Chicago’s World’s Fair: The Remains of the Day

Not much remains of Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition.

The site of the Columbian Exposition is on the right, now known as Jackson Park. The Museum of Science and Industry sits at the north end, the lagoon and Wooded Isle in the center of Jackson Park. The Midway Plaisance, site of the Ferris Wheel runs east-west for a mile. Washington Park sits on the west end of the Midway and is the proposed site for the Olympic Stadium should Chicago be successful in its bid to capture the 2016 Olympics.
Although the Palace of Fine Arts had a plaster facade like the other buildings in the White City, it was the lone building with a brick underbelly. Consequently, it is the only White City building standing today. Housing first the Columbian Museum and then Chicago’s Field Museum, the Palace eventually became the home of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Recast in limestone during the 1930’s, the museum continues to be one of Chicago’s premier attractions.

Over the years, some of the statuary which first graced the grounds of the White City has been recreated in Chicago on a smaller scale.

World’s Columbian Exposition: Statue of Bull, West Side Grand Basin
Statue of Bull, West Side Grand Basin

Replicas of these two statues now stand on the grounds of the Garfield Park Conservatory

The statue of The Republic at the World’s Fair.
The Republic
A one-third replica of The Republic marks the former site of the Administration Building.
Related Reading:
  • Touring the Chicago World’s Fair: The Court of Honor in Pictures
  • More Pictures From the White City
  • The Original Ferris Wheel in Pictures
  • Chicago’s World’s Fair: The Remains of the Day
  • Chicago’s World’s Fair: One Last Photo

    1. What a great job you did with those walking tours. After reading “Devil in the White City”, I was left wanting to see photographs of the Columbian Exposition. This was immensely satisfying.

    2. I, too learned much about the Columbian Exposition from Erik Larson’s book, “The Devil In The White City”. But I would encourage interested parties to research further than just this one source. Though his book is well researched and footnoted, there are thousands of other interests that were served by the fair: How much money was made by the fair? How was it spent and who profited? How did the fair affect the development of surface rail systems in Chicago? What are the crime statistics from the fair, John Holmes contributions notwithstanding? What was Edison’s response to the fair’s decision to use Alternating Current electricity, instead of Edison’s Direct Current system? What physical souvenirs are left in place or displayed elsewhere in Chicago? How did local and national politics influence the fair?
      “The Devil In The White City” intrigued me enough to find out more. And I compliment Brian Karpuk’s blog-site for the information and photos he’s brought to light.

    3. Thank you for providing the walking tour of the World’s Fair 1893..It brought me back to 1893 while I read the book “Devil in the White City”…I was able to view the inspired city first-hand…it saddens me that so little remains of the fair…such a fantastic creation, yet built to be almost disposable..such grandeur lost in a blip of time….


    5. I came to your blog via the Brooklyn Museum pictures in the commons at Flickr. Thanks for the historical information on the Jackson Park area. The museum of Science and Industry was a favorite place to visit when I was a child, but I had no idea that it was part of the Columbian Exposition till I read The Devil and the White City.

    6. I just finished Devil in the White Ciy. This was facinating to me and now I want to do more research and gather all the info about what was not put in the book. I am sure my great grandparents visited the fair. I will have fun with this search.

    7. i am reading “devil in the white city” and also have become intrigued by the fair and chicago…great book and so much to learn about our history…thank you for providing some answers to my questions and helping me see what i am reading about.

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