World’s Fair at St. Louis – Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904

Map of the World’s Fair in 1904
A Vision of the Purchase
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Means of Locomotion

The first thing the newcomer hears from the visitor who has spent several days at the World’s Fair is: “It is simply immense. The grounds cover 1,240 acres.” And the newcomer thinks: “Mercy, how shall I ever get around to see it all?”

For the robust, healthy American, whether man or woman, the best means of transportation is that which nature has provided.

Yet there are times when walking becomes arduous and there are individuals to whom walking is at all times a hardship. For these, ample provision has been made. The regular means of locomotion are four, and they serve every portion of the grounds. Two of them are designed solely for general sight-seeing. The other two are for utility. They are the automobile, the electric launch or gondola, the Intramural railroad and the wheel chair.

One of the pleasantest first-day experiences is an automobile ride through the exhibit and foreign sections, with a chauffeur to point out all the buildings and statues on the way. The most delightful of all experiences, whether first day or last day, is a trip through the Grand Basin and the mile and a half waterway that surrounds the Palaces of Education and Electricity. This trip, to be enjoyed in the highest degree should be taken just as darkness is falling, as the myriad lights are transforming the palaces into dwellings of fairyland.

The Palace of Machinery at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Machinery
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Artistic Beauties

The culminating point of the great decorative scheme, a grand symphony of ivory palaces, magnificent statuary, radiant gardens and placid lagoons, is the central hill on which stands the noble Festival Hall. To the east and the west stretch the other hills, dotted by the State buildings, the picturesque gardens of Japan, and the group of structures that reveal the greatness of the American farmer.

The trained eye of the artist has looked after every detail of the buildings and grounds. A month’s sojourn at the World’s Fair will do more to cultivate one’s artistic taste and appreciation than a year in the best school of fine arts in America. Here the visitor has object lessons, every phase of art. There is the noblest of all the arts, architecture, exemplified in stately palaces of classic mould, examples of the French, German and Spanish Renaissance in the Palaces of Transportation, Machinery and Varied Industries respectively, dignified Tudor Gothic in the Administration group in the western part of the grounds, and every style of domestic architecture.

The East Cascade at the World’s Fair in 1904
The East Cascade
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Glorious Cascades

The greatest miracles of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition are those that trace their origin to the power of electricity. These are the illumination and the cascades. The Pan-American had in all but 8,000 horse-power, while the Louisiana Purchase Exposition has 40,000 horse-power.

This enormous energy is used to operate all the “live” exhibits, such as the cotton mills, potteries and factories that are to be found in all the buildings. All the rest is used ffor the Intramural railroad and launches and for beautifying the grounds.

The pivot around which all the decorative wonders are grouped is the peerless Festival Hall. To the right and the left stretch away the hemicycles of stately Ionic columns that compose the architectural screen known as the Colonnade of the States. The two wings of the screen are terminated by the two charming restaurant pavilions. Each of the three buildings in the colonnade is associated with one of the sources of water that supply the cascades.

The US Government building at the World’s Fair in 1904
The United States Government Building
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Government Participation

The fact that the United States government has set its seal of approval so plainly on the Exposition ought to be proof sufficient of its merit. Not only was one-third of the original sum of money for beginning the Fair contributed by the federal government, but the government displays themselves are among the most costly and interesting. Nowhere are the crowds of visitors so enthusiastic and so lots to depart as in the beautiful pavilion that stands on the hill above the Sunken Gardens. Here every department of the government mechanism is shown.

In a real railway postal car the mail is thrown just as it is done on the road. Around this car are models of all the conveyances used in the handling of the mails. In the Treasury Department one may see all the machinery used in the coining of money. Twice daily the official Exposition medals are coined. The central exhibit of the Navy Department is a great model of the battleship Missouri that is open for inspection. Across the aisle from the naval exhibit, among the arms and ordnance from the War Department, one may see a machine at work making cartridges. Other exhibits are from the departments of Commerce and Labor, the Interior, Agriculture, Justice and State, the Library of Congress and the Bureau of American Republics.

The Cascades at Night at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Cascades at Night
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The Night Picture

Many a rational individual, on witnessing for the first time the evening illumination, has exclaimed: “If heaven could be any more beautiful than this, I should like to go there right away.” Truly the human mind is not capable of conceiving a sight more entrancingly lovely. The lights are not turned on with a sudden glare; but at 8 o’clock, as dusk settles over the great ivory-colored palaces, myriads of tiny points of light spring into being all along the outlines of the buildings, as if by the touch of enchantment. At first they are dull red. Gradually they whiten and increase in power until all the scene is ablaze with glory.

Half an hour later the cascades awaken. The sparkling torrent of water begins its plunge from the chateau d’eau in the center and the fountains at the two sides, and the lights on the magnificent architectural composition on the hill change from white to res and from red to green. Meanwhile searchlights of varied colours and designs play over the cascades, lending new charms and new glories.

The home of the Greatest of Organs
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Music at the Exposition

In all the world there has never been provided such a feast for the lover of music as is to be had at the World’s Fair. Whether one’s taste be for the classical or the popular, he may find exactly what he wants by consulting the daily program. There are band concerts, orchestra concerts, pipe organ recitals and choruses. The best bands in America have come or are yet to come. The most celebrated organists have been enlisted to reveal the wonders of the largest pipe organ in the world.

