The highest grossing military concession, the Boer War.
The attraction was the Battle of Transvaal reenacted for Fair
spectators twice a day. Located on fifteen acres, east of the
Palace of Agriculture, this show depicted the South African war
1899-1902 Boer War. 600 soldiers (some who took place in the
Boer Wars and wore and used the actual uniforms and weapons,
to safely reenact the battle. They also employed 500 horses,
mules and oxen in a backdrop of Swazis, Boer, Bushman, Matabele, and Zulu lands.
Besides the battle,the show included a parade, sporting events, and horse racing. In total, three battles were showcased, including the Battle of Colenso.
In reality, the Boer war was really the second of it's kind, the conflict was also called- The Second War of independence and the The South African War. The war consisted of the British Empire against the independent six colonies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic).
The idea for the show was conceived by one Captain A. W. Lewis.
General Piet Cronje, the actual Boer military leader, commanded the Boer veterans against the British troops in the reenactment.
A highlight of the proceedings was General DeWet's escape on
horseback, jumping off a 'cliff' into a river. This was performed by
an actor who made 16 dollars a month.
Private events were held at this concession.
Though most of The Pike, and especially the Palaces and exhibits
had very little problems in terms of criminal activity, The Pike's
Boer War exhibit was the backdrop for two above-the-norm
instances within a day of each other.
On November, 11, 1904, Ernest Chriss,- a Jefferson Guard
(the company that handled the security at the Fair), shot and killed
John Backhouse, a former British officer employed in the Boer War
exhibit. Chriss was in the process of breaking up a fight among
the former Boer and British soldiers. During the exchange, his
revolver went off, killing Backhouse. Chriss was then badly beaten
by the angry ex-soldiers.
The next night at 8:30, two masked bandits held up the Fair's
miniature train just outside the entrance to the Boer War attraction.
Armed with revolvers, the bandits stopped the train as it traveled
along The Pike. Though no one was injured, three passengers
were robbed of money and valuables worth about 100 dollars (they
were later reimbursed by the owner of the railroad).
Horses were trained to fall (as if they were shot), and limp to heighten the reality of the battle.