Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet Me in St.Louis,Louis, Meet Me at the Fair.


Large billboards like this dotted the land advertising the 1904 World's Fair.
This was the main entrance to the Fair. There was and never has been, anything like the 1904's Worlds Fair.
The  Grand Basin featured  small rivers and boats from around the world.

The Palace of Electricity, marking this Fair the first ever to be lite by Electric Lights. What a slight that must have been. Most people had never seen an electric light,let alone thousands. 

The world's largest birdcage, contained thousands of exotic  birds. It is still in the park in St.Louis today and is a part of the St.Louis Zoo. It is designed so one can walk through and see the birds close up.

This is one of  a few buildings that were designed to  stay after the fair closed. This was the Palace of Art and now it houses the World Class, St.Louis Art Museum.

The Palace or Agriculture, covered 20 acres of land and was at that time the largest building ever made by man.

This columned walkway led to,"The Pike".

In 1904, at the St.Louis World's Fair, this was the biggest Ferris Wheel in the world. 

One of the many posters that were designed and made to advertise the fair.

David Rowland Francis was a big factor in making this the best World's Fair in history.
    The 1904, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St.Louis Worlds Fair,. was an international exposition held in St.Louis,Mo, United States, in 1904. St.Louis hosted a major fair. One that has not been equaled today. The fair celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, one year late. It was delayed one year to allow for full scale participation by more States and Countries. The Fair opened April 30,1904 and closed December 1,1904.
    The fairs 1,200 acre site, designed by George Kesler was located at the present day grounds of Forest Park,the second largest city park in the world, New York Central park being the largest, and Washington University.This was  the largest Worlds Fair to date. There were over 1500 buildings, connected by some 75 miles of roads and walkways. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered some 20 acres,at the time, one of the largest buildings ever made. All the buildings, except for a few, were temporary and were made of wood and plaster.Only 3 are still standing today.Exhibits were staged by 62 foreign nations, the United States and 43 of the then 45 US states. There was also over 50 concession-type amusements found on ."The Pike", that provided educational and scientific displays, from distant and foreign lands and pure entertainment. It has been reported that 19,694,855 people attended that fair.A fast number, when you think that the main transportation at that time was still by horse and buggy.
    A number of foods are claimed to have been invented at this fair. The most popular is the ice cream cone. The story goes, that they ran out of china bowls to serve the ice cream in, and some one grabbed a waffle and rolled it up ,and served the ice cream it it, the rest is history. Other claims are more dubious, including the hamburger and hot dog, peanut butter, ice tea, Dr. pepper,cotton candy,doughnut  and puffed wheat.
   The fair inspired the song ,movie and Broadway Musical, Meet me in St.Louis, Louis.All of which were major hits and remain as favorites to lots of us today..
   The Fair hosted the 1904 Summer Olympic games, the first ones ever to be held in the United States.
   Important visitors to the Fair included: John Philip Sousa, who performed on opening day. Thomas Edison, who flipped the switch, to  light the first ever World's Fair in history ,to be lite with electric lights. Theodore Roosevelt opened the fair by telegram and made an appearance after his re- election  that year. Scott Joplin performed  his now famous, Ragtime. Helen Keller gave a lecture in the main auditorium. Geronimo was displayed in a teepee      David Rowland Francis was the 27th Governor of Missouri, Mayor of St,Louis, US Secretary  of the Interior, US Ambassador to Russia  and President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. He was the biggest promoter of the fair and is rumored to have been the force behind the fairs success. He personally gave 100 acres of land to the city of St.Louis as part of the fair. This land is now a park and bears his name. "Francis Park."
   Now to quote the words of Dorothy,to Rose, on, The Golden Girls,'What the hell has any of this got to do with, My Old Historic House.?" Well David Rowland Francis, Great Grand Son was a friend and neighbor of mine. He and his family had a farm, with a  weekend home, next to the farm where I grew up. Dover,Mo. has now a population of 9. Our farms were connected and I spent many summers making some spending money, mowing the Francis yard and tending the flowers. There children, David and Diana, both went to the same public school that I attended. Diana is still a close friend and is my attorney, she lives in St.Louis. Little David has moved on and I am not sure as to what he is doing these days. In 1989, Big David died and the family sold the farm.There was a public auction and I bought several items. Two of them I am highlighting in today's blog. One is a French, gold gilt love seat, from the French World's Fair  Display. There were several pieces to this set, and most of them are now in the Missouri Governors Mansion  in Jefferson City,Mo. They are in the the third floor ball room.  The love seat, I have, was kept by the Francis family and used at there country home. The other is a 5 foot tall , Temple Vase from the Chinese display. This vase again was saved by the Francis family and used in there country home. I bought both pieces at the Francis auction and have held onto them for all these years. They are both in my entrance hall. They are great reminders of a great fair and a great Missouri family. I am very proud of them.
   I hope you have enjoyed this little journey, back in time,  to the 1904 Worlds Fair. And most of all,my two wonderful pieces from that fair. Please come by anytime for a tour to see these two in person. I will leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.


Love Of Quilts said...

Lots of news I had not know. I have always heard of the 1904 World's Fair. I never new it was on so much land, or that it was lighted. Thanks. I wish I could of seen your front entrance wall paper better, is it toile. I couldn't really tell. Trish

Pat@BPM said...