A famous poet and three eminent composers have contributed the official music, Edmund Clarence Stedman wrote the Hymn of the West, which Prof. John K. Paine, of Harvard University, set to music. Frank Van Der Stueken, the orchestra leader of Cincinnati, wrote the Louisiana March and Henry K. Hadley, of New York, wrote the Walter entitles “Along the Plaza.” These were adopted by the Bureau of Music as the only official musical publications. They are all compositions of high merit, and the Hymn of the West has the patriotic ring that makes it one of the household classics.

The Palace of Liberal Arts at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Liberal Arts
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Art Pavilions

The old and the new in the art of Europe are shown in four of the most beautiful foreign pavilions that ever were erected for exposition purposes. The old is shown in Italy, Holland and Belgium. The new is to be found in Austria. The quaint little building of Holland is a monument to the greatest of all Dutch painters, Rembrandt, just as the ornate and unusual Belgian pavilion is an expression of the art and thought of his great contemporary, Rubens, the master Flemish painter.

The Dutch building, while not an exact copy of the home of Rembrandt, is a perfect piece of sixteenth century domestic architecture, and is a curio shop of old furniture, Delft pottery and silver. In one of the rooms is an exact size reproduction of the most famous of all Rembrandt’s paintings, the one that has been called “The Night Watch.” The copy was made under the auspices of the government.

The larger pavilion of Belgium contains many exhibits in addition to its art treasures. The external walls are ornamented with twenty-seven oil paintings of typical Flemish scenes and three handsome painted entrances, all the work of the leading modern Flemish artists. The building itself is a reproduction of the architecture shown in the paintings of Rubens. It is said to be the only typical piece of old Flemish architecture in America.

The walled garden and exquisite Graeco-Roman temple of Italy are simply overflowing with art treasures. The interior of the pavilion is one beautiful museum of Pompeian bronzes and marbles.

The Palace of Education at the World’s Fair in 1904
A main entrance to the Palace of Education
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The American School

The keynote of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition is Progress. The source of all progress is Education. These two points having been determined, the builders of the Exposition decided that the educational exhibit should rank first among exhibits. At all the leading expositions, whether international or local, education has been given a prominent place, and much good has been the immediate result.

The School for Industrial Art was established in London as an outcome of the Crystal Palace Exhibition. Manual training was introduced into the American schools in consequence of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and similar beneficial results have followed subsequent exhibits of similar character. In all these expositions the educational display has been a part of some related exhibit. In St. Louis for the first time the educational exhibit has a building of its own.

The participation of foreign nations and of the American public schools and universities is of great value, especially to teachers and students; but there is one part of the educational display that is of universal interest. It is the actual teaching that is carried on daily. The cooking school of the department of domestic arts and sciences is one that is sure to attract a crowd. Scarcely less interesting are the classes in manual training and the exhibitions of kindergarten work.

The most popular classes, however, are those for the instruction of the blind and the deaf.

The Hall of Congresses at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Hall of Congresses
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

World’s Fair Congresses

Every day at the World’s Fair is a special day. Something out of the ordinary is going on all the time. From family reunions and trade days to international congresses, there is some assemblage of individuals with kindred interests to give the name to every day of the seven months.

Among all these special conventions and assemblages the most important are the International Congresses. The first of these was the International Press Congress that convened on May 16, with a large and enthusiastic representation of the press not only from all sections of the United States but an unusually large percentage of foreign editors. The later congresses have been equally fortunate in attracting the great minds from the eastern hemisphere. The addresses delivered and the papers presented during these sessions would serve as a complete manual of human knowledge, for the themes under consideration include Education, Electricity, Dentistry, Law, Temperance, Engineering, Aeronautics, Instruction of the Deaf and a host of other vital subjects.

By far the most important congress held in connection with the Exposition is the International Congress of the Arts and Sciences, whose sessions extend from September 19 to 26. This congress is all that its name implies. It is the most stupendous, the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mental development.

Its avowed purpose is to set forth the unity and mutual relations of the sciences, to review their historical growth, to develop their fundamental principles and promote mutual sympathy and effort.

The Palace of Transportation at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Grand Arches of the Palace of Transportation
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Wonders of Transportation

It is the consensus of opinion among newspaper men that humanity is interested in those things that pertain to transportation. Stories of air ships, gorgeously furnished trains and steamers, railroad and street car wrecks, automobile races, indeed all stories pertaining to transportation are devoured with avidity by the newspaper reader. This truth was known to the Exposition officials who ordained that the second largest building on the grounds should be the one to contain the historic and modern display of conveyances.

In the Palace of Transportation one may see every form of vehicle in use the world over. In the very center of the enormous hall is the great engine, elevated on a steel turntable, constantly in motion. Near by is the historic exhibit of locomotives, showing all the stages in the evolution of this most important of all means of transportation. Among these old engines is one wooden model to which are attached the first cars that were drawn by steam power. This first journey was in the very year of the Louisiana transfer, 1803, and the road was in Wales. The two little cars stand on the original rails and the original stones that formed the roadbed, more than a century ago.

