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Bigler, Brian J.; Mudrey, Lynn Martinson / The Norway Building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair : a building's journey from Norway to America : an architectural legacy

The Grand World's Columbian Exposition: planning the fair,   pp. 6-11 PDF (2.0 MB)

Page 7

Planning the Fair
he 1890's was a period of rapid industrial expansion worldwide.
There was an intense desire for participation in this growth amongst
the nations of our western civilization. Enthusiasm for modem
development was felt at all levels of society, fostered by the International
Fairs and Expositions that were held to showcase the achievements of
the industrial and scientific age.
In our modem world, it is difficult to imagine the ingenuity, foresight
and magnitude of the Chicago World's Fair-the grand World's Columbian
Exposition of 1893. The Fair officials and the respective committees must
have had enormous vision to accomplish such an extravaganza.
The World's Fair, or the "White City" as it was often called, was erected
in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christo-
pher Columbus. As early as the year 1889, the contest was on for the
"right" location of the fair itself. Out of those cities vying for the Exposi-
tion site, it was ultimately narrowed down to a decision between Chicago
and New York. "On the 24th of February, 1890, Congress definitely
accorded the honor of inviting the world as guest to the 'Phoenix City of
the Great Lakes'"-Chicago. On July 2, 1890, a site was chosen, and in
January, 1891, the Department of Publicity and Promotion was organized
and began telling the whole newspaper-reading earth about the World's
Fair that was to come.
The site of the Chicago World's Fair covered 1,037 landscaped acres
stretching 2 1/2 miles from the point nearest the city to the southern
extremity of Jackson Park. Along one side of its border stretched beauti-
ful Lake Michigan. On this location, an assemblage of wondrous archi-

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