In an act of the general assembly of the State of Ohio a bill was passed May 12, 1902, creating a commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and appropriating $75,000 for the erecting and maintaining of a State building.
For the appointment of a commission to erect a building on the grounds of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and to take charge of the building and exhibits that might be placed therein, the governor was authorized to appoint within thirty days after the passage of the act, a commission of seven residents of the State of Ohio and one executive commissioner, who lead the commission.
It was the duty of the commission to decide upon plans and specifications for an Ohio Building to cost not exceeding $35,000.
The building was erected on the southeastern end of the fair grounds, on that part known as the Terrace of States, at a cost of $35,250.
The structure was designed solely for the comfort and convenience of the people of the State, and no effort was made to exhibit any of the resources of the State.
President Francis especially complimented the commission for its promptness in having the building erected, for on the opening day of the exposition the Ohio Building was ready for occupancy and the president himself was the first to register his name.
While Ohio as a State maintained only one exhibit in the Mines and
Metallurgy Building, consisting chiefly of clay and its products,
over 150 private individuals and corporations throughout the State added to the prominence and magnitude of the exposition by installing exhibits, which were maintained by themselves.
In the Palaces of Electricity, Machinery, and Transportation the State was represented by private exhibitors. In the Liberal Arts Building, Ohio exhibitors were exhibited in the Department of Anthropology, where Ohio took the grand prize (and special gold grand prize by Prof. W.C Mills- the librarian and curator of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society), for his revealing of the livelihood and the characteristics of the peoples (and relics), taken from the historical mounds of the State.
Ohio's entry was situated within a short distance of the southeast entrance to the grounds. Shaded by large oaks, maples and beach, its French Ionic columns created a stately and original design. The building covered an area of 52 by 188 feet. Entrance to the main floor was gained by passing between six large columns.
Inside, a reception hall contained a room for the ladies, and included a side room that held three hospitable beds for fatigued or injured fair-goers. The opposite end of the building included a gentleman's reception and Dutch smoking rooms.
A highlight was a well-lit portrait of the late President McKinley. Portraits of the President Garfield and other famous Ohioans were displayed.
On the second floor, there was a club-room, a committee room, and sleeping quarters for the Commissioners and the Governor.
It was dedicated with much pomp on May 2.