SH Archive 1904: the destruction of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis

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The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs for a total of sixty-eight million francs.

The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (plus New Orleans); and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

3070818-AB.jpeg
Why was this land Frances' to sell in the first place?

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904

A century later the proud people of St Louis see fit to hold a spectacular celebration to commemorate 100 years since their inception. In the intervening years St Louis had gone from a small traders stop strategically positioned along a bend in the Mississippi River to a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis.

January 10, 1899 - Louisiana Purchase Convention convention of 90 delegates from states & territories of Louisiana Purchase met for purpose of considering commemoration of purchase. Delegates decided that nothing short of an international exposition would suit and decided that St. Louis, largest and most accessible city in area, would be the proper location. Missouri Historical Society also became involved in the effort.

With a stroke of their ink quills, the Delegates set in motion a course of event that over the next 5 years would see the construction of the greatest Exposition America had ever seen to date. A one George Edward Kessler was chosen as the architect.


Le Architect.

220px-George_Kessler.jpg
George Edward Kessler (July 16, 1862 – March 20, 1923)
was an American pioneer city planner and landscape architect.

Wikipedia says:
"Over the course of his forty-one year career, George E. Kessler completed over 200 projects and prepared plans for 26 communities, 26 park and boulevard systems, 49 parks, 46 estates and residences, and 26 schools. His projects can be found in 23 states, 100 cities, in places as far flung as Shanghai, New York, and Mexico City.

A popular myth says that Frederick Law Olmsted, who had died the year before the Fair, designed the park and fair grounds. There are several reasons for this confusion. First, Kessler in his twenties had worked briefly for Olmsted as a Central Park gardener. Second, Olmsted was involved with Forest Park in Queens, New York. Third, Olmsted had planned the renovations in 1897 to the Missouri Botanical Garden several blocks to the southeast of the park. Finally, Olmsted's sons advised Washington University on integrating the campus with the park across the street."

Some confusion over who was in fact responsible for the initial concept. Nothing suspicious but let us read on...

"...In 1901 the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Corporation selected prominent St. Louis architect Isaac S. Taylor as the Chairman of the Architectural Commission and Director of Works for the fair, supervising the overall design and construction. Taylor quickly appointed Emmanuel Louis Masqueray to be his Chief of Design. In the position for three years, Masqueray designed the following Fair buildings: Palace of Agriculture, the Cascades and Colonnades, Palace of Forestry, Fish, and Game, Palace of Horticulture and Palace of Transportation, all of which were widely emulated in civic projects across the United States as part of the City Beautiful movement. "

1525112881815.png
"Museum of Science and Industry, in Jackson Park, Hyde Park, Chicago IL, USA 2008"
Courtesy of Emmanuel Louis Masqueray -apparently.

Curious to find that an entire generation of grecco-roman buildings popping up around this time period. Sure multiples of the same building could have been built at this time or just as possible they already existed.

The temporary city.

U-S-History.COM has this to say about the construction of the Louisiana purchase Exposition:

"Nearly all the structures built during the fair were intended to be temporary. They were therefore constructed of staff, a mixture of plaster of Paris and hemp fibers. Following the fair, many of the structures were razed. Some of the buildings were spared, and they exist today."

OK hemp sacks and plaster, bear this in mind as this is idea of burlap sacks and plaster crops up again and again when investigating these expos which we'll cover in later articles. Now back to Kessler...
Kessler says, now this is important:

"Planning", wrote Kessler, "should be comprehensive. Even though a grand urban design could only be realized in bits and pieces, and over a long period of years, still we should always know where we are going. Each bit and piece should be understandable by reference to the great plan of which it is a part."

This was a man who built for longevity. He made no move with out firstly considering the future. "Future proofing" as they say nowadays. Are we supposed to believe that he developed an entire city out of hemp sacks and plaster? I'm no expert on building but how would that even be possible. Sure the internal frames could be wood and so on but look at the smooth finish on these walls...

5400ad403ced0.image.jpg
Look closely. those are people standing up on that building.
That's either some very strong hemp sack or some very brave people.


Build it and they will come.

