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of manufacture of their wares, produced many articles which could be sold to
visitors, in this way lessening their expenses. The latter were not required to
pay as large a proportion from their sales as the former. These sources of revenue
were keenly looked after by the management, and produced returns of over four
millions of dollars, a very handsome and much needed addition to the receipts of
the Fair.

STATUE IN LAKE FRONT PARK

The World's Fair management very generously made a provision for a statue
of Columbus on the Lake Front which in due time appeared mounted on an appro-



86 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

priate pedestal. The figure was of bronze, colossal in size and cost a large sum
of money, but it soon fell under popular condemnation. It was supposed to repre-
sent the great discoverer at the moment when he beheld the shores of the new
world for the first time. The critics were not pleased with the manner in which
he exhibited his emotions, considering that his attitude was lacking in dignity,
that there was an expression of startled surprise in the attitude chosen, instead
of a calm sense of triumph more fitting in such a situation.

Another figure, which was as much lacking in artistic merit, perhaps, as the
one just mentioned, enjoyed a great degree of popularity at that time. It was
that of a goddess with the legend "I Will" displayed on her breast, intended to
represent the spirit and genius of the Chicago people. This, however, was looked
at askance by the art critics and leaders of culture. An amusing suggestion was
made by some wit that the "Lake Front Columbus" and the "I Will" girl ought
to elope together. Columbus did not last very long, and a year or two later was
pulled down from his pedestal and ingloriously flung into the junk heap. But
the "I Will" goddess has survived all unfavorable criticism, and, in the form of
statues and pictures, has been constantly before the eyes of the public to the pres-
ent time. Its first presentation was in the form of a drawing, but it has been often
modeled in clay and cut in stone since that time, and continues to do excellent serv-
ice as one of the stock figures of the cartoonist.

SPECIAL DAYS AT THE FAIR

It was the custom to distinguish certain days during the countinuance of the
Fair by names, which it was supposed would arouse special enthusiasm, and thus
cause an increased attendance. Thus there was an "Illinois day," a "British
Empire day," a "Grand Army day," a "Michigan day," and the like. The twenty-
second anniversary of the great fire occurred on the 9th of October. This day
was set apart as "Chicago day," and it was celebrated by a remarkably large
attendance, amounting to the extraordinary total of 716,881 paid admissions. The
largest attendance on any one day at the World's Fair held in Paris in 1889, was
397,000, which established the record of the highest number of persons ever in
attendance at a World's Fair up to the time of the "Chicago Day" celebration. In
addition to a great number of visitors from elsewhere the people of Chicago turned
out in multitudes.

By railroads, elevated trains, electric cars, cable cars, carriages and every
other sort of vehicle, on foot, in passenger boats, the people poured in all
day and evening at the numerous entrances to the grounds. The celebration of
this day appealed to the pride of almost every inhabitant of the city, and it was
determined to make "Chicago Day" the red-letter day of the Fair. The results
exceeded the most sanguine expectations of the people. While the displays and
amusements were at the height of their attractiveness at that period of the Fair,
the vast concourse of people on that day, moving about on the grounds and in
the buildings, was the greatest sight of all. The broad avenues between the build-
ings were packed, and the buildings were overflowing with humanity, and yet a
more happy and merry lot of human beings was never collected together; the day
fortunately was pleasant and everybody was there to have a good time.



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 87

One who entered the Fair on that day, in company with his son then quite a
youth, relates that after passing through one of the side entrances along the Mid-
way, together they proceeded towards the main portion of the grounds, where they
found the crowd had become very great, though it was by no means a tight jam,
as might have been expected where there were so many. Every one seemed to
have room enough to move about comfortably. The two, in their wanderings,
avoided the more popular attractions and spent some time in the Art Palace, where
they rightly judged it would not be so crowded. From there they took a train
on the "Intramural" and rode to the southern part of the grounds. They visited
the great Machinery Hall, where there seemed to be plenty of room for every
one to see what he wished without any undue pressure. Anticipating that there
would be an enormous throng they had expected to have a struggle to proceed any-
where on their tour, and it therefore seemed a surprise to find the passage so
easy. But when it was desired to procure some refreshments at any of the restau-
rants it was then seen what effect the overwhelming crowds had upon those neces-
sary resorts. However, that event had been anticipated as a possibility and they
got along very comfortably with a lunch that they had brought with them, though
obliged to do without the warm drink they wished to procure. The memories of
those days are among the most delightful of the many happy days that the past
holds for us, even though some of them are flecked with shadows. The unprece-
dented attendance, as it was announced in the papers the next day, surprised
every one of the friends of the Fair, and that is as much as saying the whole
population of Chicago. Never, in its history, was there such a deep and strong
flow of enthusiasm as that felt for everything that would make for the success
of the Fair, by the people of Chicago, and indeed of the whole western country.

