping. The Midway Plaisance was also very popular with the people and it drew in over 4 million dollars in revenue, and the fair also earned back 28 million from everyone who attended. The fair also showed the world the world many different cultures and unified Americans. It not only showed the world America's advancements since Columbus landed in America, but it also paved a path for a new era of architecture, culture, and technology.

"I am puzzled to understand the final impression left on the average to the inward meaning of this dream of beauty. Of course, I don't understand it, but then I don't understand anything... "--Henry Adams,October 18, 1893

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The Midway Plaisance

"There are some people who are letting the chance of seeing this White City, that rose like a Venus from the waters of Lake Michigan, slip from them forever. They are missing the greatest event in the history of the country since the Civil War."--Richard Harding Davis, 1893

The fair affected and still affects Chicago today. It had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation and Chicago's self image, and it was a symbol showing the rest of the world Chicago's growth and cultural outburst. Before the fair Chicago was a bustling but gritty city, waiting to show of its potential.

The fair gave Chicago a chance to show the world its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire, and its advancements in technology. The buildings, the architecture, and the landscape were all used to show people that Chicago can and did recover from the fire. Chicago's growth due to the fair was very inspirational and surprising to many, and it showed people that Chicago was ready to be seen by the wold.

The fair paved the way for some of Chicago's most visited buildings, and changed the face of architecture. Some of these buildings include the Public Library, the Art Institute, the Newberry Library, the University of Chicago, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

It forever changed the face of Chicago, and to many, it was Chicago's coming of age The World's Columbian Exposition was a pivot point in Chicago's history. It marked its presence, made people notice Chicago, and caused Chicago to leave it's mark on the world that no-one will forget

The World's Columbian Exposition is recognized today as one of the defining moments of American cultural history. It was a blueprint for American life, and a reflection on culture and society. America and especially Chicago wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for the fair.

Works Cited

“Columbian Exposition.” UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Sonia Benson, Daniel E. Brannen, Jr., and Rebecca Valentine. Vol. 2. Detroit: UXL, 2009. 354-357. Student Resourced in Contect. Web. 17 Dec. 2013.

"Johnston (Frances Benjamin) Collection." [Exposition Grounds, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago]. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

"Miscellaneous Items in High Demand." Midway Plaisance and Balloon, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Ill. N.p., 1893. Web. 02 Jan. 2014.

"Palace of Mechanic Arts, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Ill." Palace of Mechanic Arts, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Ill. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

Rose, Julie K. "World's Columbian Exposition: Introduction." World's Columbian Exposition: Introduction. N.p., 1996. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

Rose, Julie K. "World's Columbian Exposition: The Legacy of the Fair." World's Columbian Exposition: The Legacy of the Fair. N.p., 1996. Web. 02 Jan. 2014.

"The World's Columbian Exposition (1893)." PBS. The American Experience, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

"The World's Columbian Exposition (1893)." Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

“World’s Columbian Exposition Opens, May, 1893-October, 1893.” DISCovering U.S. History. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 17 Dec. 2013

"World' Fair (1878-1899)." American Eras. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Student Resources in Context. Web. 10 Jan. 2014