PLANNING AND GOALS FOR
THE 1904 ST. LOUIS WORLD'S FAIR
The Exposition of the St. Louis World's Fair closed at midnight, December 1, 1904. The Governor of Missouri declared the day a special holiday. Schools were closed and every business that could closed also. The day, December 1, 1904, had been declared "Francis Day" to honor
David R. Francis, the President of the Exposition of the St. Louis World's Fair. It was planned to be a merry day, but yet it was a sad day.
On December 1, 1904, President Francis came to the Fair's entrance gates. Special escorts were waiting to accompanied him. A reception was held in the afternoon for him and special guests. Later that night the group attended a banquet.
After a long day, President Francis and his group drove down the mile long center area of The Pike. It was a few minutes before midnight when he arrived at the Plaza of St. Louis, located near the Louisiana Purchase Monument. Crowds of people gathered around his private coach car. Colored lights had been strung and shined brightly throughout the area. The crowd began applauding. Francis looked at lights and said, " I am about to perform a heart-rending duty". He "wished they might live forever" and then began thanking everyone.
"Farewell, a long farewell to all thy splendor", Francis said to the crowd. Suddenly total darkness covered the Fair Grounds when Francis threw the switch that ended the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. A band could be heard playing the song "Auld Lang Syne." Then the area became bright with fireworks. The words, "Farewell" and "Good Night" were spelled out in bright colors against a wall and the profile of President Francis' face blazed on another wall. The Fair was over!
People remembered when the thoughts of celebrating the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase began. The goal was to help make good things happen in St. Louis because the city was growing. The idea of the Fair began in early 1899 when David R. Francis, business man and politician, spoke to a group about planning such an event. The idea grew and in April, 1901, the group incorporated as a business and called itself the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company. The company elected David R. Francis as president. By June, 1901, the company selected the western part of Forest Park as the site for the Fair. Forest Park was a great site because it was located near one of the nicest and growing areas of St. Louis.
Another big project for the company was to collect money to make the Fair happen. The United States Government, St. Louis City Government, and private citizens of St. Louis raised the money. The Fair was going to happen.
August 21, 1901, the President of the United States, William McKinley issued a proclamation inviting "All the nations of the earth" to participated. The Fair was planned to open in May, 1903.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company celebrated when the first stake was driven in the ground on September 3, 1901. The building of the Fair began. By October, 1901, workmen were living and working in Forest Park. The workers reshaped lakes and the River des Peres, cut trees and moved earth to reshape the land. Soon the company realized they needed more land because the Fair was growing so they leased additional land west and north of Forest Park. The Fair site almost doubled in size. The new area included the entire new campus of Washington University. The Brookings Hall university building became the administration site of the Fair. The Fair grounds would now be 1275 acres in size, the largest of any fair ever held.
The company wanted the Fair to be different. Foreign countries and national business corporations would have exhibits. Products made throughout the world would be displayed with their production process. But, all this took more time than planned, so the opening date was moved to April 30, 1904.
Then on April 30, 1904, United States President Theodore Roosevelt opened the St. Louis World's Fair by pressing a telegraph key in the East Room of the White House. William H. Taft, United States Secretary of War, gave an opening speech.
David R. Francis told the opening crowd, "Open ye gates! Swing wide ye portals! Enter herein ye sons of men. Learn the lessons here taught and gather from it inspiration for still greater accomplishments!"
The opening ceremonies took place in the Plaza of St. Louis. A chorus of four hundred sang "Hymn of the West" accompanied by John Phillip Sousa's famous band.
People from all over the world came to St. Louis. They came in the hot days of summer and the cool days of fall. The Fair became one of the most exciting times in the history of St. Louis because of its success and grandeur.
PLANNING AND GOALS FOR
THE 2004 CELEBRATION
St. Louis has changed greatly since 1904. In 1999, when people say they live in St. Louis, they may actually live in the Greater St. Louis Area. This region is much larger than the St. Louis City limits. The region crosses over two rivers, Missouri and the Mississippi. The population is about 2.5 million people. Adults live and work within a circumference of 70 miles around the St. Louis Arch. The region takes in 12 counties. From the state of Illinois the counties are: Clinton, Jersey, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair. From the state of Missouri the counties are: Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Warren. These counties have joined together to seek a better future for all.
The St. Louis region wants to continue to celebrate the fourth year of each new century and wants future generations to do the same.
1804 The St. Louis region celebrated the Louisiana Purchase.
1904 The St. Louis region celebrated with the St. Louis World's Fair and Olympics
2004 The St. Louis region will celebrate the accomplishments of St. Louis 2004.
3004 The St. Louis region's new generation will continue the traditions
The St. Louis region wants America to be aware of the quality of life in seven key areas: citizenship, culture, environment, health, learning, work, and citizens volunteering their time and efforts. St. Louis is inviting the world to its region in 2004 so that everyone can be aware of its success.
The St. Louis 2004 Board Members is made up of volunteers from all groups of society. The board is lead by former Missouri Senator John Danforth. Six action teams, 29 task force committees and more than 1,200 volunteers are volunteering to work. They are all working on programs, actions and projects that can improve St. Louis.
One of the projects that really interest our team was the "Regional Park and Greenway System". This project will have inter linking greenways and biking/walking paths that connect our rivers, parks and neighborhoods. This project will make it possible for people to see our natural environment. The project will also help create business and bring tourist to the St. Louis region.
Stan Musial, a former famous St. Louis Cardinal baseball player, is heading a project called "St. Louis Heroes". The project's goal is to recruit people to become members of the "St. Louis Heroes". They can do this by making a contribution of money to help the region celebrate in 2004.
Senator John Danforth said "The history of our region is rich with stories of people who have made a difference in our community."
You can make a contribution by contacting Saint Louis Heroes, Post Office Box 16656, St. Louis, Missouri 63105.