This is only one of hundreds of wonderful things in the Palace of Transportation.

The Palace of Mines and Metallurgy at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Mines and Metallurgy
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Mineral Marvels

The prehistoric era of the world’s history was divided up into ages which took their name from the mineral most widely used and of the greatest value to the human race. The relics of the Stone Age are implements and weapons that were chipped from stone. During the Iron Age the metal that is still of more value than gold was supreme among the necessities of daily life. From present indications it is probable that the twentieth century will be known to posterity as the Cement Age.

The wonderful artificial stone is already working a revolution in our methods of building, and its capacity for replacing the natural product has scarcely been tested. Realizing the importance of cement in the world’s economy, the Chief of the Department of Mines and Metallurgy located the cement house at the very head of the Gulch where even those who are not especially interested in things pertaining to the mineral resources of the earth may see and investigate it. But the Gulch only supplements the great nine-acre exhibit in the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy.

The Palace of Agriculture at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Agriculture
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Miracles in Grain

“Why do you want to go over to the Palace of Agriculture?” a lady was heard to ask her companion. “It is nothing but a big barn.”

“Have you seen it?” the companion asked. “No, but I am sure there is nothing there that I care to see, except the Floral Clock and the flower gardens that one can see just as well from the Intramural,” was the reply. “Then come to please me and remain to please yourself,” the companion said tactfully. She had been, and she knew!

The visitor who for the first time walks the length of the central aisle of the great Palace of Agriculture is simply amazed at this art palace that calls itself the abode of agriculture. The modern decorative artist could find new ideas and wonderful inspiration in the succession of pavilions that the farmer has erected to demonstrate the value of the farm.

To the average individual an ear of corn is a hopelessly prosaic thing, as far removed from the artistic as the north pole is from the south. Yet this plebeian ear of corn has been utilized to form some of the most artistic decorations that ever were devised. Entire ears, cross sections of the ear with red, white and yellow grains and the individual grains in alternating colors have been employed in various parts of the decoration. In places the effect is truly Oriental. Some of the work looks like Gesso-Duro, the wonderful high relief painting to be found in the palaces of the Caliphs.

One of the grain pavilions is a faithful bit of Graeco-Byzantine architecture and ornament. Another follows the lines of the latest development in decorative art.

The Palace of Liberal Arts at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Liberal Arts
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The Book-Lover’s Paradise

To the book connoisseur the value of a book lies not so much in what it contains as in what it is. The binding, the paper, the typography are of infinitely more account than the context. He who loves books for themselves, who counts it a joy to fondle a perfect specimen of the bookmaker’s art, will find a veritable paradise in the Palace of Liberal Arts.

The things pertaining to printing and binding are by no means the only things of interest in this wonderful exhibit palace, for here are to be found examples of all the manufactured products that possess an educational or scientific value, just as in the Palace of Varied Industries are to be found those of artistic value. The delicate instruments of microscopy and surgery, musical instruments and X-ray machines, apparatus for the liquefaction and solidification of hydrogen, and many other scientific wonders are here to be found; yet among the liberal arts, the most valuable remains the art of making books.

All the leading American publishing houses are represented by the best that they are capable of producing, and the American has no need to blush for his country in this showing. Some of the de luxe editions are artistic gems; some of the American hand-made paper will stand comparison with the finest foreign product.

The real book-lovers’ paradise is the long succession of blue arched rooms that are filled to overflowing with treasures from the German Imperial Printing Office and the great binderies of Leipsic.

The Floral Clock at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Floral Clock
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Floral Glory

In every nook and corner of the World’s Fair grounds, the value of floral decorations is illustrated. The Cascade Gardens reproduce, in great festoons, the curves that form the Colonnade of the States. Great monograms of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and giant designs of the symmetrical fleur-de-lis are interspersed with less formal planting. All the plazas have decorative beds and borders; but the real wealth of flowers is in the vicinity of the Palace of Horticulture.

With the beginning of June, ten acres of blooming roses began to fill the air with fragrance. As the season of roses passed by, cannas and the other colorful summer flowers took their place. Surrounding the two great palaces on Agriculture Hill is a veritable paradise of floral glory. Among all these natural beauties, two features attract universal attention. These are the Floral Clock and the Water Garden.

The clock that occupies the slope of the hill to the north of the Palace of Agriculture, and that actually keeps perfect time, has a dial 110 feet in diameter and hands that could support the weight of an ordinary family. The entire face of the clock is planted in foliage and flowering plants that are changed, as the season progresses.

The Palace of Game, Fish, and Forestry at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Palace of Game, Fish, and Forestry
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The Forest City

For the first time in the history of exposition building the departments of forestry, fisheries and game are classed together. This is the natural arrangement, affording the student an opportunity to study the forest and its inhabitants at the same time. In this section at the World’s Fair one may find both the crude material and the finished product. There are live fish and canned ones, growing trees and polished wood floors, busy beavers and handsome fur coats.

