Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Fair Opened -- May 1, 2018

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
125 years ago today, on 01-May-1893, the World's Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago.  Even though it missed slightly, it was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World. This article is from the 02-May-1893 Roanoke Times. "Esquiman" means "Eskimo," which is a term not used nowadays.

Previous Expositions Relegated to the Rear.
Cleveland Touched the Button the Machinery Did the Rest.
Great Energy Displayed In Putting the Ground In Presentable Shape -- Tlie Inaugural Programme Carried Out -- Majestic and Harmonious Arrangement of the Entire Scene -- Two Years Ago a Marsh, Now the Scene of Bewildering Evidences of the Aesthetic Progress of the Nation -- Rivalry Between France and Germany -- Description of Some of the Magnificent Buildings.

CHICAGO, May 1 --
The great fair is on. The inaugural programme of the first began the formal opening of the most stupendous exposition the world has ever beheld. For six months to come people will flock to this city from every quarter of the earth, and nobody is rash enough to predict failure on any of the lines mapped out by the directors.

Great energy was displayed in the last hours before opening to put the unfinished buildings in presentable shape, and the result was in a measure satisfactory.

Director General Davis issued an order that all exhibits must be in place before 12 o'clock (midnight) Sunday. After that hour no teams were allowed to enter the grounds carrying exhibits, and all energies were devoted to cleaning up the grounds and placing them in readiness for opening day.

It is understood, of course, that after Monday exhibits will be received, but in some of the buildings installation work will be permitted only at night.

Inaugural Ceremonies.

The inaugural ceremonies began with the rendering of the "Columbian March" by the orchestra, after which the Rev. W. H. Mllburn, D. D., chaplain of the house of representatives, offered up prayer. Miss Jessie Goutthor of Chicago followed in a dramatic rendition of "The Prophecy," a poem by W. A Croffut of Washington. Then the orchestra played an overture from "Rienzi."

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
The address of Director General Davis, while not long, was attentively listened to and warmly received. After Mr. Cleveland had finished his speech and President Palmer had announced the completion of the buildings and their acceptance from the officers of the exposition, Mr. Cleveland proceeded to touch the button that set the vast machinery of the fair in motion.

This was the signal for great applause from those present, and the orchestral music was drowned by the tumult.

When tho president touched the button 700 flags and banners on the main building broke out, and the stars and stripes waved over an open fair.

There was a man for each flagstaff on the main buildings and grounds. The method of unfurling was the same as that employed upon men-of-war.

There was no choral music at the opening. In the erection of the platform someone omitted a place for the chorus, and the music, therefore, consisted of orchestral pieces only.

The Parade to the Grounds.

The grand stand, which filled up the east entrance to the Administration building and projected out on either side in front of the pavilions, seated 2,000 invited guests, 600 musicians and 250 newspaper representatives, besides the 50 distinguished guests who were on the little platform which had been thrown out in front for President Cleveland.

The rendezvous of the various organizations and carriages that had place in the parade was in the vicinity of the Lexington hotel. The column marched on Michigan avenue along the Grand boulevard to Fifty-first street.

it proceeded thence through South park by way of Bayard avenue to Palmer avenue, thence to the western entrance of Midway plaisance. At this point Colonel Rice, commanding the Columbian guards, met the column und guided it to Jackson park, thence to the Administration building, where the column dispersed.

After luncheon the president was escorted to the Manufactures building by Director General Davis, where he was introduced to the members of the foreign commission, who were grouped in the center of the building, and visited them in their sections. He then passed out to the Government building and afterwards was driven around the grounds.

A Spectacle of Peaceful Triumph.

Never since the world began has there been a nobler spectacle of peaceful triumph than that which was revealed on the shore of Lake Michigan when the nations of both hemispheres offered for comparison the results of their civilization. For the first time America squarely challenges the older countries in every branch of human knowledge and activity. Hitherto her victories have been in the line of material development -- the form of government alone excepted. Americans have amazed Europe by their inventive enterprise and undreamed of energy, But in the things that are born of imagination and an ordered love of beauty the western republic has been content to sit at the feet of strangers until now.

This exposition marks no epoch for America save in art. The stride of American art as revealed at Chicago is stupendous, mysterious. Reaching out for a mile along the lake is an architectural vision of indescribable grandeur and beauty. It is not alone the individual character of the buildings, but also the majestic and harmonious arrangement of the entire scene that reveals the pure and high artistic feeling animating the work -- the relation of each building to the other in purpose, color, proportion and outline, the variety of composition and the well nigh perfect unity of the whole.

