Louisiana Purchase Exposition
|EXPO St. Louis 1904|
The Government Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
|Name||Louisiana Purchase Exposition|
|Area||1,270 acres (510 ha)|
|Opening||April 30, 1904|
|Closure||December 1, 1904|
|Previous||Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris|
|Next||Liège International (1905) in Liège|
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, from April 30 to December 1, 1904. Local, state, and federal funds totaling $15 million were used to finance the event. More than 60 countries and 43 of the 45 American states maintained exhibition spaces at the fair, which was attended by nearly 19.7 million people.
Historians generally emphasize the prominence of themes of race and empire, and the fair's long-lasting impact on intellectuals in the fields of history, art history, architecture and anthropology. From the point of view of the memory of the average person who attended the fair, it primarily promoted entertainment, consumer goods and popular culture.
- 1 Background
- 2 Architects
- 3 Board of Commissioners
- 4 Legacy
- 5 1904 Summer Olympics
- 6 Bullfight riot
- 7 Anglo-Boer War Concession
- 8 Notable visitors
- 9 See also
- 10 Footnotes
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
In 1904, St. Louis hosted a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The idea for such a commemorative event seems to have emerged early in 1898, with Kansas City and St. Louis initially presented as potential hosts for a fair based on their central location within the territory encompassed by the 1803 land annexation.
The exhibition was grand in scale and lengthy in preparation, with an initial $5 million committed by the city of St. Louis through the sale of city bonds was authorized by the Missouri state legislature in April 1899. An additional $5 million was generated through private donations by interested citizens and businesses from around Missouri, a fundraising target reached in January 1901. The final installment of $5 million of the exposition's $15 million capitalization came in the form of earmarked funds that were part of a congressional appropriations bill passed at the end of May 1900. The fundraising mission was aided by the active support of President of the United States William McKinley, which was won by organizers in a February 1899 White House visit.
While initially conceived as a centennial celebration to be held in 1903, the actual opening of the St. Louis exposition was delayed until April 30, 1904, to allow for full-scale participation by more states and foreign countries. The exposition remained in operation from its opening until December 1, 1904. During the year of the fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition supplanted the annual St. Louis Exposition of agricultural, trade, and scientific exhibitions which had been held in the city since the 1880s.
The fair's 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) site, designed by George Kessler, was located at the present-day grounds of Forest Park and on the campus of Washington University, and was the largest fair (in area) to date. There were over 1,500 buildings, connected by some 75 miles (121 km) of roads and walkways. It was said to be impossible to give even a hurried glance at everything in less than a week. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered some 20 acres (81,000 m2).
Exhibits were staged by approximately 50 foreign nations, the United States government, and 43 of the then-45 U.S. states. These featured industries, cities, private organizations and corporations, theater troupes, and music schools. There were also over 50 concession-type amusements found on "The Pike"; they provided educational and scientific displays, exhibits and imaginary 'travel' to distant lands, history and local boosterism (including Louis Wollbrinck's "Old St. Louis") and pure entertainment.
Over nineteen million (19,694,855, to be precise) individuals were in attendance at the fair.
In conjunction with the Exposition the U.S. Post Office issued a series of five commemorative stamps celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. The 1-cent value portrayed Robert Livingston, the ambassador who negotiated the purchase with France, the 2-cent value depicts Thomas Jefferson, who executed the purchase, the 3-cent honors James Monroe, who participated in negotiations with the French, the 5-cent memorializes William McKinley, who was involved with early plans for the Exposition and the 10-cent presents a map of the Louisiana Purchase.
Kessler, who designed many urban parks in Texas and the Midwest, created the master design for the Fair.
A popular myth says that Frederick Law Olmsted, who had died the year before the Fair, designed the park and fair grounds. There are several reasons for this confusion. First, Kessler in his twenties had worked briefly for Olmsted as a Central Park gardener. Second, Olmsted was involved with Forest Park in Queens, New York. Third, Olmsted had planned the renovations in 1897 to the Missouri Botanical Garden several blocks to the southeast of the park. Finally, Olmsted's sons advised Washington University on integrating the campus with the park across the street.
