The Festival Hall was the centerpiece of the Main View at the Fair.
It's breathtaking architecture was the single-most photographed building.
It's exterior was designed by Cass Gilbert of New York, the building was
200 feet in diameter and 200 feet high. The Festival Hall's grand dome
was reportedly larger than St. Peter's basilica in Rome. Evelyn
Longman's “Victory” statue, stood on top of the Festival Hall.
Gilbert was also an architecture juror at the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition in Chicago.
Inside, the auditorium contained seats for 3,500 people (some references
say 4,500), and a stage large enough for hundreds of musicians and
choir. The Chief of Design of the Exposition, E. L. Masqueray, of New
York, created the building's interior.
The Festival Hall was entered as an exhibit through the Palace of Liberal Arts.
he East and West Cascade Restaurants, (similar in
design and in beauty), which could each seat 1,200
patrons bookended the Festival Hall. Behind the
Festival Hall was the Colonnade of States, which
featured a monument to the thirteen states and the
`Indian Territory' that was gained by the United States
from the Louisiana Purchase.
In front of the Festival Hall were the Cascades located
in front of Festival Hall and the Grand Basin. Pumps
pushed 45,000 gallons of water a minute through
man-made falls into the Grand Basin.
The Festival Hall cost 218,430 dollars to build, was the home to the world’s largest pipe organ, and was built by Murray M. Harris Organ Company of Los Angeles California, under the patents of W.B. Fleming. The massive instrument had 10,059 pipes and was capable of 17,179,869,183 distinct tonal effects.
The organ needed 14 train cars to transport the Festival Hall's musical showpiece to the Fair.
Though the organ was played upon daily by celebrated organists such as M. Alexandre Guilmant of Paris, Edwin H. Lemare, and Mr. Clarence Eddy, of New York; Charles Galloway, of St. Louis, was the official organist. The admission to all organ recitals was 10 cents. Special eighty-piece orchestral concerts cost 25 cents.