THE GREATEST DAY OF ALL

"On the anniversary of an unprecedented calamity," wrote Dr. Selim H. Pea-
body, "rehabilitated Chicago showed that she remembered her destruction only
as the day from which to reckon her grandest achievements, and on that day she
passed nearly three-fourths of a million people through the portals of the Expo-
sition. The avenues, the plazas, the buildings, every acre of the great enclosure,
were filled with an ever-moving throng, which was thoroughly responsive to the
inspiration of the occasion and the environment. There was no symbol of con-
trol, for no control was needed. There was no instance of excess, or intoxication,
or disorder. There was no soldiery, and no police other than the uniformed serv-
ants of the Exposition, who were guides rather than guards. This vast multitude,
intelligent, interested, happy, was itself an exposition of the progress and social
status of an educated and free people, moving amid such scenes of beauty and
such treasures of information."

The New York Tribune of the 10th commented on the event as follows: "It
was Chicago's own day, and right royally did she celebrate it. No previous World's
Fair ever saw such a host of people as swarmed in Jackson Park yesterday, and
the world will be considerably older before this unprecedented scene is repeated.
Chicago doesn't do things by halves. She didn't when she erected the splendid



88 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

group of buildings on the lake shore, and of course she didn't on the day set
apart for her own special glorification. Chicago Day was a stupendous success."

Mr. Higinbotham, the president of the Fair, was highly gratified at the result.
"Everything favored the Fair," he said. "The weather was perfect. I was
prepared for a big crowd, but the most extravagant estimate I had made on the
day's attendance did not reach more than 500,000, and I would have been satis-
fied with that figure, for it would then have been the largest number of persons
ever assembled at one time within an enclosure."

There were many other special days during the progress of the Fair, but none
approached the number in attendance on Chicago day. The attendance on the
Fourth of July was 283,273, which up to that time exceeded all previous records.
Other important days in the attendance record were Illinois Day, (August 24th),
243,951; Wisconsin Day, (September 6th), 175,409; Iowa Day (September 21st),
199,174; Indiana Day (September 27th), 196,423; and Manhattan Day (Octo-
ber 21st), 298,928. Some other "days" exceeded even these figures, but the in-
creasing interest among those visitors who had deferred their visits until the late
days of the Fair was largely responsible for the attendance records shown.

ATTENDANCE AT WORLD'S FAIR

The total attendance at the World's Fair for the six months during which it
was open, from May 1st to October 30th, inclusive, was 21,480,141 ; to which
may be added those admitted on passes, officials, workmen, concessioners, and
exhibitors, 6,059,380; making a grand total of attendance 27,539,521. At the
Paris Exposition of 1889, the total attendance was 28,149,353; but as the rates
of admission were lower, their receipts from admissions were only about six mil-
lions of dollars, whereas those of the Chicago Fair were $10,626,330. The at-
tendance at the Chicago Fair far exceeded that of the Centennial Exhibition in
Philadelphia, in 1876, which was 9,910,996; with receipts of $3,813,724.

COMMENTS OF VISITORS

Walter Besant, the English novelist, writing on the Fair, saw in the throngs
at the Fair a class of people representing the average all-around conditions of
American life. "Let us say then," he says, "that the mass of the people are,
apparently, of that very large class who do not possess the highest culture, the
widest knowledge, the finest education or the largest fortunes in a word, the
Average People. It is for them that this Fair has been designed; every national
work must be designed for the Average People ; not for the few at the top or for
the helpless lot in the gutter, but for the Average.

