> 1854-1894 Illinois State Association History

The Columbian Exposition of 1893

The Columbian Exposition of 1893

The Statue of the Republic overlooked the Court of Honor and the Grand Basin at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 which was called the Coumbian Exposition to honor the 400th Anniversary of the voyage of Columbus to the New World. There was fierce competition between Chicago and New York to see which city would host the fair and one New York newspaper derisively referred to Chicago as that "windy city" in the west. The nick name stuck.

The "White City " campus was designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead and covered more than 600 acres in Jackson Park featuring nearly 200 new (but temporary) buildings of predominately neoclassical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. More than 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month run. Its scale and grandeur far exceeded the other world fairs, and it became a symbol of the emerging American Exceptionalism, much in the same way that the Great Exhibition became a symbol of the Victorian era United Kingdom.

Dedication ceremonies for the fair were held on October 21, 1892, but the fairgrounds were not actually opened to the public until May 1, 1893. The fair continued until October 30, 1893. In addition to recognizing the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Europeans, the fair also served to show the world that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire that had destroyed much of the city only 22 years before in 1871. On October 9, 1893, the day designated as Chicago Day, the fair set a record for outdoor event attendance, drawing 716,881 persons.

Many prominent civic, professional, and commercial leaders from around the United States participated in the financing, coordination, and management of the Fair, including Chicago shoe tycoon Charles H. Schwab, Chicago railroad and manufacturing magnate John Whitfield Bunn, and Connecticut banking, insurance, and iron products magnate Milo Barnum Richardson, among many others.[2]

The exposition was such a major event in Chicago that one of the stars on the municipal flag honors it

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