October 1901 - Ground plan with original buildings approved. Four principal executive divisions were organized - Director of Exhibits, Exploitation, Works, and Concessions & Admissions. Twelve main exhibit palaces recommended for erection:

  • Education 277,945 sq. ft.
  • Art, Four Sections (Main, E, W, S)198,448
  • Liberal Arts 393,760
  • Varied Industries 447,900
  • Manufactures 588,000
  • Machinery 412,800
  • Electricity 290,200
  • Transportation 684,254
  • Agriculture 800,000
  • Horticulture 240,000
  • Forestry and Fish and Game 180,000
  • Mines and Metallurgy 395,592

card00740_fr (1).jpg
Wow looks like a whole lotta' fun.

  • Construction started: December 20, 1901
  • Construction finished: No Information.
  • Total construction time: No Information.
  • Opening: Initially July 1, 1902. Postponed until April 30, 1904
  • Closure: December 1, 1904
  • Total Expo operation time: 185 days (closed Sundays)
  • Visitors: 19,694,855
  • Ticket Cost 1904\(2018): US$0.50\(US$13.45)
  • Cost of the project in 1904\(2018): US$15,000,000\(US$403,503,095.26)
  • Profits 1904\(2018): US$6,402,308\($172,223,406.32)
  • No. Buildings constructed: over 1,500 buildings
  • Site of venue: Forest park, St Louis, 200-acre (4.9 km2)
  • Demolished: No information
  • Remaining buildings: (Palace of Fine arts - Currently St Louis Art Museum, Brookings Hall Administration building - Currently administrative offices for Washington University, “Flight Cage”(Exotic bird aviary).
78958626 (1).jpg
Palace of Fine arts

image (2).jpg
Front entrance to Palace of fine arts.
Twice as large as the Columbian expo of Chicago held 10 years earlier and 10 times larger than the one held in Buffalo the Louisiana purchase expo covers an enormous 1,270 acres (510 hectares).

4776002.jpg
Louisiana purchase exposition, Forest Park, St Louis, USA. 1904.

Forest Park, St Louis 2018.png
Forest Park, St Louis, USA. 2018.
"As many people were curious about this up and coming city, many reporters and photographers attended the World Fair to document and understand the city. What they found was nothing like anyone else could have imagined. Still as a relatively new city, the streets were buzzing with activity, with many of its citizens constantly on the "go" and the streets "crowded with activity". One observer remarked that, at this time, St. Louis had more energy in its streets than any other Northern Street did." https://en.wikipedia.org

electricity building.jpg
"Electric light, then a recent innovation, was used extensively for illumination and decoration." www.u-s-history.com
Remember this was all temporary. Hemp and plaster folks.


1904_Liberal_Arts.jpg

The exhibition is grand in scale and had a lengthy preparation, with an initial $5 million committed by the city of St. Louis through the sale of city bonds was authorized by the Missouri state legislature in April 1899.

An additional $5 million was generated through private donations by interested citizens and businesses from around Missouri, a fundraising target reached in January 1901.

locwfstlouis1904agr.jpg

The final installment of $5 million of the exposition's $15 million capitalization came in the form of earmarked funds that were part of a congressional appropriations bill passed at the end of May 1900.

The fundraising mission was aided by the active support of President of the United States William McKinley, which was won by organizers in a February 1899 White House visit.


ThePike.jpg

There were 253 exhibit buildings and structures built by the Exposition, 13 constructed by Washington University, 34 national buildings, 45 State, Territorial and Municipal buildings, 92 Philippine buildings and other structures, 74 other buildings, and 448 Concession buildings.

images (19).jpg
The fair's 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) site, designed by George Kessler, was located at the present-day grounds of Forest Park and on the campus of Washington University, and was the largest fair (in area) to date. There were over 1,500 buildings, connected by some 75 miles (121 km) of roads and walkways. It was said to be impossible to give even a hurried glance at everything in less than a week. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered some 20 acres (81,000 m2).

This is the end, beautiful friend.

