Meet me at the fair

by chuckofish

One hundred and ten years ago today the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (informally known as the St. Louis World’s Fair) opened in my flyover town. It was quite a Big Deal.

Are those elephants in the lower left?

Are those elephants in the lower left?

The Fair’s 1,200 acre site was designed by George Kessler and was located on the grounds of what is now Forest Park and on the campus of my flyover university. There were over 1500 buildings, connected by some 75 miles 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.

Exhibits were staged by 62 foreign countries, the United States government and 43 of the then 45 states. 19,694,855 individuals were in attendance at the fair.

Here is a map of the Fair.

The fairgrounds were filled with spectacular buildings.

The Palace of Liberal Arts

The Palace of Liberal Arts

The Aviary was built by the U.S. government and was the largest free flight birdcage ever built.

aviary

It is still here, a part of our zoo. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The administrative center of the Fair was none other than Brookings Hall at my home away from home.

WUBrook

The Fair hosted the 1904 Summer Olympics, the first ever held in the U.S.

Many of the events were held at Francis Field.

Francis_Field_1904

The field has been updated, but is still very much in use at my flyover university.

100511-st-louis-touring-018

Well, it’s probably true that we peaked back in 1904, but we’re still a pretty cool place. And it’s fun to see that parts of our illustrious past are still very much a part of our everyday life in the twenty-first century.