The World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago, Illinois in 1893. Jackson Park was selected as the site for the historic exposition. Smaller buildings and concessions were located on a small strip of land connecting Jackson Park to Washington Park. This 80-acre strip was known as the Midway Plaisance. Jackson Park has two miles of Lake Michigan frontage.
The Midway was the first separate entertainment area deliberately made as a self-contained entertainment district. The attraction was so successful that it defined the entertainment district. To this day, entertainment areas at fairs are known as "midways."
The Exposition boasted many firsts, including the Ferris Wheel, Cracker Jacks, Aunt Jemima Syrup, Pabst Beer, and Juicy Fruit gum. The U.S. Mint offered its first commemorative coins: a quarter, half dollar, and dollar.
The Exposition was not without its tragedies. Four fires occurred during the Fair. The first hit on July 10, 1893, when the Cold Storage Building burned, killing 17 people. The second fire, on January 8, 1894, burned the Casino, Peristyle, Music Hall, and Manufactures Building. The third fire the following month burned the Colonnade. The last fire was a massive one on July 5, 1894, that burned the Court of Honor, Machinery Hall, as well as the Electricity, Administration, Mining, and Manufactures buildings.
The World’s Columbian Exposition drew nearly 27 million visitors. It was the last and greatest of the 19th century.
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