Informally known as The 1904 St. Louis World's Fair,
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, was arguably
the grandest World's Fair ever, hosted by the fourth
largest city in the United States- St. Louis, Missouri,
in 1904. Opened on April 30, 1904, The Fair (delayed
one year), celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana
Purchase which more than doubled the size of the
An army of over 10,000 laborers, head by
designer- George Kessler transformed the Fair's 1,272-acre site, which was located at the present-day western edge of Forest Park and the city of St. Louis as well as the campus of Washington University. It was the largest and most beautiful of the Victorian-era World's Fairs. Ex-mayor of St. Louis, David Rowland Francis, was the main driving force behind securing the Fair's financing, supervising its building, and the gathering of the Exposition's exhibits. He also served as the Exposition's president.
After the construction was finished, there was over 1,500 buildings on the fairgrounds, connected by some 75 miles of roads and walkways. It was said to be impossible to give even a hurried glance at the entire Fair in less than a week. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered some 20 acres.
The Olympics were also held on fairgrounds in 1904.
From April 30 to December 1, 1904, the Fair displayed art, science & technology, and cultures from the entire world. Twelve million plus visitors paid 50 cents admission to enter the Fair. Elaborate buildings from many foreign nations and 43 US states and territories, including, hundreds of manufacturers and companies that showcased US and world history, athletics, the latest manufacturing products and innovations, scientific inventions, the newest agricultural technology, and an overwhelming display of architecture, sculptures, and art treasures.
There were also carnival-type amusements found on the mile-long "Pike;" a fairgoer could ride the worlds largest Ferris wheel (2160 capacity), visit the Tyrolean Alps village or tour parts of France, Jerusalem, the Philippines, Japan and more. They could experience the great Galveston Flood, meet the legendary Geronimo, see epic naval battles and Abraham Lincoln's actual cabin, and even view the Creation of the World. International foods and exhibits were featured throughout the Fair, as well as hudreds of contests.
Some of the attractions that were not completed for opening day gave free passes to entice spectators on "a taste of what good things would come."
When all was completed, it was said that a one needed a solid month to take in all the attractions and exhibits.
Dr. Robert W. Rydell, a professor of history at Montana State University wrote: "The best way to understand the World's Fair is as part of a pageant that was defining what it means to be American. Back in the 19th century, that was not self-evident."
The Fair (as with many early world's fairs), was a tool that the United States utilized in 1904 (as well as 1893), as a nation-building mechanism, designed to give people a sense of what it meant to be an American.
The 1904 World's Fair was the only profitable Fair of the Victorian era. It was the grandest gathering of cultures, knowledge, and exhibits the world had ever seen. The Exposition showcased the enormous potential and growth of a young United States. It has been called- "The Greatest Fair Ever!"
LOUISIANA EXPOSITION STATISTICS:
Title: Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Theme: 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Louisiana Purchase. Location: Forest Park, Missouri.
Fair President: David Rowland Francis.
Exposition Dates: April 30th - December 1st, 1904 (215 days). Exposition Hours: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM. Exposition Area: 1,272 acres Exposition Size: 9,500 feet long, 6,000 feet wide (roughly 2 square miles). Exposition Cost: 40,000,000 - 50,000,000 dollars. Daily Admission: 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for children. Total Attendance: 19,694,855). Average Daily Attendance: 85,197. Opening Day Attendance: 187,793 visitors, 178,423 paid attendees). Best Month Attendance: September (3,651,873).
Number of Days to See Everything: 17-18.
Number of Buildings: 1,576. Fair Transportation: automobile, camel, electric automobiles, electric launches, elephant, gondolas, railroad, turtle, wheel chair.
Total Walkway & Roadways: 75 miles.
Ice Plant Production: 300 tons of ice per day. Fair Security: Jefferson Guards. Landscape Architect: George E Kessler. Trees & Landscaping cost: 1,679,000 dollars.
Participating States and Territories:
Alabama (no state building), Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado (no state building), Connecticut, Florida (no state building), Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska (no state building), Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, (no state building), Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, (no state building), and Philippines, Puerto Rico (no official building), Indian Territory.
Participating Nation Structures:
Afghanistan, Argentine Republic, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ceylon, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Holland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Siam, Sweden, and the United States.
Australia, Bulgaria, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt Ethiopia, Greece, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Persia, Peru Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Domingo, San Salvador, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, Vatican, Venezuela