"Let us remember that many of these people belong to that vast country west
and south and northwest of Chicago which is newly settled, newly populated, and
without noble or venerable buildings. Americans of the east are brought up in,
or near, cities which are full of great buildings, some of which are beautiful and
even venerable. Our own people live among the most beautiful village churches
and the most lovely old houses. Our little island is crammed with ancient memories
and places made sacred, even to the rustics, by mere memories. These Average
People have no such surroundings, and no such memories. Here they see, for the






CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 89

first time, such buildings as they have never before imagined. These lines of
columns; these many statues standing against the deep, blue sky; these domes;
these carvings and towers and marvels reflected in the waters of the Lagoon will
these People ever forget them? When they have seen at night the innumerable
lines of white electric light; the domes outlined with the yellow light; the electric
fountain ; the illuminations ; the gleaming waters will these weary people from
an unlovely Average village can they ever forget the scene? Never. It will
remain in their minds as the Vision of St. John an actual sight of the New
Jerusalem; all the splendors that the apostle describes they will henceforth under-
stand."

"As for Exhibitions things shown I do not love them. Early in life I was
prejudiced against them. It was this way. ... I was born in good time
for the exhibition of 'fifty-one.' I was taken there as one of a small company
of boys. The visit was designed strictly for instruction. Improvement was 'rubbed
in' as they say in ninety-three during the whole of that long, dull, dreary day.
We were told not to forget this and to make a note of that. I remember it is
forty-two years since that day how wonder and delight quickly gave way to
satiety, and that, in its turn, to utter weariness, and that to silent apathy. . . .

"Exhibitions thus became, to my youthful mind, collections brought together
for the instruction and improvement of youth under the pretense of amusement.
I still regard exhibitions with some prejudice, and I still look around I never
fail to find them for the family party trailing round the galleries; for the weari-
ness of the children's limbs, the dragging of their feet, the set mouth and the glaz-
ing eye. What I have desired all my life is an Exhibition without exhibits, and
at Chicago that great and long-felt want is provided.

"There are, I believe, exhibits provided in the buildings, if you choose to go
and look at them. But you need not. For the uncommercial drummer, the bag-
man without his bags, for one who is not in the least interested in machinery,
processes, and the way in which things are made, there need be no exhibits at all,
and one can meditate undisturbed by the intrusion of exhibits, as long as he
pleases, about and around and among the buildings, and the waters and the
walks of the Fairy palaces beside the lake."

Walter Besant, from whom we have just quoted, says further:

"Those English travelers who have written of Chicago dwell upon its vast
wealth, its ceaseless activity, its enormous blocks of houses and offices, upon every-
thing that is in Chicago except that side of it which is revealed in the World's
Fair. Yes, it is a very busy place; its wealth is boundless, but it has been able to
conceive somehow, and has carried into execution somehow, the greatest and most
poetical dream that we have ever seen. Call it no more the White City on the Lake,
it is Dreamland."

"Then again, the poetry of the thing! Did the conception spring from one
brain, like the Iliad? Were these buildings every one, to the unprofessional eye,
a miracle of beauty thus arranged so as to produce this marvelous effect of beauty
by one master brain, or by many? For never before, in any age, in any country,
has there been so wonderful an arrangement of lovely buildings as at Chicago in
the present year of grace! The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were fine. There



90 CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS

were some very fine things in Rome, especially when Nero was emperor and
architect, but the common people saw little of his palace. . . . But nowhere,
at any time, has there been presented to the world any group of buildings so
entirely beautiful in themselves and in their arrangement, as this group at Chi-
cago, which they call the World's Fair."

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS

A writer in the Chicago Record's "History of World's Fair," says, "Most of
the visitors to the Fair grounds must have been impressed by the great contrast
between their southern and northern sections. In the first the effect aimed at is that
of the formal, the academic, the ceremonial. In the second, art makes some conces-
sion to nature and the balance and symmetry required by the classic style give way
to an adjustment that permits a free expression of the informal and the pic-
turesque. The southern section is in the hands of New York and Boston. The
northern section, grouped principally around the wooded island and the lagoons,
has been intrusted chiefly to Chicago. The transition between the two sections
begins through the comparative freedom of design noticeable in the Electricity
and Mining Buildings; the new order is apparent in the informal disposition and
independent draughting of the buildings of transportation, horticulture and fish-
eries among others, and reaches its frankest and freest developments among the
various state buildings at the extreme north of the grounds.