Associated with the exhibit of forestry, there is a practical demonstration of the best methods of tree culture. Ten acres are devoted to the instruction of those who care to learn the means of preserving the trees as practiced by the national Bureau of Forestry. The American farmer is awakening to the value of timber land and the necessity for really understanding trees and their diseases, and to him as well as to the lumber merchant this display is of the greatest importance. The exhibits are from nearly every important country having forest resources. Every State having extensive forests makes an exhibit, some of them maintaining live game exhibits. Notable exhibits are those of Brazil, the Argentine Republic, Ceylon, Canada and Japan.

Administrative Avenue at the World’s Fair in 1904
Administration Avenue
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

On Administration Hill

The splendid group of Tudor Gothic buildings on Administration Hill possesses an exceptional interest for the visitor from the middle west because these stately stone structures are to be the permanent home of Washington University. During the World’s Fair period they are of interest to all visitors because of three exhibits housed within their walls.

For the most part the buildings are occupied by the office force of the Exposition; but room was found for the installation of some of the most valuable treasures that were entrusted to the care of the officials. In the Hall of Congresses, across the Quadrangle from the Administration Building, one large room is filled with the famous Jubilee gifts of Queen Victoria. Here are inlaid and hand wrought caskets, priceless gems, carvings in ivory and ebony, ostrich feathers and elephants’ tusks. There are gold, silver, ivory and sandalwood caskets containing addresses on parchment or satin, addresses of loyalty and congratulation in a hundred languages, all tendered to the good Queen by her devoted subjects.

These treasures are on display at the World’s Fair for all who care to climb the single flight of stairs to see them. There is no fee at the door, and the exhibit room is always crowded.

At the north of the Administration Quadrangle is the wonderful anthropological display.

The interior of the Netherlands Building
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The Furnishing of the Home

Domestic art and architecture are coming to hold a more important place in the minds of the American people than is accorded to the Fine Arts or the architecture of the more pretentious type. The home is by far the most important factor in the life of the nation and that which serves to beautify the home serves, at the same time, to strengthen the nation.

In many sections of the World’s Fair the things that pertain especially to the home have been given prominent place. Many of the State buildings are models of domestic architecture. There is scarcely a department of science that has not contributed directly or indirectly to the improvement of the modern
methods of living.

The revolt against the cheap and the tawdry in house furnishings has expressed itself in a style of furniture so substantial and genuine as to be hopelessly plain and awkward. Yet plainness and genuineness need not go hand in hand. Many of the State buildings are fitted with the so-called mission furniture, that is solid and substantial without clumsiness.

Marvels of Invention

The Palace of Electricity is simply overflowing with wonders such as the ordinary American citizen may never again have an opportunity of seeing. Among these are the wireless telegraph and telephone exhibits. Here the visitor is privileged to send messages from one end of the building to the other.

The wonders of wireless telephony may be learned by a visit to the court of the Palace of Electricity. To the unaided ear there are no sounds perceptible but those that one usually hears; but if a receiver, destitute of wires or any sort of external and tangible connections, be held to the ear the place becomes suddenly vibrant with new sounds. The music of bands in distant parts of the spacious grounds, the voices of remote pedestrians, the song of birds may be distinctly heard. Verily the court is an enchanted court, plucked from one of the Arabian Nights tales, and given form and substance for the amusement of Fair visitors.

To the chemist, the most valuable display in the entire exposition is the laboratory in the German section, showing the evolution of the chemical laboratory within the past 250 years.

The Palace of Electricity, the Palace of Machinery, and the Observation Wheel
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Architectual Poems

Grandeur is the keynote of the decorative scheme employed in the adornment of the Exposition grounds, grandeur coupled with beauty. The climax of this decorative plan is set forth in a series of architectural poems such as the world has seldom seen. These are the entrances to the exhibit palaces, glorious entrances that fitly set forth the dignity and importance of the most comprehensive of all Expositions.

There is the gigantic porch of the Palace of Transportation with its three enormous arches and its massive pylons, stately and impressive and all the more imposing because of the nearness of the highly ornate vaulted vestibule that constitutes the main entrance to the Palace of Machinery. At the other end of the Main Picture are the Roman Triumphal Arch of the Palace of Liberal Arts, and the monumental entrance of the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy, with its guardian obelisks and its super-imposed dome, the sphere of the earth.

Beauty and dignity there are in these four main entrances; but the entrances to the central exhibit palaces possess an added interest. The architect was given not only an entrance to design but a problem to solve. The main transversal avenue is not a straight line but a bent one, the angles coming at the center of the four buildings that constitute the inner group. In his effort to conceal this angle in the line of his facade, the architect was compelled to design something new.

The Bird Cage at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Bird Cage of the Smithsonian Institute
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Strange Birds

One item of the daily program that is of general interest states that at 3 p. m. the birds in the bird cage of the Smithsonian Institution will be fed. Those who have once visited the big cage at 3 p. m. know that it is not a handful of grain or crumbs that is doled out. The dainty birds in the other side of the enormous cage, the crested quail, the orioles, and other tiny creatures with exquisite plumage, are given their dry rations in the morning. Those for whom the afternoon luncheon is spread are the great, ungainly fellows with a penchant for sea food.

Forty pounds of fresh herring constitute a day’s feeding, and the pelicans, herring gulls, cormorants and herons are trained so that if their table manners are not altogether faultless, they at least afford a fund of amusement for the crowd. At the appointed time the keeper enters the cage and calls the hungry family together on the shore of the tiny lake. Across the lake he stands with two tall iron pails.