Fabulous post, Richard!!

Happy Weekend!

Barbara F. said...

Those pieces are very beautiful. This was informative. My friend and I were just talking about the 1964 World's Fair, I was 10 and can remember it fairly well (we went often as a family day trip) but she wasn't born til 13 years later! My parents knew of the 1939 one in Chicago, I believe. Whatever became of these 'World Fairs'? Too costly, I guess.


Oh my goodness darling, what a great story of the electricity fair, you show us such wonderful things about histor and such opulence those days, I loved it! Now the oriental vase is awesome, me I love ariental stuff, you know that. Thanks for visiting my birthday table and for the sweet comment. Have a great Friday evening and weekend. Hugs, FABBY

The White Farmhouse said...

What a fabulous affair that was! How cool to have a bit of it in your home. Love the settee.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Enjoyed the history lesson. I had no idea it was that large. It is amazing that so many attended due to the transportation mode of that time.
Enjoy your weekend.

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Hello!! my dear friend..I love the Mucha poster the best..everything you have is Fab..I pray all is well in your world my friend..give some fur love to Sissy girl from me..Hugs and smiles Gloria

Pearl said...

What a great history lesson and with pictures! The story of your vase and setee is wonderful and they are beautiful. Have a happy wkend my friend. Pearl

Martha said...

Great post -- those are truly two treasures!

Sissysmom said...

What great treasures to have especially since you know the family. I love reading about the 1904 Worlds Fair and am sad that more of the buildings were not permanent and survived. I love the movie Meet me in St. Louis and the ending is so good when they are all at the fair. The only thing I have from the fair is a souvenir glass that I picked up at an antique store years ago for $2.00. I have a small collection of souvenir glasses and this is one of my favorites, next to my Wendell Willkie glass from his run for President. He is from my home town of Elwood, In.

Thanks for another great post and give Sissy Dog a pat on the head from me!

Priscilla said...

So interesting. Love the vase.

Victorian1885 said...

Love the settee! Thanks for sharing the 1904 World's Fair with us too! Have a great weekend.


xinex said...

Wow! It would have been quite an experience to have been there. Having mementos in your
possession is second best. Thanks for sharing. Richard...Christine

Shelia said...

Hi Richard! Well, I know I love the old movie with Judy Garland and those songs - especially - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It always makes me cry.
Now, I always love the info you give us and that vase is gorgeous and huge! I have a ginger jar lamp with a similar pattern.
Thanks for popping in to see me and be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

we three dogs and me said...

Interesting information and pictures. Thanks for showing them. Fantastic vase. How are you doing?

Rhissanna said...

As always, Richard, an amazing post and very informative. That loveseat is so cute it looks like a miniature!

I adore your wallpaper in the hall and Joseph Swan invented and patented the first light bulb. *nods firmly*

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

What an interesting story, Richard! I love it that you have pieces from the fair. We went to the one in New Orleans...a rather controversial one, I think...but I loved it. How nice to have connections to such an historic one! Happy Sunday...hugs...Debbie

Linda McMullan said...

Richard, this is fabulous! I LOVE the black and white photos, and wish I could have ridden that Ferris Wheel. Thanks for the history lesson, and I do love that settee.

Kelly_Deal said...

Hi Richard! Thanks for sharing the history of the World's Fair in St. Louis. I didn't know that the huge aviary at the zoo was part of the fair. I always enjoy strolling through when I'm at that lovely zoo!

Curtains In My Tree said...

I have read other articles about the wonderful fair and how they tore down lots of the displays after words. I have been in the bird house but never the art museum going to put that on my list of things to do in St Louis Mo

I guess I missed seeing that large vase in your entry but a person can't see it all in one day at the Cottrell mansion. I must take a second tour someday before the snow flys

It is so interesting hearing about you knowing these people as a child

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Richard, Your post are always so interesting and I love this one on the Worlds Fair. What a great story about the settee and the vase. I can just imagine the excitment when Edison hit the switch to turn on all those lights. Thanks for sharing.

The French Hutch said...

Such an informative post about the World's Fair. How great to have items in your home. Love the vase, gorgeous colors.

The French Hutch

mississippi artist said...

Very interesting. You have some nice memento too. I would imagine things from that era are getting scarce now.Kiss Sissy for me.

Brigitte said...

Another great history lesson.Thank You so very much for sharing.

Really LOVE your settee and Toile wallpaper.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Richard,
Chinoiserie are a must in any elegant home -your vases are gorgeous. Beautiful nostalgic post, thank you.
And your baskets are precious.

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Richard-

I beg to differ, the 1893 Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago was the best fair ever, lol! I collect things from the Columbian Exposition and have read everything I can about it. I do believe that electric lights premiered in Chicago at our fair 11 years prior!

I would love to have gone to either of these fairs. They look so magnificent with their Beaux Arts buildings!


dr vacuum said...

I returned back to read your post about the St. Louis World's fair. I really enjoyed all the history you have shared with us! It is too bad that most of the buildings were made of plaster as I am sure they were quite the sight to see! As far as my contact info, I prefer to be more of an anonymous person who occasionally comes out of lurking status. I also have no blog, anyone that blogs consistently deserves plenty of praise! I know it takes a lot of time. Thanks for sharing!