Some of the things you know and love today were introduced at the World’s Fair. Here are 5 fun facts about them and the Chicago World’s Fair.
1. Chicago Had to Compete. St. Louis (home of the 1904 Fair), New York and Washington, DC all wanted to host the fair. Congress awarded the Fair to Chicago after Lyman Gage, president of a Midwestern bank, pledged millions in financing. Prior to his pledge, Chicago and New York were in a tie with Cornelius Vanderbilt, William Waldorf Astor pledging $15 million on behalf of New York and Chicago mercantile and meat millionaires Marshall Field, Phillip Armour and Gustavus Swift matching that amount.
2. It Was a Fair of Firsts. You eat it. You chew it. You drink it. You use it. Many of the things introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair are still around today. They include Juicy Fruit gum, Cream of Wheat, Pabst Blue Ribbon and the dishwasher all made their debut at the Fair.
3. The Ferris Wheel was Introduced And Saved The Budget. The fair had a big budget deficit despite money raised by private investors and the sale of the commemorative coins and stamps by the government. Worse, when the Chicago Fair refused to let Buffalo Bill Cody to perform, they set up right by the entrance and siphoned off visitors. The 264-foot Ferris Wheel saved the day. Installed in June, it could hold over 2000 people at a time and brought in the crowds – even though it cost twice as much to ride (50 cents) as the entrance price to the Fair.
4. Everyone Came! The Chicago Fair was the first to have pavilions for other countries and other states. Fifty foreign companies and 43 states came. The states brought everything from Virginia’s replica of Mount Vernon to a century-old palm tree from California. Norway actually sailed a replica of a Viking ship – full sized – across the ocean to the fair. Even the Liberty Bell made an appearance.
5. It was a City Beautiful. The Fair brought life to the City Beautiful movement. The area around the Fair was called White City for its white stucco building and its streets with electric lights. The buildings and lush landscaping made a mark and city planners began to look for ways to bring open spaces and beautiful public buildings into crowded cities. Chicago was one of the first cities to join the City Beautiful movement and was followed by others including Washington DC. where the National Mall was created as part of the movement.
The Chicago Fair definitely played a role in making Chicago the amazing city it is today. If you’re going to be in Chicago for an extended business stay, be sure to book your stay with a corporate long term stay so that you have the perfect place to stay, work, relax and enjoy everything Chicago has to offer!