For a moment all is excitement, anticipation, suspense. Then a glistening fish comes flying through the air. A dozen ravenous bills open at the same time. Three or four of them achieve a temporary success and then the real sport begins.

The Cascade Gardens at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Cascade Gardens
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Diversity of Interests

The immensity of the Exposition is the first thing that astonishes the visitor. He who begins his tour of inspection by entering at the Lindell gate and exploring the group of buildings surrounding the Grand Basin, is more than likely to fancy that he has seen the Exposition, seen the biggest part of it. As a matter of fact, the eight ivory palaces, the Cascade Gardens and the Palace of Fine Arts cover only two hundred acres. More than a thousand acres of marvels remain to be seen after the so-called “main picture” has been enjoyed.

Other expositions have been content with a group of exhibit buildings and a street of amusement concessions, with a music hall and a stadium for athletic events. In addition to these exposition necessaries, which in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition are larger and more beautiful than in any previous exposition, there are countless new features of the most vital interest. Never before was there such a display as that of the Mining Gulch, the live anthropological section, the Boer War, the forestry and live stock departments or the Philippine reservation.

The Festival Hall, the Colonnade of States and the Grand Basin
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Wonderful Color Scheme

The Exposition by day is a marvel of ivory palaces, dappled water, splendidly modeled statuary and gorgeous gardens. Our first conception of a great exposition was that which we received at Chicago when we were filled with admiration, almost with awe, as we contemplated the buildings of the great White City, set like jewels in the enamel-like stretches of green sward. Here and there a dash of color in the form of a bed of blooming plants was added; but in the main the color scheme was white and green.

The Universal Exposition of 1904 combines the beauties of previous expositions. Her giant palaces are not of dazzling white, but of the softer and more lovely old ivory tone. The roofs are enlivened by subdued red, deep, rich green and dull gray. The arrangement of the water courses is especially beautiful. The surface of the lagoon is as nearly on a level with that of the sward as possible, so that the water does not suggest a “hole in the earth,” but merely a change in the texture and color of the ground. The wealth of color is supplied by the landscape features. No previous exposition has had a tenth part of this floral glory.

The Building of Ceylon at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Building of Ceylon
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Oriental Pavilions

Three of the most interesting buildings in the foreign section are those that represent the part of the Orient over which Great Britain has exerted such boundless influence. Even the ideals of Siam, that most radical of all absolute monarchies, are modified by English thought and English customs. The gentleman in charge of the characteristic Siamese pavilion is an Englishman by birth, a man high in the favor of the government. The pavilion, however, is far from English. It is a reproduction of the new temple at Bangkok, and all its decorations are Buddhist in character.

The other two Oriental buildings are also reproductions of Buddhist sacred architecture. The pavilion of Ceylon was patterned after a Kandian temple that was erected two thousand years ago and is still standing. The museum on the second floor contains a collection of Ceylon laces, carvings, pottery, and devil masks, such as has rarely, if ever, been exhibited in the western hemisphere. Near by is the East Indian pavilion, a beautiful reproduction of the tomb of Etmad-Dowlah at Agra, India. The outer walls are entirely covered with ornaments, and in all the openings are gorgeous Oriental rugs and draperies. Like the Ceylon pavilion, this structure is in part a tea house and in part a museum.

In decided contrast to these ornate buildings is the British pavilion, the quaint and interesting Orangery that was constructed for good Queen Anne by Sir Christopher Wren and has been, since the first, the state banquet hall of Kensington Palace. Surrounding the pavilion is a typical old English garden.

The Charlottenburg Castle at the World’s Fair in 1904
The reproduction of the central portion of Charlottenburg Castle
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Foreign Art Treasures

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition is in very truth a universal exposition. This fact is attested by the participation of foreign nations. The section of the grounds to the east of the Administration Building and west of the Main Picture of the Fair is occupied by almost all the leading nations of Europe and Asia.

One of the foreign nations participating to the greatest extent in all departments and all lines of exhibits is Germany, whose pavilion overlooks the Cascade Gardens. It is a weather-stained castle, a replica of Schloss Charlottenburg which Frederick I of Prussia built for his brilliant and learned Queen, Sophie Charlotte. Another foreign pavilion that serves to remind us of the devotion of a monarch is the Grand Trianon which Louis XIV of France erected for Madame Maintenon. Like the German castle, this beautiful structure is filled with rare and priceless treasures. In both pavilions are Gobelin tapestries, not copies but the originals, tapestries that no money could buy.

The Camping Ground at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Camping Grounds with the model dormitories of Washington University in the background
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Olympic Games

“Mens sana in corpore sano” is the dictum that holds sway in the western part of the Exposition grounds. Here is the handsome pink granite and Bedford stone gymnasium that is destined to be the pride of future Washington University students. Here is the spacious stadium, the largest ever provided by an international exposition for its athletic events.

At no previous World’s Fair has physical culture received such recognition as at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; $150,000 is the sum provided for the exploitation of man’s progress towards perfect physical development and training. The man in charge of the athletic work is recognized as one of the department heads, equal in rank with the chief of the section of Electricity or the Fine Arts, and the most eminent men in the world have been invited not only to participate in the contests but to deliver a series of
lectures that are of infinite value. These lectures have all been prepared in manuscript so that they form a permanent record of this, the greatest athletic congress in the history of the world.

