Louisiana Purchase Exposition

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
EXPO St. Louis 1904
Louisiana Purchase Exposition St. Louis 1904.jpg
The Government Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
BIE-class Universal exposition
Category Historical Expo
Name Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Area Lua error in Module:Convert at line 272: attempt to index local 'cat' (a nil value).
Visitors 19,694,855
Countries 63
Country United States
City St. Louis
Venue Forest Park
Coordinates Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
Opening April 30, 1904 (1904-04-30)
Closure December 1, 1904 (1904-12-01)
Universal expositions
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, in 1904. 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]


Map of the St. Louis World's Fair

In 1904, St. Louis hosted a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. It was delayed from a planned opening in 1903 to 1904, to allow for full-scale participation by more states and foreign countries. The Fair opened April 30, 1904, and closed December 1, 1904. St. Louis had held an annual St. Louis Exposition since the 1880s as agricultural, trade, and scientific exhibitions, but this event was not held in 1904, due to the World's Fair.

The Fair's 1,200 acre (4.9 km²) site, designed by George Kessler,[2] 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 (120 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 (324,000 m²).

Exhibits were staged by 62 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.

19,694,855 individuals were in attendance at the fair.[3]

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.


Festival Hall

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.[4] 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.[4]

Paul J. Pelz was architect for the Palace of Machinery.[5]

According to a claim in a 1923 number of "The Colored Citizen" (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.[6]



East Lagoon, statue of Saint Louis, Palaces of Education and Manufacture, and wireless telegraph tower.

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.

Entrance to the exhibit "Creation" on the Pike, a spectacle portraying the first 6 days in the Book of Genesis. This exhibit was dismantled and moved to Coney Island's Dreamland amusement park at the end of the fair.[7]

Some mansions from the Exposition's era survive along Lindell Boulevard at the north border of Forest Park.

Flight Cage (Aviary)

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.

The organ's six–manual console

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.[8][9]

The relocated wireless telegraph tower in Arkansas during the 1920s

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.[citation needed]

Westinghouse Electric sponsored the Westinghouse Auditorium, where they showed films of Westinghouse factories and products.[10]

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.[11][12] Other claims are more dubious, including the hamburger and hot dog (both traditional American foods), peanut butter, iced tea,[13] 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".[14] Similarly, members of the Southeast Alaskan Tlingit tribe accompanied fourteen totem poles, two Native houses, and a canoe displayed at the Alaska Exhibit.[15]

In contrast, the Japan pavilion advanced the idea of a modern yet exotic culture unfamiliar to the turn-of-the-century Western world,[14] much as it had during the earlier Chicago World's Fair.[16]

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.[17]


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.

The Smithsonian Institution coordinated the U.S. government exhibits. It featured a blue whale, the first full-cast of a blue whale ever created.[18]

1904 Summer Olympics

<templatestyles src="Module:Hatnote/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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,[19] 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.

Bullfight riot

<templatestyles src="Module:Hatnote/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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

1904 worlds fair boer war program.jpg

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 $1.00 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.

Notable visitors

Geronimo, photographed by the fair's official photographer, William H. Rau

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.

Ragtime music was popularly featured at the Fair. Scott Joplin wrote "The Cascades" specifically for the fair, inspired by the waterfalls at the Grand Basin, and presumably attended the fair.

Helen Keller, who was 24 and graduated from Radcliffe College, gave a lecture in the main auditorium.[20]

J.T. Stinson, a well-regarded fruit specialist, introduced the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" (at a lecture during the exhibition).[21]

The French organist Alexandre Guilmant played a series of 40 recitals, from memory, on the great organ in Festival Hall, then the largest pipe organ in the world.

Geronimo, the former war chief of the Apache, was "on display" in a teepee in the Ethnology Exhibit.