The Louisiana purchase exposition may truly have been the most breath taking exposition ever held. Between the Baroque grecco-roman super structures and the share number of activities available on any given day its hard to imagine something like this even being possible in today's world. There is no way all these buildings would have been cost effective with such a short season of a measly 185 days, with a total cost of US$15,000,000 and a net profit of only US$6,402,308. The Expo made a loss of US$8,597,692. That's the modern day equivalent of US$231,279,688.94 as of 2018 . I cant help but feel there are important things we aren't being told about the Exposition phenomenon of the late 1800's/early 1900's.

540107e33e850.image.jpg
Gutted Missouri state pavilion. Which was destroyed by fire 19 Nov.
Two weeks before the fair closed.

There is little information to go one but soon after its closure the fair fell into disrepair and over the next few years all the structures were demolished allegedly due to their temporary nature. However there are a few remaining examples and we know from the Palace of fine arts that not all the structures were false. This building is clearly stone and we can see this today. But I could have told you that from looking at the period photos. Are we supposed to believe that these other clearly stone buildings were all made from paper mache and potato bags?


saint-louis-art-museum.jpg
Yup. It's stone.
Then.
2b5b75c87d8063379124fa153bbee314.jpg images (21).jpg
You can only read so much from a photograph
but does this look temporary to you?

Now.
Fine arts basin gutted.png fine arts museum basin.png
Even If it was all just temporary surely that was better than this,
why not just build it all again but this time
not out of bean bags and bubble gum?

Was there a large scale conspiracy conducted by unknown persons to masquerade previously established cities and townships of an earlier culture as merely temporary show ground attractions? Was this facade then used to justify the demolition of these cities and the gradual erasing of its population and their achievements from our history books?

Note: This OP was recovered from the Sh.org archive.
 

trismegistus

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I can’t stress highly enough to read through the replies on this archived thread. It’s a great example of what made SH1 such an interesting and engaging conversation in the early days.

I’m glad to see this one restored finally.
 

Ponygirl

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The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition of the Louisiana territory by the United States from France in 1803. The U.S. paid fifty million francs and a cancellation of debts worth eighteen million francs for a total of sixty-eight million francs.

The Louisiana territory included land from fifteen present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The territory contained land that forms Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska; the portion of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River; a large portion of North Dakota; a large portion of South Dakota; the northeastern section of New Mexico; the northern portion of Texas; the area of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide; Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (plus New Orleans); and small portions of land within the present Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

3070818-AB.jpeg
Why was this land Frances' to sell in the first place?

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904

A century later the proud people of St Louis see fit to hold a spectacular celebration to commemorate 100 years since their inception. In the intervening years St Louis had gone from a small traders stop strategically positioned along a bend in the Mississippi River to a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis.

January 10, 1899 - Louisiana Purchase Convention convention of 90 delegates from states & territories of Louisiana Purchase met for purpose of considering commemoration of purchase. Delegates decided that nothing short of an international exposition would suit and decided that St. Louis, largest and most accessible city in area, would be the proper location. Missouri Historical Society also became involved in the effort.

With a stroke of their ink quills, the Delegates set in motion a course of event that over the next 5 years would see the construction of the greatest Exposition America had ever seen to date. A one George Edward Kessler was chosen as the architect.


Le Architect.

220px-George_Kessler.jpg
George Edward Kessler (July 16, 1862 – March 20, 1923)
was an American pioneer city planner and landscape architect.

Wikipedia says:
"Over the course of his forty-one year career, George E. Kessler completed over 200 projects and prepared plans for 26 communities, 26 park and boulevard systems, 49 parks, 46 estates and residences, and 26 schools. His projects can be found in 23 states, 100 cities, in places as far flung as Shanghai, New York, and Mexico City.

A popular myth says that Frederick Law Olmsted, who had died the year before the Fair, designed the park and fair grounds. There are several reasons for this confusion. First, Kessler in his twenties had worked briefly for Olmsted as a Central Park gardener. Second, Olmsted was involved with Forest Park in Queens, New York. Third, Olmsted had planned the renovations in 1897 to the Missouri Botanical Garden several blocks to the southeast of the park. Finally, Olmsted's sons advised Washington University on integrating the campus with the park across the street."