In 1901 the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Corporation selected prominent St. Louis architect Isaac S. Taylor as the Chairman of the Architectural Commission and Director of Works for the fair, supervising the overall design and construction. Taylor quickly appointed Emmanuel Louis Masqueray to be his Chief of Design. In the position for three years, Masqueray designed the following Fair buildings: Palace of Agriculture, the Cascades and Colonnades, Palace of Forestry, Fish, and Game, Palace of Horticulture and Palace of Transportation, all of which were widely emulated in civic projects across the United States as part of the City Beautiful movement. Masqueray resigned shortly after the Fair opened in 1904, having been invited by Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, Minnesota to design a new cathedral for the city.
According to a claim in a 1923 edition of The Colored Citizen of Pensacola, Florida, the majority of work in building the fair was done by African Americans, including all the engineering calculations for the layout of the park. Many African Americans contributed to architecture design, but were not credited.
Board of Commissioners
Florence Hayward, a successful freelance writer in St. Louis in the 1900s was determined to play a role in the World's Fair. She negotiated a position on the otherwise all-male Board of Commissioners. Hayward learned that one of the potential contractors for the fair was not reputable and warned the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company (LPEC). In exchange for this information, she requested an appointment as roving commissioner to Europe.
Former Mayor of St. Louis and Governor of Missouri David R. Francis, LPEC president, made the appointment and allowed Hayward to travel overseas to promote the fair, especially to women. The fair also had a Board of Lady Managers (BLM) who felt they had jurisdiction over women's activities at the fair and objected to Hayward's appointment without their knowledge. Despite this, Hayward set out for England in 1902. Hayward's most notable contribution to the fair was acquiring gifts Queen Victoria received for her Golden Jubilee and other historical items, including manuscripts from the Vatican. These items were all to be shown in exhibits at the fair.
Pleased with her success in Europe, Francis put her in charge of historical exhibits in the anthropology division, which had originally been assigned to Pierre Chouteau III. Despite being the only woman on the Board of Commissioners, creating successful anthropological exhibits, publicizing the fair, and acquiring significant exhibit items, Hayward's role in the fair was not acknowledged. When Francis published a history of the fair in 1913, he did not mention Hayward's contributions and she never forgave the slight.
As many people were curious about this up and coming city, many reporters and photographs attended the World Fair to document and understand the city. What they found was nothing like anyone else could have imagined. Still as a relatively new city, the streets were buzzing with activity, with many of its citizens constantly on the "go" and the streets "crowded with activity". It is recorded that, at this time, St. Louis had more energy in its streets than any other Northern Street did.
With more and more people interested in the city, St. Louis government and architects were primarily concerned with their ports and access to the city. Though transportation by water had always been important to the city (St. Louis had originated as a trading post), it was becoming even more important that the port be open, but efficient for all visitors. It also needed to show off some of the city's flair and excitement, which is why in many photographs one sees photos of St. Louis' skyscrapers in the background. In addition to a functioning port, the Eads bridge was constructed, which was considered one of St. Louis' "sights". 1627 feet long, it connected Missouri and Illinois.
As with the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, all but one of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition's grand, neo-Classical exhibition palaces were temporary structures, designed to last but a year or two. They were built with a material called "staff," a mixture of plaster of Paris and hemp fibers, on a wood frame. As at the Chicago world's fair, buildings and statues deteriorated during the months of the Fair, and had to be patched.
The Palace of Fine Art, designed by architect Cass Gilbert, featured a grand interior sculpture court based on the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Standing at the top of Art Hill, it now serves as the home of the St. Louis Art Museum.
The Administration Building, designed by Cope & Stewardson, is now Brookings Hall, the defining landmark on the campus of Washington University. A similar building was erected at Northwest Missouri State University founded in 1905 in Maryville, Missouri. The grounds' layout was also recreated in Maryville and now is designated as the official Missouri State Arboretum.