Henri Poincaré gave a keynote address on mathematical physics, including an outline for what would eventually became known as special relativity.[22][23]

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, Mo. 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.[24][25]

Max Weber visited upon first coming to the United States in hopes of using some of his findings for a case study on capitalism.[26]

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 4 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.[27][28]

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.[29]

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, Okla, where it is now on display at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.[30]

See also

Notes and references

Other sources, listed below:[31][32]

  1. James Gilbert, Whose Fair? Experience, and Memory, and the History of the Great St. Louis Exposition (2009)
  2. Handbook of Texas Online - KESSLER, GEORGE E.. Retrieved 18 May 2006.
  3. http://www.youngsaintlouis.com/archive/December2004/text/kids/stlhistory.html
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  5. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. The Colored Citizen, Pensacola, Florida, Friday, February 9, 1923 African American newspaper, Pg. 2
  7. Michael Immerso, Coney Island: The People's Playground, Rutgers University Press, 2002, page 73
  8. [1] Archived October 25, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. One-Hundred & Sixty Acres & An Orchard - State of the Ozarks - August 28, 2009
  10. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  11. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  12. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  13. Vaccaro, Pamela. 2004. Beyond the ice cream cone: the whole scoop on food at the 1904 World's Fair. St. Louis: Enid Press.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  15. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  16. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  17. Rivas, Mim Eichler, "Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of a Horse and a Man Who Changed the World," 1st ed, HarperCollins, 2006
  18. "History of Smithsonian Whale Exhibits", National Museum of Natural History
  19. Robert K. Barney, “Born from Dilemma: America Awakens to the Modern Olympic Games, 1901–1903,” Olympika 1 (1992): 92–135
  20. Conrad Hilton. 1957. Be My Guest: Prentice Hall Press.
  21. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  22. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  23. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  24. Narita, Tatsushi, "Fiction and Fact in T. S. Eliot's 'The Man Who Was King'", Notes and Queries, vol. 237, no. 2, pp. 191–192.
  25. Narita, Tatsushi, T. S. Eliot and His Youth as 'A Literary Columbus', Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan, 2011: pp. 15–20, 29–33.
  26. 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
  27. http://www2.jackdaniels.com/TennesseeWhiskey/TheBottle.aspx
  28. http://www.jackdaniels.com/whiskey/1904-gold-medal-series
  29. http://www.katechopin.org/biography.shtml
  30. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  31. History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Compiled from official sources by Mark Bennitt, editor-in-chief and Frank Parker Stockbridge, managing editor, Universal Exposition publishing company, 1905. 800 pages, 4000+ pictures. <http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=8849264c45570e24ed20224cdef04038;g=;c=lex;idno=lex023>
  32. The Universal Exposition of 1904 by David R. Francis. Two volumes, 7.5" x 10.5", 702 and 427 pages, St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, 1913. On-line at: http://imageserver.mohistory.org/library.asp?setrelation=universal (with search feature), index at: http://previous.slpl.org/libsrc/univ-exp.htm (alphabetical, but not at the detail level)
30. William Leach, Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture. New York: Vintage Books/Random House (1993), 212-13.

Further reading

  • Afable, Patricia O. 'The Exhibition of Cordillerans in the United States during the Early 1900's'. The Igorot Quarterly, vol.6, no. 2, 1997,pg.19-22.
  • Bennitt, Mark and Frank Parker Stockbridge, eds. History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, MO: Universal Exposition Publishing Company, 1905.
  • Boeger, Astrid. 'St. Louis 1904.' In Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions, ed. John E. Findling and Kimberly D. Pelle. Jefferson, NC and London:McFarland, 2008.
  • Brownell, Susan, The 1904 Anthropology Days and Olympic Games. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.
  • Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  • Fox, Timothy J. and Duane R. Sneddeker, From the Palaces to the Pike: Visions of the 1904 World's Fair. St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society Press, 1997.
  • Gilbert, James. Whose Fair?: Experience, Memory, and the History of the Great St. Louis Exposition (2009)
  • Narita, Tatsushi, 'The Young T. S. Eliot and Alien Cultures: His Philippine Interactions.' The Review of English Studies, New Series, vol. 45, no. 180, 1994.
  • Narita, Tatsushi. T. S. Eliot, The World Fair of St. Louis and 'Autonomy'. Published for NCCF-Japan. Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan, 2013.
  • Narita, Tatsushi, T. S. Eliot and his Youth as 'A Literary Columbus', Nagoya: Kougaku Shuppan, 2011.
  • 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.
  • Rydell, Robert W., All the World's a Fair. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984.

External links

Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.