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March 11, 2022

40 Amazing Photos of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893

The World’s Columbian Exposition was a world’s fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492. The centerpiece of the Fair, held in Jackson Park, was a large water pool representing the voyage Columbus took to the New World. Chicago had won the right to host the fair over several other cities, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis.

The exposition was an influential social and cultural event and had a profound effect on architecture, sanitation, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism. The exposition covered 690 acres (2.8 km2), featuring nearly 200 new (but deliberately temporary) buildings of predominantly neoclassical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from 46 countries. More than 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month run. Its scale and grandeur far exceeded the other world's 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, which had destroyed much of the city in 1871.

These amazing photos were taken by photographer Charles Dudley Arnold that show the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Administration Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Administration Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Administration Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Agricultural Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Agricultural Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Agriculture Building on left, Machinery Building center, Administration Building on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Agriculture Building on left, Statue of the Republic and Manufactures Building on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Agriculture Building on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

East portal of Machinery Hall, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Ferris Wheel, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Fine Arts Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Fisheries Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Forestry Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Horticultural Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Lagoon with Illinois State Building in center back, Fisheries, Government, and Manufactures Buildings on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Lagoon with Illinois State Building in center back, Women's Building to left, Fisheries and Government Buildings to right, Chicago, 1893

Machinery Hall, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

MacMonnies fountain, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

MacMonnies fountain. Electricity and Liberal Arts Buildings visible, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Manufactures Building on left, Agriculture Building on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Manufactures Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Massachusetts State Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Mines and Mining Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Mines and Mining Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria replicas, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Peristyle, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

South Basin, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Statue of the Republic and Peristyle, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Statue of the Republic in front of Peristyle, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Transportation Building on left, Chinese Building center, and Horticulture Building on right, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Transportation Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Transportation Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

U.S. Government Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

View looking north from the Colonnade, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

View over the lagoon from Illinois State Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Viking ship from Norway, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Women's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893




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