Bewildering Evidence of Progress.

Instead of a mighty display of mere material force of mechanical progress there suddenly bursts upon the sight bewildering evidences of the aesthetic progress of the nation. In this immense city of white palaces, built on a naked stretch of sandy marsh in two years, there is unveiled a new America. A soul has been born. The mechanic and the merchant are awed as they look upon the great central court, with its splendid stretches of architecture, its rostral columns, peristyles, domes, sculptured groups and fountained terraces, all mirrored in the beautiful basin.

Here rows of delicate Corinthian shafts, from the temple of Jupiter Stator unite the majestic walls that surround agriculture and commerce; there the gilded dome of the Administration building rises against the blue sky out of a multitude of glorified symbols, and a full half mile away stands the noble Art palace, an architectural dream realized, with its miles of pictures and statues gathered from every corner of the earth.

A little over two years ago the site of the exposition was practically a wild marsh. Today it contains several hundred buildings. Director General Davis estimates the wealth represented by the buildings and exhibits at something like $150,000,000.

Fifty nations and 37 colonies are represented. Added to these are the United States government and the various states and territories of the union.

Rivalry of France and Germany.

Roughly speaking, the grounds contain 600 acres. They are a mile long and about half a mile broad at the narrowest part. The distance front the middle of Chicago is seven miles. One side of the grounds runs along the great lake and the other side faces hundreds of claptrap hotels and stores hurriedly erected at the smallest possible cost. There, is a strip of land 600 feet wide and a mile long extending from the main grounds eastward, and this is the Midway plaisance, which contains the sideshows and private enterprises. The whole exposition will be open from an early hour in the morning until 10 o'clock at night and the price of admission 50 cents.

The first great, fact developed by the exposition is the rise of America to the rank of an art producing nation. That stands out clear and unmistakable. It is written all over the buildings, without and within.

Everywhere in the present exposition can be seen fierce and open rivalry between France and Germany. Their ill concealed anxiety to hide their plans from each other in the formative stage of the fair has been the cause of quiet laughter on all sides. The result of it all is that France easily leads Germany in the fine arts, but falls to the rear in the mechanics. In the other departments they stand about equal, except that the finer taste of the French is quite apparent. Later on there will be a bitter social rivalry. The Germans have built a handsome structure for themselves, and it is to be presented to the city of Chicago at the close of the fair. Not far away is the home of the Frenchmen, made more attractive by relics of Lafayette, Rochambeau and others whose swords served the American republic.

Three Great Divisions.

The exposition is marked off into three great divisions. At the north end is the Art palace, surrounded by the separate buildings of the states, territories and foreign governments. This is the social department, and millions of dollars will be spent in the entertainment of visitors and in formal banquets. Going southward are to be found three-quarters of a mile of structures representing manufactures, machinery, electricity, mining, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and minor material interests, with buildings here and there representing women, music and the government of the grounds. The third division is the Midway plaisance, dedicated to Oriental villages, dancing girls, balloons, bear pits, glass blowers, panoramas, barbaric theaters and everything that goes to make up the side show life of an International exposition. Here alone will the visitor be forced to pay extra. Outside of the Midway plaisance everything is free after the general admission fee is paid, with the sole exception of the Esquiman village and the cave of the cliff dwellers.

It was the genius of Frederick Law Olmstead that turned the waters of Lake Michigan into lagoons, ponds, basins and canals with bridges and terraces to beautify the place. Every main building can be reached by water. There are 50 electric launches and scores of gondolas oared by picturesque Venetians. It costs 35 cents a trip on the launches and the gondolas can be employed at so much an hour.

An intermural elevated electric railway penetrates to all part of the grounds, and visitors can make their rounds with great rapidity if they do not care to walk.

Indescribable Pomp and Splendor.

The pomp and splendor of the Administration building is beyond description. It is in the form of four massive pavilions, united and crowned by a mighty golden dome that flashes 250 feet above the ground. Each of the pavilions is 84 feet square and the dome is 120 feet in diameter.