"The same principle of easy transition also affects the landscape gardening
and the various waterways. The stately parapets and terraces of the grand
canal and its branches merge gracefully into the picturesque and winding courses
of the lagoons, whose shores are fringed with a growth of aquatic plants. At
one end of the grounds we find straight promenades bordered with formal parterres
of grass and flowers ; at the other end of the grounds visitors may stroll over the
meandering gravel walks that lead through the natural groves of oak."

Charles Dudley Warner, writing in the Hartford Courant in July, said, "To
one who studies the Fair, two things are special causes of wonder. One is that
this marvelous thing could have been erected in the short time it was erected in.
It is safe to say that no other nation could have done it, and it is safe to say
that no other community in all history, except the Chicago community, could
have done it. In no other city in the United States is there the requisite public
spirit, generosity, and headlong energy. I think that this is y perhaps, the greatest
exhibition that America makes at the Fair. It is an achievement, so far as I
know, unparalleled. . . . The other wonderful thing is the mind that is put
into the conception of the scheme and the administrative detail with which it is
carried out. Nothing seems to have been neglected. The more we study the de-
tails of administration in any branch, the more we are impressed with this."

"THIS SURPASSES EVERY DREAM"

Mr. William Dean Howells, writing in the New York Sun of October 22d.
said of the Fair: "It is the greatest thing that ever came into my life. It gives
verity and value to everything. I have not been in Greece, and my conception
of antiquity is rather of the grandeur of Rome than of the glory of Greece, but



CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 91

this surpasses every dream. There never was and there may never be again
anything so beautiful. Whatever may be done in the future, such an undertaking
could never have been carried out before in this country, for we had not the tal-
ented men to take hold of it. I think it was such a big conception, that of loosen-
ing the hands of the artists and leaving them free to carry out their own ideas
without cramping them by lack of sufficient means, or narrowing them to some
preconceived idea. There was no niggardly competition, but rather emulation
toward the highest and best. And the result is that the aesthetic interest in the
Fair has quite eclipsed the industrial, which is a great thing for America."

A writer in "Harpers' Weekly" commented as follows: "It may be said without
exaggeration that neither antiquity nor the middle ages nor modern times have
brought forth anything comparable to this majestic architectural harmony." The
writer laments the passing away of all these magnificent structures. "Like a
gorgeous dream of human genius it has arisen, and like a vision it will pass
away. It will live, however, as a glorious memory, and long be spoken of by
this and coming generations as one of the greatest marvels of the closing nineteenth
century."

In closing the account of the wonderful Exposition we realize that whatever
we may have said here of it has been totally inadequate and incomplete, that its
glorious reality far transcends the power of words to describe. W T e have been
able to mention a few things only that seemed to be necessary to give the reader
some faint conception of its beauty, its splendor, its "far-flung line" of glories,
that are a precious memory to every one who beheld them.

Some of those who were filled with the spirit of the vision, in later years were
invited to attend other great expositions; and the remark was often heard from
such persons that, after the Chicago World's Fair, one had no desire to witness
another of the kind that might dim or confuse the impressions there received.
There is a beautiful fable that has come down to us from the ancients, which illus-
trates this desire to remain blind to all further spectacles and oblivious to their
inspirations after a supreme experience of this kind. There was a hunter named
Tiresias, who while wandering upon the side of Mount Helicon, in the heat of
summer, sought to quench his thirst at the fountain called Hippocrene, sacred to
the Muses. At the same moment Pallas Athene, the goddess of W T isdom, called
by the Romans Minerva, in company with another goddess named Chariclo, who was
the mother of the hunter, was also at the fountain; and thus Tiresias ' inadvertently
beheld them. For this he was immediately struck blind, in accordance with the
laws of Saturn which declared that whosoever should behold the gods against
their will should suffer a heavy penalty. When Tiresias had fallen into this
calamity, Chariclo besought Minerva with tears to bestow upon her son some bless-
ing or gift in compensation for his affliction. Minerva therefore endowed Tiresias
with the gift of prophecy and length of days. She even caused his prudence and
wisdom to continue after he had entered among the shades, so that an oracle spake
from his tomb. And hence Nonnus, in his writings, introduces Actaeon exclaim-
ing "that he calls Tiresias happy, since without dying, and with the loss of his
sight merely, he had beheld the goddess Minerva, and thus, though blind, could
forevermore carry her image in his soul."



