The World's Columbian Exposition

and How It Has Affected Chicago

The Effects of the World's Columbian Exposition

The World' s Columbian Exposition is still extremely relevant to Chicago and its citizens because of its influence in architecture, the status boost it gave the city, and the attention Chicago received economically and socially.


Chicago's Architecture

The modern day skyscraper was invented by Daniel H. Burnham and John Wellborn Root in Chicago, and Burnham designed the city's layout in 1909. Burnham and Root were partners in one of the most renowned architecture firms and were charged with the design and execution of the World's Columbian Exposition. After Root died Burnham took over as chief architect of the fair. Without these men and their success with the fair, our style of architecture and the amazing skyscrapers that have made Chicago famous would not exist.



Chicago's Status Gets Boosted

Chicago received a boost in status due to the world's largest fair to date being placed there. It showed that the nation supported Chicago and believed it had potential, giving the people new faith in their city. By putting the fair in Chicago it brought thousands of people to the city, boosting population and need for luxurious goods and services. Chicago was no longer just a hub for manufacturing and the lower middle class, but a grand metropolitan city. Chicago has kept this status for over a century.


Chicago is Under the World's Spotlight

People from all over the world came to see the amazing sights at the World's Columbian Exposition. The first elevated line was created to transport people to the fair from the hotels in Englewood and other neighborhoods that became popular places for the rich to move because of their proximity to the fair. The fair brought much needed economic opportunities to Chicago. It boosted the economy to a new level by creating thousands of jobs and bringing tourists to the city that otherwise would probably not have come. Chicago was a city full of crime and filth, but the fair was a beautiful white haven that showed what Chicago could become. It gave people new faith in Chicago and allowed the city to improve itself, which it did.


Famous Inventions

Several inventions we know and love were introduced at the World's Columbian Exposition. These include shredded wheat, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, the Ferris Wheel, cream of wheat, and Juicy Fruit gum.


Disney's Inspiration

Walt Disney's father worked on building the World's Columbian Exposition and it is believed that he based his theme park, Disney World, after the fair. The fair was seen as what the world should be like, and he took it and transformed it into the most magical place on earth.


Quotes from the Fair

"The Manufactures Building is greater than the whole exposition at Philadelphia. (1876) About the top of the dome of one building the walk is an even half mile. I saw an engine which I thought was about the size of the great one at the centennial. I was told that it was of about 300 horse power greater. I was dazed at the magnitude of the building and at the marvelous variety of odd, instructive, and beautiful articles on exhibition."

-A. B. Humphrey June 26, 1893-


"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 and the best obtainable results of all the efforts put forth by all

the people who have in any manner contributed to its consideration."

-Fair Director General Davis May 1, 1893 excerpt, fair opening speech-

Recent Quotes About the Fair

"For women painters, women sculptors, and women architects and interior designers, the opportunity to exhibit to large national and international audiences was unprecedented, and the exhibition records read like a "Who's Who" of late-nineteenth century women artists, ranging from major artists like American expatriate Mary Cassatt and other women artists with established reputations in Europe to women artists with more local or regional reputations in the U.S." - K.L. Nichols


"Other critical voices were heard from women activists lamenting the exclusive image of bourgeois femininity promulgated by the Women's Building and other exhibits (source). Racial minority groups pointed out how "white," in terms of race, the "White City" really was, but the Exposition organizers could provide no satisfactory answer to Ida B. Wells' question: "Why are not the colored people, who constitute so large an element of the American population, and who have contributed so large a share to American greatness, -- more visibly present and better represented in this World's Exposition?". Many working-class people and social reformers objected to the upper middle-class elitism of the Exposition in contrast to the urban problems of the inner city."- K.L. Nichols

Works Cited

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"Architect Daniel H. Burnham Was Born." Architect Daniel H. Burnham Was Born. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


[Exposition Grounds, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago]. N.d. Photograph. Library of Congress, Chicago. [Exposition Grounds, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago]. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


[Four Boys Posed at World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago]. N.d. Photograph. Library of Congress, Chicago. [Four Boys Posed at World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago]. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


"History Files - The World's Columbian Exhibition." History Files - The World's Columbian Exhibition. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.


"The Java Village Midway Plaisance. World's Columbian Exposition ... [Chicago? Ill., 1893]." The Java Village Midway Plaisance. World's Columbian Exposition ... [Chicago? Ill., 1893]. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. New York: Vintage, 2003. BookRags.com | Study Guides, Lesson Plans, Book Summaries and More. Vintage; Random House Inc., 10 Feb. 2004. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.


Nichols, K. L. "The White City: 1893 World's Exposition." The White City: 1893 World's Exposition. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


"Voices From The 1893 Chicago World's Fair." Voices From The 1893 Chicago World's Fair. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


"The World at the Fair | Overview of the Exposition." The World At The Fair. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois, 1893. N.d. Photograph. Library of Congress, Chicago. World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois, 1893. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.


The World's Fair, East [i.e. West] Entrance to Manufacturer's Building. N.d. Photograph. Library of Congress, Chicago. The World's Fair, East [i.e. West] Entrance to Manufacturer's Building. Web. 08 Jan. 2014.