The first of the Olympic events was the College Gymnastic Championship, held on the 12th day of May. Since then there has been scarcely a day on which there was not some championship meet or other contest. Those interested in athletics have had opportunity of seeing the best men in baseball, polo, ten- nis, lacrosse, roque and a host of other outdoor sports. The last month of the Exposition is to be given up to football and sprinting matches.

The year 1904 is the end of the third Olympiad since the revival of the once famous Olympic games. The first contest was fittingly held in Athens in 1896.

The house of the Fair Maid of Perth at the World’s Fair in 1904
The House of the Fair Maid of Perth
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The American Cow

The meek-eyed bovine has been made the subject of especial preparation and particular attention at the great World’s Fair. And why should she be singled out, set upon a pedestal, given a section in the Palace of Agriculture that covers an acre of ground? Simply because she is worth $500,000,000 a year to the American people. We are a practical nation, prone to measure all things by the inevitable dollar standard, and by this criterion the cow ranks above the professor and the painter. She creates wealth. They only divert it from one channel to another.

However, the cow is not satisfied with being simply utilitarian, not content with producing golden butter that may be transmuted into gold of a different consistency. She is striving to be artistic. In a great plate glass cold storage case, just across the aisle from the model dairy, is a collection of butter statuary, the like of which was never seen before. And some of the most eminent sculptors in America participated in the modeling, although they neglected to sign their work. The really important part of the exhibit is the model dairy, making use of 5,000 pounds of milk a day, in which the practical dairyman can obtain information as to the best methods of handling milk, butter and cheese. The pasteurizing and sterilizing plants are daily in operation, and instruction is given freely to those who care to learn.

The sanitary milk plant is enclosed in plate glass walls. Yet it is not merely an Exposition exhibit. It is a thoroughly practical plant, demonstrating that pure milk may be had in the cities as well as in the country. In connection with this sanitary plant is a dairy lunch where the visitor in the Palace of Agriculture may buy, at nominal prices, all the finest products of the dairy.

Replication of the historic Sigourney Mansion in Hartford
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Colonial Buildings

The West looked forward with eager anticipation to the opening of the great Louisiana Purchase Exposition for a host of reasons, not the least of which was the prospect of seeing the life of our own East.

The very essence of the Colonial is to be found in the Connecticut home, that exact reproduction of the old Sigourney mansion in Hartford. Within the building there is not one modern touch. The newest piece of furniture is more than seventy years old. The oldest dates back to the time of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Vermont, too, has drawn on her colonial store. She has reared the image of her most sacred building, the old Constitution House at Windsor. This building, that bears the date 1777, is famous not so much because of the continental constitution that was signed within its walls as because it was here that the first constitutional prohibition of slavery in the world was signed.

From New Hampshire has come the birthplace of Daniel Webster, a building that was already old when the great orator and statesman made his appearance in 1782. New Jersey has given us Ford’s Tavern, the house in Morristown that was used by General Washington as headquarters for the colonial army during one of the most trying parts of the war.

Another building that is more intimately associated with the first President of the American Republic, is Monticello, the real American Mecca, which Virginia has reproduced. This mansion, so rich in sacred memories, is on the Trail, between Georgia and Tennessee.

The Massachusetts building, on Commonwealth Avenue, shows a facade known as the Bulfinch front of the State Capitol. Within are two rooms that are patterned after the Senate chambers in the old and the new capitols. In the upper apartment are two cases of rare and priceless colonial relics.

The Pennsylvania Building at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Pennsylvania Building
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Unique State Buildings

Many treasures of historic value have come out of the east to the World’s Fair; but the history of the American people is not all in the east. We have Fort Clatsop, the first building erected on the coast of Oregon by white men, a building that is of further interest because it was erected by Lewis and Clark in 1805, but two years after the Louisiana Territory became a part of the American possession.

Another western product that attracts universal attention is the State building of Washington. It is six stories high and the timbers that extend from the ground to the topmost floor are 110 feet long. The building is a monument to Washington’s marvelous forests.

From Wisconsin comes the most delightful of all the State buildings, a genuine piece of continental country architecture, a club house of the most charming variety.

Very different from this comfortable home is the great building that contains the historic exhibit of Pennsylvania and the treasured Liberty Bell. This building, with its great square dome and its two long promenade galleries might serve as a model for a summer hotel. It is so roomy, so cool and so inviting. A short walk from this treasure house of Pennsylvania history brings the visitor to the log structure from the Maine woods, a country hunting club.

The Rhode Island colonial plantation residence, an adaptation from the last remnants of that once popular style of building, the delightful Byzantine home of Minnesota, the Five-Point Star of Texas and the roomy official headquarters of Ohio, are buildings that are of interest not only to the visitors who call them their exposition homes, but to all World’s Fair visitors.

Social Headquarters

At no previous Exposition has there been such hearty co-operation as is shown on every hand as one wanders through the spacious grounds of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Some of the State homes are veritable palaces, costing many thousands of dollars. Such are the buildings erected by Missouri,
New York, Illinois, Michigan.

