The 1893 World’s Fair (officially known as the World’s Columbian Exposition to honor the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in North America) was the fair to end all fairs. It was the fifteenth such exposition in the world, and only the second in the United States. Built on Lake Michigan, nothing about the White City was small; the 40-acre, 230-foot tall Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building was at the time the largest enclosed space ever built. But the scope of its buildings pales in comparison to the legacy of technological progress it left behind.
It’s estimated that 1 in 4 Americans saw the Columbian Exposition in 1893, which is astounding when you consider that it was only open for just 6 months. Why do I wish I was one of the teeming millions (27 million by some estimates) who saw the Fair? Sure, there was gorgeous Beaux Arts architecture (which inspired Frank Baum when he imagined The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz) priceless works of art, towering statues and plenty of food vendors. But there was also The Future.