Some confusion over who was in fact responsible for the initial concept. Nothing suspicious but let us read on...

"...In 1901 the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Corporation selected prominent St. Louis architect Isaac S. Taylor as the Chairman of the Architectural Commission and Director of Works for the fair, supervising the overall design and construction. Taylor quickly appointed Emmanuel Louis Masqueray to be his Chief of Design. In the position for three years, Masqueray designed the following Fair buildings: Palace of Agriculture, the Cascades and Colonnades, Palace of Forestry, Fish, and Game, Palace of Horticulture and Palace of Transportation, all of which were widely emulated in civic projects across the United States as part of the City Beautiful movement. "

1525112881815.png
"Museum of Science and Industry, in Jackson Park, Hyde Park, Chicago IL, USA 2008"
Courtesy of Emmanuel Louis Masqueray -apparently.

Curious to find that an entire generation of grecco-roman buildings popping up around this time period. Sure multiples of the same building could have been built at this time or just as possible they already existed.

The temporary city.

U-S-History.COM has this to say about the construction of the Louisiana purchase Exposition:

"Nearly all the structures built during the fair were intended to be temporary. They were therefore constructed of staff, a mixture of plaster of Paris and hemp fibers. Following the fair, many of the structures were razed. Some of the buildings were spared, and they exist today."

OK hemp sacks and plaster, bear this in mind as this is idea of burlap sacks and plaster crops up again and again when investigating these expos which we'll cover in later articles. Now back to Kessler...
Kessler says, now this is important:

"Planning", wrote Kessler, "should be comprehensive. Even though a grand urban design could only be realized in bits and pieces, and over a long period of years, still we should always know where we are going. Each bit and piece should be understandable by reference to the great plan of which it is a part."

This was a man who built for longevity. He made no move with out firstly considering the future. "Future proofing" as they say nowadays. Are we supposed to believe that he developed an entire city out of hemp sacks and plaster? I'm no expert on building but how would that even be possible. Sure the internal frames could be wood and so on but look at the smooth finish on these walls...

5400ad403ced0.image.jpg
Look closely. those are people standing up on that building.
That's either some very strong hemp sack or some very brave people.


Build it and they will come.

October 1901 - Ground plan with original buildings approved. Four principal executive divisions were organized - Director of Exhibits, Exploitation, Works, and Concessions & Admissions. Twelve main exhibit palaces recommended for erection:

  • Education 277,945 sq. ft.
  • Art, Four Sections (Main, E, W, S)198,448
  • Liberal Arts 393,760
  • Varied Industries 447,900
  • Manufactures 588,000
  • Machinery 412,800
  • Electricity 290,200
  • Transportation 684,254
  • Agriculture 800,000
  • Horticulture 240,000
  • Forestry and Fish and Game 180,000
  • Mines and Metallurgy 395,592

card00740_fr (1).jpg
Wow looks like a whole lotta' fun.

  • Construction started: December 20, 1901
  • Construction finished: No Information.
  • Total construction time: No Information.
  • Opening: Initially July 1, 1902. Postponed until April 30, 1904
  • Closure: December 1, 1904
  • Total Expo operation time: 185 days (closed Sundays)
  • Visitors: 19,694,855
  • Ticket Cost 1904\(2018): US$0.50\(US$13.45)
  • Cost of the project in 1904\(2018): US$15,000,000\(US$403,503,095.26)
  • Profits 1904\(2018): US$6,402,308\($172,223,406.32)
  • No. Buildings constructed: over 1,500 buildings
  • Site of venue: Forest park, St Louis, 200-acre (4.9 km2)
  • Demolished: No information
  • Remaining buildings: (Palace of Fine arts - Currently St Louis Art Museum, Brookings Hall Administration building - Currently administrative offices for Washington University, “Flight Cage”(Exotic bird aviary).
78958626 (1).jpg
Palace of Fine arts

image (2).jpg
Front entrance to Palace of fine arts.
Twice as large as the Columbian expo of Chicago held 10 years earlier and 10 times larger than the one held in Buffalo the Louisiana purchase expo covers an enormous 1,270 acres (510 hectares).