Among the State buildings that of Missouri is the largest and the most elaborately furnished. From the opening of the World’s Fair it has been the center of the State’s social life. Scarcely less is this true of the Illinois State building. Military balls, receptions to the Governor and his staff and similar social functions at “Illinois” are frequent.

By many visitors the New York building is considered the most beautiful among the many gems of architecture on the Plateau of the States. It, too, is social headquarters for the State. Near by is the cozy, home-like building that is a veritable home to the World’s Fair visitors from Kansas, one of the most attractive of the State buildings. At the head of Commonwealth Avenue is the imposing building of Iowa, a structure that calls to mind some of the details of the old and new State Capitols.

Architectural gems of every type are to be found on the Plateau and the Trail where the other State buildings are assembled. There is a bit of Spanish Renaissance in the New Mexico home, and a faithful reproduction of the Mission type in the ornate pavilion of Oklahoma. Indian Territory and Tennessee are represented by semi-classical buildings that are suggestive of the old Southern style, the main entrance dignified by a lofty, colonnaded portico. The Michigan building, that has a wealth of verandas, is rather Greek than southern.

Reproduction by Louisiana of the old Cabildo as it was in 1803
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Southern State Buildings

Almost every State in the Union has some one building that is as a shrine to the succeeding generations, some house that is hallowed by memories of patriotism or self-sacrifice. In many instances these sacred places have been reproduced at the World’s Fair. Many a citizen who will never have the pleasure of standing in the shadow of the Cabildo or the old church of La Rabida can gain an idea of what these time-honored structures are.

No building in the entire Exposition display is of greater interest or importance than that erected by Louisiana. It is the house in which the Louisiana transfer was signed. Indeed, among its quaint furnishings is the very desk on which the priceless document lay when the vital signatures were affixed.

From the South have come three other historic buildings, all reminders of the antebellum glory and chivalry of the Southern States. The Georgia State home is a mansion of the most charming type. Its original is “Sutherland,” the home of General John B, Gordon at Kirkwood, a suburb of Atlanta. But a little way removed from this hospitable home on The Trail is the delightful old red brick “Hermitage,” a building that seems to carry in its lines and furnishings the very spirit of its dauntless, untamed master, President Andrew Jackson, who spent the last years of his life in it.

Another figure in American history closed his days in a Southern mansion, the facsimile of which may be seen at the World’s Fair. This was Jefferson Davis, first and last President of the Confederate States of North America. The home is Beauvoir, erected by Mississippi. The Maryland State building, although it is Southern in atmosphere, is a veritable museum of colonial relics.

The arena of the Live Stock Amphitheatre
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Live Stock

The plan and scope of the Lousiana Purchase Exposition are so different from those of all previous international expositions that many features require special explanation even to habitual exposition visitors and former exposition builders. In no particular is this fact so clearly demonstrated as in the live stock exhibit. Other expositions have given a place to live stock similar to that which the animals of choice breed occupy at the ordinary county fair. The exhibit of 1904 is along entirely new lines.

The cash prizes offered by the Exposition company aggregate a quarter of a million dollars, and as soon as the conditions of the competition were announced, stock-breeders all over the world began their preparations for the contest. So the World’s Fair has already served a valuable purpose in stimulating good work among stockmen. To the Louisiana territory no interest is of greater importance than that of stock-raising, hence it is fitting that this industry should receive special attention at the great Exposition.

The live stock exhibits in reality comprise six great shows occurring at succeeding intervals of two weeks each, with sufficient time between the displays for the removal of one consignment of cattle and the reception of the next set of candidates for honors. These six great events begin the first of September and run to the close of the Exposition.

Jerusalem, the Holy City

Away to the west of the Cascade Gardens at night glows a crescent of clear light, the crescent of the Mosque of Omar. Beneath this quivering new moon appears the vast dome of the mosque, somber and dark against the white of the high wall and the surrounding buildings.

By day the throngs on the broad pink granitoid steps leading up to the western kiosk can gaze over the wall, can see the intricate Oriental ornament that covers the outer surface of the mosque, and catch glimpses of the life in the Holy City, carried on within the confines of the World’s Fair exactly as it is in the Orient. In part it is the city that is familiar to every Bible student as the center of the Christian world. In part it is the Jerusalem of to-day, with its motley conglomeration of Hebrews, Turks, Armenians and other nationalities.


The Boer war is not a panorama nor a moving-picture show. It is a battlefield twelve acres in area, and the actors are seven hundred Boer and British veterans, more than a hundred Kaffirs, six hundred horses and mules, and an assemblage of cannon. Gatling guns, ox and mule transports, Cape carts and jinrikishas.

Th Pike at the World’s Fair in 1904
Afternoon on the Pike
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Water on the Pike

The fact that there is water on the Pike comes as a surprise to many. Yet water there really is. The spieler announces it at three of the attractions, and at a fourth the visitor can see it for himself. One ought to add a fifth, for the Chutes in Fairyland send their daring patrons down into a whole lake of water, thereby preparing their nerves for a ride on the longest and most thrilling Scenic Railway in the world.

