St. Louis September 26, 2017
21 Rare Photos Taken In St. Louis During the 1904 World’s Fair
Officially known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the St. Louis World’s Fair introduced our city on an international stage. The event was centralized in Forest Park, and it was no easy task to bring together. David K. Francis, a former Mayor of St. Louis and Governor of Missouri, was the driving force behind promoting our city as the site of the exposition. The World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics, which were held that same summer, changed St. Louis forever. See below the stunning images of this huge event in our history.
Opening Day of the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri (April 30th)
David K. Francis addressed the crowd gathered on the first day of the World's Fair. As President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, he brought both the World's Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics to St. Louis. He would later serve as the last U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Empire.
Vice Commissioner General Wong Kai Kah dedicated the site of the Chinese Government Pavilion.
This photo was taken in 1903, as ground was broken for the future sites of many exhibitions.
The Grand Basin of Plaza St. Louis, where visitors could take a short trip across the plaza.
Festival Hall can be seen at the end of the plaza as cadets from West Point march through the fair.
The illuminated Electrical Building was a popular sight.
Electricity was the promise of a better future and many came to see the grand display.
Here we see the A.J. Jordan Cutlery Company exhibit of cut glass.
New craftsmanship technology was often highlighted at World's Fairs.
This engine was on display in the Palace of Transportation.
The Palace of Manufactures and Louisiana Purchase Monument in the Grand Plaza.
The Irish Village of the World's Fair, originally captioned as "pretty lassies in jaunty cars."
This photo is from one of the exhibitions collectively nicknamed "The Human Zoo." Nefarious as it sounds, these displays were officially called "Ethnological Expositions," and were a common sight at fairs and zoos across the world. The people of the "Human Zoo" were most often on display in replicas of their homeland living spaces. How well a group was treated in exhibitions depended largely on the attitudes of the event promoters and the social status of the group on display.
"Old Cairo" was the setting of the Egypt Exhibition.
This was a display of Pueblo Indians selling pottery.
The expanse of the Grand Plaza, seen here from the top of the Educational Building.
This exhibit highlighted Bulgarian art and design.
This Brazilian log cabin showcased its architectural craftsmanship.
This Argentinian exhibit demonstrated a classroom setting for teaching skills associated with manual labor, particularly carpentry.
Here we see one of the educational taxidermy exhibits.
The World's Fair exhibits were focused on history, invention, or education.
St. Louis hosted.... Chicago Day!
The World's Fair of 1893 took place in Chicago and was officially called "The World's Columbian Exposition" in celebration of Christopher Columbus.
This is a view across the Grand Basin, looking at the West Restaurant Pavilion and the Ferris Wheel.
The Ferris Wheel from the 1983 Chicago Fair was moved to St. Louis, but was later dismantled with 100 pounds of dynamite.
The newly created Art Hill in 1904.
Most of the structures built for the fair were designed to be torn down after the fair ended.
This photo shows the busy thoroughfare filled with visitors.
People came from all over the world to attend the St. Louis World's Fair. The official attendance count was 19,694,855! The fair brought both money and work to the St. Louis region and many people who came to work at the fair stayed in St. Louis permanently.
This artist rendition of the expansive fairgrounds paints a beautiful picture of the grand event.
The St. Louis World's Fair was held from April 30th to December 1st, 1904. The promoters of the event billed it as educational and informative, but unlike other World's Fairs, most of the technology displayed was already in use. The St. Louis World's Fair was more of a showcase than a debut, but people flocked to the city to see things they had only ever heard existed.
Some consider the St. Louis World’s Fair the birthplace of many inventions, including ice cream cones, ice tea, sliced bread, and more. Do you know of any interesting stories from this incredible event in St. Louis history? Share them with us in the comments below!
Still feeling nostalgic? Here is what
life in St. Louis looked like in the 1920s.