4776002.jpg
Louisiana purchase exposition, Forest Park, St Louis, USA. 1904.

Forest Park, St Louis 2018.png
Forest Park, St Louis, USA. 2018.
"As many people were curious about this up and coming city, many reporters and photographers attended the World Fair to document and understand the city. What they found was nothing like anyone else could have imagined. Still as a relatively new city, the streets were buzzing with activity, with many of its citizens constantly on the "go" and the streets "crowded with activity". One observer remarked that, at this time, St. Louis had more energy in its streets than any other Northern Street did." https://en.wikipedia.org

electricity building.jpg
"Electric light, then a recent innovation, was used extensively for illumination and decoration." www.u-s-history.com
Remember this was all temporary. Hemp and plaster folks.


1904_Liberal_Arts.jpg

The exhibition is grand in scale and had a lengthy preparation, with an initial $5 million committed by the city of St. Louis through the sale of city bonds was authorized by the Missouri state legislature in April 1899.

An additional $5 million was generated through private donations by interested citizens and businesses from around Missouri, a fundraising target reached in January 1901.

locwfstlouis1904agr.jpg

The final installment of $5 million of the exposition's $15 million capitalization came in the form of earmarked funds that were part of a congressional appropriations bill passed at the end of May 1900.

The fundraising mission was aided by the active support of President of the United States William McKinley, which was won by organizers in a February 1899 White House visit.


ThePike.jpg

There were 253 exhibit buildings and structures built by the Exposition, 13 constructed by Washington University, 34 national buildings, 45 State, Territorial and Municipal buildings, 92 Philippine buildings and other structures, 74 other buildings, and 448 Concession buildings.

images (19).jpg
The fair's 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) site, designed by George Kessler, was located at the present-day grounds of Forest Park and on the campus of Washington University, and was the largest fair (in area) to date. There were over 1,500 buildings, connected by some 75 miles (121 km) of roads and walkways. It was said to be impossible to give even a hurried glance at everything in less than a week. The Palace of Agriculture alone covered some 20 acres (81,000 m2).

This is the end, beautiful friend.

The Louisiana purchase exposition may truly have been the most breath taking exposition ever held. Between the Baroque grecco-roman super structures and the share number of activities available on any given day its hard to imagine something like this even being possible in today's world. There is no way all these buildings would have been cost effective with such a short season of a measly 185 days, with a total cost of US$15,000,000 and a net profit of only US$6,402,308. The Expo made a loss of US$8,597,692. That's the modern day equivalent of US$231,279,688.94 as of 2018 . I cant help but feel there are important things we aren't being told about the Exposition phenomenon of the late 1800's/early 1900's.

540107e33e850.image.jpg
Gutted Missouri state pavilion. Which was destroyed by fire 19 Nov.
Two weeks before the fair closed.

There is little information to go one but soon after its closure the fair fell into disrepair and over the next few years all the structures were demolished allegedly due to their temporary nature. However there are a few remaining examples and we know from the Palace of fine arts that not all the structures were false. This building is clearly stone and we can see this today. But I could have told you that from looking at the period photos. Are we supposed to believe that these other clearly stone buildings were all made from paper mache and potato bags?


saint-louis-art-museum.jpg
Yup. It's stone.
Then.
2b5b75c87d8063379124fa153bbee314.jpg images (21).jpg
You can only read so much from a photograph
but does this look temporary to you?

Now.
Fine arts basin gutted.png fine arts museum basin.png
Even If it was all just temporary surely that was better than this,
why not just build it all again but this time
not out of bean bags and bubble gum?

Was there a large scale conspiracy conducted by unknown persons to masquerade previously established cities and townships of an earlier culture as merely temporary show ground attractions? Was this facade then used to justify the demolition of these cities and the gradual erasing of its population and their achievements from our history books?

Note: This OP was recovered from the Sh.org archive.
Isn’t this the same are that suffered the largest earthquake in history? For months? Was the earthquake to clear out the previous inhabitant? Like in the Bible when God said that the land was the Israelites once they killed off the giants. Could this have taken place in the US?
 

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