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
The colossal entrances are rich in sculptures, and the piers of the pavilions are crested with statuary. This is the seat of government. In the four pavilions are the headquarters of the director general, the foreign department and the department of publicity and promotion. Here the purely executive work is carried on, the construction headquarters being in the service building. During the construction period Director General Davis has commanded more than 15,000 men at a time, and Major Handy, of the bureau of publicity, has supplied a list of 70,000 correspondents. From this building messages are going out constantly to the most remote corners of the world.

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
It must be understood that the exposition is a city, with a complete government. There are over 50,000 exhibitors, and two persons for each interest represented would give, a fixed population of 100,000. There are well organized and equipped police and fire departments. The Columbian guard is an independent body of police numbering in the neighborhood of 2,000 men, largely made up of ex-soldiers. This body is commanded by Colonel Edmund Price of the United States army, and all of its superior officers are detailed from the army. The men are uniformed like soldiers, wear short swords and are under strict military discipline. They present a fine appearance scattered about the grounds.

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
Lofty towers and splendid colonnades give an air of graneur to Machinery hall, although the cathedral effect is too marked for such a building and the attempt to blend the Spanish renaissance and modern railway depot architecture can hardly be considered a success.

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893
One impressive feature is the wonderful battery of 30 big boilers built side by side and joined together. They are all water tube boilers and represent the seven styles used in America. This row of monsters can furnish 30,000 horse power.

The spectator is apt to be mystified when he notices the spotless fronts of the boilers and engines and the snow white costumes of the firemen. There is not a fleck of dirt in sight.

The secret of it is that the furnaces are fed with petroleum, which is blown into them in an atomized form and instantly converted into flame.

This oil is pumped through pipes from Whiting, Ind., so that the man who really controls the acres of machinery and miles of electricity of the exposition is the Hoosier in the far away oil fields who turns on or shuts off the supply at will. The latent force that flows out of the bowels of the earth in Indiana continues in an unbroken line of change from boiler to engine, from engine to dynamo and so on until it reaches its crowning glory in an electric searchlight that illuminates the country 60 miles away. The battery of boilers and the fuel system are the chief points of interest in the whole display. The boilers alone take up 1,200 feet of space on the south side.

Will Glorify American Genius.

America will make two revelations to the world at Chicago in her art and electrical displays. Out if the myriad forms beauty will come no new school of art. The people of the western world will simply prove their right to rank with the older nations. But electricity, the giant captured from the heavens and reduced to domestic slavery on earth, will glorify the genius of American mechanics.

Not a wire will be allowed above the ground, the circuits being all established by means of wooden tunnels laid to every part of the grounds and buildings, and through these subways the wires are carried on insulators fastened to the two sides, having a space in the middle large enough for attendants to pass.

This whole system is a miniature of the subway system which Professor Barrett, who is also chief electrician of Chicago, has developed for the city.

There are 7,000 arc lights for service, 2,500 of which are about the grounds and the balance inside of the buildings. The lamps on the grounds, are placed upon ornamental iron posts 15 feet high at intervals of about 50 feet. They are located with special reference to the landscape arrangement and the lines of the buildings. As the World's fair is a small city within itself, a fair idea is given of are light service for municipal lighting. No attempts at outside arc decorations have been made, excepting in the cases of a few of the state buildings, where they have undertaken to light up the statuary for night views.

Nothing to Thank Corporations For.

The railroad men say they don't believe there will be any great difficulty in accommodating the crowds bound for the World's fair. It is not expected that there will be any enormous numbers of passengers, though the travel will be of course very much larger than ordinarily. One of the reasons that will keep down the travel is the fact that the price of railroad tickets has been little reduced.

Practically speaking, the railroads have made no reduction in the fare. If a man wants to get to the windy city in any kind of style and at a decent rate of speed he must pay as much during the fair as he has paid at any time within a year.

On the ordinary first class trains of the first-class roads the. fare one way is $20 from New York. The price of the sleeper all the way through is $5, making the total $25. On the "limited" trains there is an excess charge of $3, bringing the cost, of the entire ticket up to $28. All of these tariffs are, of course, exclusive of meals which in the dining cars cost $1 each.

The only concession made by the railroads is this: On trains that take 36 hours to make the journey special excursion tickets are issued at the price of $32. On trains that do the trip in less than 36 hours these tickets are not good. This is recognized everywhere as a pretty grasping way of doing business and the public are in a position to thank the corporations for nothing.

Roanoke Times, 02-May-1893

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