In 1893, Chicago is host to one of the most recognized and internationally famous world fairs, which honors the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus arriving in America. Granted it was a year later than planned, but it became known for the advancement and development of many companies and ideas. A specially built exposition landscape was created south of the then city limits in Jackson Park in what was the neighboring township of Hyde Park, which was annexed in 1891.
The White City as this world’s fair became know was the first major use of electricity, which lit the World’s Columbian Exposition buildings and grounds from May 1st until October 30, 1893. This Fair is legendary to Chicago history and commemorated by the third star in the Chicago Flag. With our previous episode we learned about the many things that occurred in Chicago in 1893 and here we dive into the Fair and interview historian and writer Jeff Nichols with some snippets from a future interview with historian Paul Durica. This is the first installment in a three part mini-series on the World’s Columbian Exposition and the White City. We hope you will enjoy it.
Links to Research and Historic Sources:
- The World’s Fair Chicago 1893 website offers a great collection of information about the Fair.
- A Bird’s Eye view of the World’s Columbian Exposition is a great digital map on the Library of Congress’ digital archives
- A link to Jeff Nichols author page, including articles in the Chicago Reader
- Paul Durica’s Pocket Guide to Hell, i.e. Chicago
- A history of the Alley L initiated for 1893 Chicago World’s Fair
- A history of the City Beautiful movement
- The H. H. Holmes Hotel constructed by the infamous serial killer made popular in The Devil in the White City by Eric Larsen
- Frederick Douglass’ speech at the World’s Columbian Exposition
- A history on Ellis Bennett from the Chicago Reader, “A Story of Squatters’ Rights, a House from the World’s Fair, and a Remarkably Stubborn Man” by Jeff Nichols
- The book World’s Fair Notes: A Woman Journalist Views Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition, by Marion Shaw
- An article on “Buffalo Bill Goosed the World’s Fair,” by Matt Braun
- Alderman Johnny Powers
- “The War of the Currents” between Thomas Edison and Nicholas Tesla and the lighting the World’s Columbian Exposition
- The New York Times review of the new biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight