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Bird's Eye View of Grounds of the Great Columbian Exposition at Chicago, 1892-3

Chicago vied with New York to become the site of the Exposition and won the approval of Congress. Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham headed a team of the nation’s leading designers to create the fairgrounds in record time. Though it featured displays of international cultures and presentations about American Indians, the Exposition had limited representation of African-American achievements.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Bird's Eye View of Grounds of the Great Columbian Exposition at Chicago, 1892-3

Showcasing American Ideas

The Columbian Exposition of 1893, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to America, gave the United States a forum to show the world its achievements in technology, science, agriculture, and other fields of knowledge. Congress selected Chicago as the site, and leading architects quickly created a temporary city of grand classical buildings to house the displays. The fair attracted and informed a huge public audience. It also raised questions about what America had achieved in regard to racial equality.