Some mansions from the Exposition's era survive along Lindell Boulevard at the north border of Forest Park.
The huge bird cage at the Saint Louis Zoological Park, dates to the fair. A Jain temple carved out of teak stood within the Indian Pavilion near the Ferris Wheel. It was dismantled after the exhibition and was reconstructed in Las Vegas at the Castaways hotel. It has recently been reassembled and is now on display at the Jain Center of Southern California at Los Angeles. Birmingham, Alabama's iconic cast iron Vulcan statue was first exhibited at the Fair in the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy.
The Missouri State building was the largest of the state buildings, as Missouri was the host state. Though it had sections with marble floors and heating and air conditioning, it was planned to be a temporary structure. However, it burned the night of November 18–19, just eleven days before the Fair was to end. Most of the interior was destroyed, but some contents were rescued without damage, including some furniture and much of the contents of the fair's Model Library. Since the fair was almost over, the building was not rebuilt. After the fair, the current World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park was built on the site of the Missouri building with profits from the fair in 1909–10.
Festival Hall, designed by Cass Gilbert and used for large-scale musical pageants, contained the largest organ in the world at the time, built by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company. After the fair, it was placed into storage, and eventually purchased by John Wanamaker for his new Wanamaker's store in Philadelphia where it became known as the Wanamaker Organ. The famous Bronze Eagle in the Wanamaker Store also came from the Fair. It features hundreds of hand-forged bronze feathers and was the centerpiece of one of the many German exhibits at the fair. Wanamaker's became a Lord & Taylor store and more recently, a Macy's store.
Completed in 1913, the Jefferson Memorial building was built near the main entrance to the Exposition, at Lindell and DeBalivere. It was built with proceeds from the fair, to commemorate Thomas Jefferson, who initiated the Louisiana Purchase, as was the first memorial to the third President. It became the headquarters of the Missouri History Museum, and stored the Exposition's records and archives when the Louisiana Purchase Exposition company completed its mission. The building is now home to the Missouri History Museum, and the museum was significantly expanded in 2002–3.
The State of Maine Building, which was a rustic cabin, was transported to Point Lookout, Missouri where it overlooked the White River by sportsmen who formed the Maine Hunting and Fishing Club. In 1915, when the main building at the College of the Ozarks in Forsyth, Missouri burned, the school relocated to Point Lookout, where the Maine building was renamed the Dobyns Building in honor of a school president. The Dobyns Building burned in 1930 and the college's signature church was built in its place. In 2004, a replica of the Maine building was built on the campus. The Keeter Center is named for another school president.
The observation tower erected by the American DeForest Wireless Telegraph Company was purchased by Charles N. Rix, a banker from Hot Springs, Arkansas, who moved it to the summit of Hot Springs Mountain. Renamed the Rix Tower, it reopened to the public on its new location in 1906. Dismantling and reassembling the tower, however, proved to be its worst enemy (it had previously been moved once before, to St. Louis from Buffalo, New York); it was eventually demolished in 1975 due to instability almost certainly caused by being relocated twice. A more modern tower would later be built on the site in 1983.
Introduction of new foods
A number of foods are claimed to have been invented at the fair. The most popular claim is that the waffle-style ice cream cone was invented and first sold during the fair. However, it is widely believed that it was not invented at the Fair, but instead, it was popularized at the Fair. Other claims are more dubious, including the hamburger and hot dog (both traditional American foods), peanut butter, iced tea, and cotton candy. It is more likely, however, that these food items were first introduced to mass audiences and popularized by the fair. Dr Pepper and Puffed Wheat cereal were first introduced to a national audience at the fair.
Influence on popular music
The fair inspired the song "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis", which was recorded by many artists, including Billy Murray. Both the fair and the song are focal points of the 1944 feature film Meet Me in St. Louis starring Judy Garland, which also inspired a Broadway musical version. Scott Joplin wrote the rag "Cascades" in honor of the elaborate waterfalls in front of Festival Hall.