The Magic Whirlpool combines the principles of the Chutes and the Scenic Railway. New York to the North Pole is a really marvelous stage drama set in what seems to be a whole ocean of water.

Very similar in character and stage setting is the Galveston Flood, which shows, in realistic manner, the horrible Galveston disaster. The Battle of Santiago is a naval fight with real battleships going through their maneuvers in a big lake of water with the Cuban fort for a background. Naval authorities assert that the action is perfect.

Strange as it may seem, there is water in the Tyrolean Alps. The water comes up in myriad hues, crimson, purple, green, gold, leaping and falling in showers of spray—the most beautiful electric fountain that ever was devised. There are other things in the Alps illusions, foreigners and music—but the most charming thing is the fountain. The trip among Alpine waterfalls and glaciers also has its delights.

The Airship Arrow
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Illusions on the Pike

The spirit of Barnum, who declared that the American people were fond of being humbugged, must have presided over the building of some of the Pike attractions. We like to be deceived, if the deceiving is cleverly done. That is why people go again and again to the spectacular drama. That is why at least six of the Pike shows draw the crowd.

Under and Over the Sea gives the visitor a thrilling sensation in a submarine boat, a ride in an elevator that goes up and comes down like a screw, and a journey overland in an airship.

Hereafter is, in some of its features, the same type of performance. In part Battle Abbey is similar, although it is without motion, the cycloramas being so cleverly constructed that the eye is perfectly deceived. One seems to be looking into miles of space. Deep Sea Diving is another show that is in reality a clever bit of illusion.

A Trip to Siberia is constructed according to the principles of Under and Over the Sea, but the scenery and method of locomotion are entirely different. One enters an ordinary railroad day coach with other passengers and a Wise Man who acts as a guide book for the trip. The train seems to move at a rapid rate through six thousand miles of magnificent country until Port Arthur is reached.

The Irish Village at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Irish Village
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Foreigners on the Pike

To the majority of Americans the most attractive feature of the Pike is its cosmopolitan air. All the world is on display and one may see representatives from the uttermost parts of the earth.

At the portals to Mysterious Asia a beturbaned conjurer does mystifying tricks of legerdemain. Cairo and Constantinople display siren maidens and vivacious musicians. A company of Russian singers, in high boots and fantastic dress, give a specimen of music and dancing in the land of the Czar.

The Irish Village, that hides no end of charming things behind its frowning fortress wall, sends out a party of real Irish dancers to attract the crowd, while near by the Girl from Seville, just as attractive as if she had actually come from the brilliant Spanish city, and just as faithfully costumed, aids the splendid Mexican orchestra in giving the proper Spanish touch to the scene.

Between acts there is always a delightfully Oriental picture in front of the Chinese Village, where tiny, almond-eyed Celestials assemble around the great dragon. Equally picturesque is the group that issues from the maffnificent portal to Fair Japan, the most gorgeous portal on the Pike.

The Pike at the World’s Fair in 1904
The Pike
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

Serious Pike Attractions

The Pike is not all folly, not all illusion. When one has “laughed and laughed” in the Temple of Mirth, has inspected the inhabitants of the Moorish Palace, has enjoyed the little French theater or wandered through Ancient Rome or Old St. Louis, he may want to see something genuine, something serious. The most truly serious of all the concessions is that in which fragile infants are cared for. It is a scientific demonstration of vital importance.

Jim Key, the educated horse, who spells, does simple sums in arithmetic, makes change with a cash register and shows evidences of truly human intelligence, is the horse problem of the educational world. As yet the problem is far from solution. For this very reason, beautiful Jim Key attracts the serious Pike crowd and the children.

In the Deknatel there is nothing of illusion and nothing of folly. The show consists of exhibits and progressive work in glass. The Statisticum is what its name implies, a mass of astonishing and interesting statistics.

Other serious shows are Hale’s Fire Fighters, a most thrilling exhibition of modern fire department methods; the Ostrich Farm, with sixty trained birds.

The Cliff Dwellers
The Forest City comprising of the Official Photographic Views of the Universal Exposition held in Saint Louis, 1904

The Noble Red Man

The American Indian has come to the World’s Fair in such numbers and such variety of tribes that, if he were still the fierce fighter of the past, he might stand a fair chance of recapturing his native land. On the Pike there is the great Indian Congress, with a whole army of braves. A little farther along are the Esquimaux, including Miss Nancy Columbia, who was born at Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. And there is a band of Moqui Indians, Cliff Dwellers, who are making their first appearance on the exposition stage.

These Pike Indians contribute largely to the amusement of the pleasure-seeking throng; but the student of ethnology and kindred sciences will find a richer field in the live anthropology exhibit that clusters around the Model Indian School. Here are Sioux, the bravest and most truly noble of all the Indians, Navajos, who weave beautiful blankets and other Indians at work making baskets, intricate bead ornament, quaint pottery and many other primitive objects.

In the school the regular work of instructing the younger generation is carried on. On one side of the central hallway of the ground floor are the class rooms where both mental and manual training are provided. On the other side are the booths in which the old Indians ply their simple trades.


(1904) World’s Fair at St. Louis: Louisiana Purchase Exposition. [St. Louis, Mo.?: s.n] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/tmp96024966/.


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