The World's Fair: Chicago 1893

The great World's Fair was held at Chicago in 1893, celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of the landing of Columbus. It was a magnificent advance on the famous Centennial of 1876. Costing over $20,000,000, its ideal edifices satisfied all standards of taste and beauty. Enormous buildings were erected, but instead of being merely useful, the most elaborate pains were taken with their architecture. The exterior was a white composition known as staff, being principally plaster of paris, which looked like marble. The decorations, mural and of statuary, were elaborate and artistic. The grounds were laid out with lagoons, fountains, and all that landscape gardening could produce. The whole was a veritable fairyland. At night the buildings and lagoons were lighted up by electricity and the artistic effect was magnificent. The exhibits were complete and comprehensive, showing all that the world could offer in the arts and sciences. Foreigners were amazed at the display, and Americans no less. In the seventeen years which had passed since the Centennial, progress had been wonderful. Whereas in 1876 much of our showing contrasted poorly with foreign exhibits, now the comparisons were almost all in our favor. The exhibition was open six months, during which time there were 27,500,000 visitors, and total receipts of over $33,000,000. The Government gave directly $1,500,000, besides its own exhibit, and further aid by allowing the coinage of special designs of subsidiary coin, which commanded a premium. One interesting feature of the Fair was the Parliament of Religions, at which were gathered representatives of nearly every known religious creed in the whole world.

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