People on display
Following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired new territories such as Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Some natives from these areas were brought to be on "display" at the fair. Such displays included the Apache of the American Southwest and the Igorot of the Philippines, both of which peoples were dubbed as "primitive". Similarly, members of the Southeast Alaskan Tlingit tribe accompanied fourteen totem poles, two Native houses, and a canoe displayed at the Alaska Exhibit.
Ota Benga, a Congolese Pygmy, was featured at the fair. Later he was given the run of the grounds at the Bronx Zoo in New York, then featured in an exhibit on evolution alongside an orangutan in 1906, but public protest ended that.
One exhibit of note was Beautiful Jim Key, the "educated" Arabian-Hambletonian cross horse in his Silver Horseshoe Pavilion. He was owned by Dr. William Key, an African-American/Native American former slave, who became a respected self-taught veterinarian, and promoted by Albert R. Rogers, who had Jim and Dr. Key on tour for years around the US, helping to establish a humane movement that encouraged people to think of animals as having feelings and thoughts, and not just "brutes." Jim and Dr. Key became national celebrities along the way. Rogers invented highly successful marketing strategies still in use today. Jim Key could add, subtract, use a cash register, spell with blocks, tell time and give opinions on the politics of the day by shaking his head yes or no. Jim thoroughly enjoyed his "act"—he performed more than just tricks and appeared to clearly understand what was going on. Dr. Key's motto was that Jim "was taught by kindness" instead of the whip, which he was indeed.
After the fair was completed, many of the international exhibits were not returned to their country of origin, but were dispersed to museums in the United States. For example, the Philippine exhibits were acquired by the Museum of Natural History at the University of Iowa. The Vulcan statue is today a prominent feature of the Vulcan Park and Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, where it was originally cast.
1904 Summer Olympics
The Fair hosted the 1904 Summer Olympic Games, the first Olympics held in the United States. These games had originally been awarded to Chicago, but when St. Louis threatened to hold a rival international competition, the games were relocated. Nonetheless, the sporting events, spread out over several months, were overshadowed by the Fair. With travel expenses high, many European athletes did not come, nor did modern Olympics founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
On June 5, 1904, a bullfight scheduled for an arena just north of the fairgrounds, in conjunction with the fair, turned violent when Missouri governor Alexander Monroe Dockery ordered police to halt the fight in light of Missouri's anti-bullfighting laws. Disgruntled spectators demanded refunds, and when they were turned away, they began throwing stones through the windows of the arena office. While police protected the office, they did not have sufficient numbers to protect the arena, which was burned to the ground by the mob. The exposition fire department responded to the fire, but disruption to the fair was minimal, as the riot took place on a Sunday, when the fair was closed.
Anglo-Boer War Concession
Frank Fillis produced what was supposedly "the greatest and most realistic military spectacle known in the history of the world". Different portions of the concession featured a British Army encampment, several South African native villages (including Zulu, San, Swazi, and Ndebele) and a 15-acre (61,000 m2) arena in which soldiers paraded, sporting events and horse races were held and major battles from the Second Boer War were re-enacted twice a day. Battle recreations took 2–3 hours and included several Generals and 600 veteran soldiers from both sides of the war. At the conclusion of the show, the Boer General Christiaan de Wet would escape on horseback by leaping from a height of 35 feet (11 m) into a pool of water.
Admission ranged from 25 cents for bleacher seats to one dollar for box seats, and admission to the villages was another 25 cents. The concession cost $48,000 to construct, grossed over $630,000, and netted about $113,000 to the fair—the highest-grossing military concession of the fair.
Attendees included John Philip Sousa, whose band performed on opening day and several times during the fair. Thomas Edison is claimed to have attended. President Theodore Roosevelt opened the fair via telegraph, but did not attend personally until after the election in November 1904, as he claimed he did not want to use the fair for political purposes.
