The Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893
This big ferris wheel was the main
attraction of the Columbian Exposition.
You have never been to an anniversary
party this huge. The Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893
commemorated the four hundredth anniversary of
Christopher Columbus arriving in America. For over six
months the fair was up and running, and over 27 million
people came to visit -- about half the US population of
Imagine seeing a pyramid 38 feet high,
30,000 pounds of pure chocolate, or working beehives.
These were some of the exhibits you would have found at
the fair. You would have seen a booth with wool, dairy
cows, and a 22,000 pound piece of Canadian cheese. There
was also a huge ferris wheel that could carry 2,000
people at a time.
Another notable exhibit was the
Anthropology booth. This showed wigwams and skin tents
that the Chippawa and Eskimos would live in. It showed
the Iroquois' long house and artifacts from Navajo,
Apache, Cree, and many other cultures.
The Fine Arts exhibit was
extraordinary. A gold medal was awarded to Winslow
Homer's painting, A Great Gale, and there was a chapel of
glass mosaic by Louis C. Tiffany. There was also
architecture on exhibit from many countries of the
The newest scientific inventions were
shown at the fair, and nations from all around the world
displayed exhibits and sent people in native costumes.
Artists and architects designed huge fairgrounds on the
south side. They made snow white buildings that looked
like those from ancient Rome and Greece. They planted
beautiful flower gardens to decorate the fair.
Many famous people came to visit the
Fair, including Jane Addams, Frederick Douglass, Scott
Joplin, and many, many others. Everyone enjoyed the
exhibits and entertainment.
This fair wasn't just to commemorate
Columbus' arrival in America, but also to celebrate
American culture. The fair was the
end to a half century of quick change. In 1834 Chicago
was only a muddy, dirty, trading post. Less then 60 years
later it was one of the greatest cities in the world --
and the Chicago Columbian Exposition was the perfect way
to show it off!