The World's Columbian Exposition


The World's Columbian Exposition

716,881 people attended the World's Columbian Exposition for Chicago Day, October 9, 1893. This day commemorated the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

716,881 people attended the World's Columbian
Exposition for "Chicago Day," October 9, 1893.
This day commemorated the anniversary of the
Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The World's Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing in America, was actually held in 1893, a year later than had been planned. New York City, Washington, D.C., St.Louis, and Chicago had all vied for the honor of housing the exposition, and it was during this vigorous and often vocal competition that Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun, dubbed Chicago "that windy city." Chicago's lobbyists finally won out and, on April 25, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the act that designated Chicago as the site of the exposition. It took three frantic years of preparation and work to produce the exposition. Although dedication ceremonies were held on October 21, 1892, the fairgrounds were not opened to the public until May 1, 1893. The exposition closed on October 30, 1893.

Lithograph advertising the Chicago Day celebration at the fair which commemorated the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Lithograph advertising the Chicago Day
celebration at the fair which commemorated
the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
(CHS ICHi 14835)

The exposition occupied 630 acres in Jackson Park and the Midway Plaisance. The main site was bounded by Stony Island Avenue on the west, 67th Street on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, and 56th Street on the north (see map). The Midway Plaisance, a narrow strip of land between 59th and 60th Streets, extends west from Stony Island to Cottage Grove Avenue.

Laborers with horses work on the Midway before the opening of the fair.
Laborers with horses work on the Midway before
the opening of the fair.



Al Capone
Black Sox
Century of Progress
Chicago Fire
World's Columbian Expo
Expo Photo Gallery
Expo Artifacts
Expo Bibliography
Parades, Protests and Politics
THe Pullman Era
The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn

Click here to see larger map of grounds.

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