CHAPTER XL VI

SOME IMPORTANT RESULTS OF THE WORLD'S FAIR

LOCATING THE ART INSTITUTE TERMS OF OCCUPATION OF ITS PRESENT SITE THE

FIELD COLUMBIAN MUSEUM THE CONTRIBUTION OF MARSHALL FIELD CONTRI-
BUTIONS MADE BY OTHERS RELATIONS OF THE MUSEUM WITH THE PARK COMMIS-
SIONERS LOCATING THE MUSEUM FORMATION OF ITS COLLECTION DR. PEA-

BODY'S REVIEW OF THE EXPOSITION THE WORLD'S PROGRESS ILLUSTRATED EDU-
CATIONAL VALUE OF THE EXPOSITION ITS PRACTICAL AND ARTISTIC VALUE

LANDSCAPE AND ARCHITECTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS THE ARTISTIC VALUE OF THE

COURT OF HONOR WORLD'S FAIR RETROSPECTIONS PROPOSAL TO CONTINUE THE

FAIR FINALLY DECIDED ADVERSELY DEATH OF THE ELDER MAYOR HARRISON

DEEP GLOOM ON THE CLOSING DAY CAUSED THEREBY A SERIES OF FIRES CONSUME

THE GREAT BUILDINGS AFTER CLOSE OF THE FAIR DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FIRES

SCENES AFTER THE FIRES SEVENTEEN YEARS AFTER THE FAIR.

THE ART INSTITUTE

HAT part of the original plan for locating the whole or part of the Fair
on the Lake Front was finally modified to a contribution towards the
building of the proposed Art Institute on that site. The plans for a
permanent building had been matured by the managers of the Art In-
stitute, and in aid of this the Exposition appropriated two hundred
thousand dollars, with the understanding that the Art Institute, with the assistance
of this appropriation, would construct a building at a cost of six hundred thousand
dollars, which should be used by the World's Congress Auxiliary during the Ex-
position season, and at the close become the property of the Art Institute.

In 1892, the Art Institute, which had been incorporated in 1879, sold its build-
ing on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren street for $425,000, and
was therefore prepared to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the Co-
lumbian Exposition to obtain a footing upon the Lake Front. "The Columbian
Exposition had determined to expend $200,000 upon a temporary building upon
the Lake Front to be used for World's Congresses," says Mr. W. M. R. French, in
the historical sketch of the Art Institute, printed in 1904. "It was proposed by
the officers of the Art Institute that they should be allowed to add to this sum such
amounts as they could raise, and erect a permanent building, which, after serving
the purposes of the World's Congresses, should be permanently occupied as a
museum by the Art Institute.

"By city ordinance, passed in March, 1891, permission was given for the erec-
tion of such building upon the Lake Front, opposite Adams street. Between Feb-

92




CHICAGO: ITS HISTORY AND ITS BUILDERS 93

ruary, 1892, and May, 1893, the present museum building was completed after the
plans of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge, architects. During the construction, an in-
junction was issued, restraining the city from allowing the erection of any build-
ing upon the Lake Front, but it was dissolved upon a rehearing, mainly upon the
ground that the Legislature of Illinois, by an act of 1890, had authorized the city
to permit the erection of buildings connected with the Columbian Exposition upon
the Lake Front, and to retain some of them permanently.

"By this decision, and under circumstances quite exceptional, the Art Institute
was firmly established in its rights upon the Lake Front. The cost of the original
building was $648,000, including two temporary halls removed at the end of the
Fair, costing $27,000. Of this sum the Columbian Exposition paid $200,000, and



Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.3) → online text (page 13 of 56)