Humanities Time Capsule: Columbian Exposition of 1893

Columbian Exposition Chronology

Site: Jackson Park on Lake Michigan--7 miles southeast of City Hall, on over 600 acres

Cost: $31 million

Attendance: 27,529,400 during the 179 days of the exposition (716,881 attend on Chicago Day, October 9)

July 1888:
Judge M. Shephard issues a call to all the "great social and political clubs of Chicago in order to consider hosting an international fair." "Resolution: That the representatives of the clubs of Chicago, in meeting assembled, form an organization in order to hold a World's Fair in the City of Chicago to commemorate the discovery of America by Columbus four hundred years ago."
April 1890:
President Benjamin Harrison signs "An act to provide for celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of American by Christopher Columbus, by holding an international exhibition of arts, industries, manufactures, and the products of the soil, mine, and sea, in the city of Chicago, in the State of Illinois."
August 1890:
F. L. Olmstead and Company are named Consulting Landscape Architects of the Exposition by the Committee on Grounds and Buildings.
November 8, 1890:
Daniel Burnham is named Chief of the Construction Department.
October 21,1892:
Dedication Ceremonies
May 1, 1893:
Opening Day for 35 exposition corporation buildings, 38 state buildings, and 18 buildings of foreign countries (49 national exhibits)
May 15, 1893:
Opening of World Congress Auxiliary: Women's progress, public press, medicine and surgery, temperance, moral and social reform music, literature, education, engineering, art, government, science and philosophy, labor, social and economic science, religion, Sunday rest, insurance and banking, public health, agriculture and real estate. [1245 sessions, 656,500 in attendance, over 1 million documents distributed]
October 30, 1893:
Assassination of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison and Closing of the World's Columbian Exposition
Note: The Burnham and the Wells artifacts are designed both to complement and to contrast with each other. Each artifact in the Burnham capsule has a parallel artifact in the Wells capsule. To access the parallel text, simply click on the link at the bottom of each text section.

View Burnham Artifacts
View Wells Artifacts

Picture source: Trumbull White and Wm Igleheart, The World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, (J. H. Moore & Co., 1893) 107.