Jelly Roll Morton did not visit, stating in his later Library of Congress interview and recordings that he expected jazz pianist Tony Jackson would attend and win a jazz piano competition at the Exposition. Morton said he was "quite disgusted" to later learn that Jackson hadn't gone either, and that the competition had been won instead by Alfred Wilson; Morton considered himself a better pianist than Wilson.
The poet T. S. Eliot, who was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, visited the Igorot Village held in the Philippine Exposition section of the St. Louis World's Fair. Several months after the closing of the World's Fair, he published a short story entitled "The Man Who Was King" in the school magazine of Smith Academy, St. Louis, Missouri that he was attending. Inspired by the ganza dance which the Igorot people presented regularly in the Village and their reaction to civilization, the poet explored the interaction of a white man with an island culture. Interestingly, all this predates the poet's delving into the anthropological studies during his Harvard graduate years.
Jack Daniel, the American distiller and the founder of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey distillery, entered his Tennessee whiskey into the World's Fair whiskey competition. After four hours of deliberation, the eight judges awarded Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey the Gold Medal for the finest whiskey in the world. The award was a boon for the Jack Daniel's distillery.
Novelist Kate Chopin lived nearby and purchased a season ticket to the fair. After her visit on the hot day of August 20, she suffered a brain hemorrhage and died two days later, on August 22, 1904.
Philadelphia mercantilist, John Wanamaker, visited the exposition in November 1904 and purchased an entire collection of German furniture which included the giant jugenstil brass sculpture of an eagle that he would display in the rotunda of his Wananmaker's department store in Philadelphia. He also purchased the organ from the fair, which at the time was the biggest concert organ in the world.
Benedictine monk, artist and museum founder, Fr. Gregory Gerrer, OSB exhibited his recent portrait of Pope Pius X at the fair. Following the fair, Gerrer brought the painting to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where it is now on display at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.
John McCormack, Irish tenor, was brought to the fair by James A. Reardon, who was in charge of the Irish Exhibit.September issue 1999 of the Yellow Jacket http://gr-gs.org/
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louisiana Purchase Exposition.|
- 1904 Summer Olympics
- Central West End, St. Louis
- Forest Park
- Human zoo
- Meet Me in St. Louis
- Ota Benga, Congolese man put on display in the Bronx Zoo
- Owney (dog)
- Saint Louis Exposition (1884)
- St. Louis, Missouri
- University City, Missouri
- World's Largest Cedar Bucket
- List of world expositions
- List of world's fairs
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- "It Was Passed: Sundry Civil Bill Carried Through: Funds for the St. Louis Exposition," Weekly Oregon Statesman, June 1, 1900, pg. 1.
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- Ludwig M. Lachmann (1970). The Legacy of Max Weber. Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-61016-072-8. Retrieved 22 March 2011
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- Bennitt, Mark and Frank Parker Stockbridge, eds. History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, MO: Universal Exposition Publishing Company, 1905.
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- Narita, Tatsushi. T. S. Eliot, The World Fair of St. Louis and 'Autonomy'. Published for NCCF-Japan. Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan, 2013.
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- Parezo, Nancy J. and Don D. Fowler, Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louisiana Purchase Exposition.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Louisiana Purchase Exposition.|
- Online Exhibition by the Missouri Historical Society
- Louisiana Purchase Exposition collection at the University of Delaware Library
- An Edison company film of the Asia pavilion, at the Library of Congress
- History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
- Final Report of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission at gutenberg
- 5/7/1904;The Opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
- The effect of the fair on Washington University
- Arthur Younger Ford (1861–1926) Photograph Albums (University of Louisville Photographic Archives) – includes 69 photos taken at the fair.
- The Louisiana Purchase Exposition: The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair from the University of Missouri Digital Library – scanned copies of nearly 50 books, pamphlets, and other related material from and about the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair) including issues of the World's Fair Bulletin from June 1901 through the close of the Fair in December 1904.
- "Louisiana Purchase Exposition". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.