Colorado Goes to the Fair: World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893

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Colorado Goes to the Fair: World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893
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Colorado Goes to the Fair: World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893
Culpin, Alan
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Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Colorado Goes to the Fair: Worlds Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:35:47 AM] Home Colorado Goes to the Fair: Worlds Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893Colorado Goes to the Fair: Worlds Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893Submitted by nwharton on 2-15-2013 04:17 PMAuthor: Duane A. Smith and Karen and Mark Vendl Publishing: Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2011. 192 pages. Black-and-white photographs, maps, index, appendix, bibliography. $29.95 paperback. Reviewer: Alan Culpin Duane Smith, along with the Vendls, bring charm and stylish writing to this story of the Great White Waythe Worlds Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of Columbuss discovery of America, and perhaps more importantly, the now great industrial city and transportation hub of Chicago. Duane Smith is well known for his excellent books on mining in Colorado and the Old West, but opens up new territory here. The book includes a concise account of the development of Chicago, the Great Fire, the Chicago Stockyards and meat packers like Armour, retail giants such as Marshall Field, and manufacturers such as the Pullman Car Company, along with the eight transcontinental railroads that passed through, all of which provide background for the citys setting as home of the Worlds Fair. The authors then move onto the makeup of the fair with national and international participation, and its organization into state buildings and buildings for Industry and Agriculture. A lively telling of the construction of the fair covers challenges faced by the builders. Entertainments are entertainingly covered, as is Buffalo Bills hugely popular Wild West show although it was banished to the outside of the fairgrounds as vulgar. Colorados participation is covered with a major mining exhibition that included contributions from Aspen, Leadville, Cripple Creek, and Breckenridge. The Ute Indians are mentioned with a dose of political correctness. The cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde were accurately recreated and proved to be a popular exhibit. The silver crisis and the depression in the 1890s with Governor Davis Waites focus on those issues all receive their due. The contributions of women, especially Colorado women, are served with a flavoring of feminism, including the fact that the Womens Exhibition hall design came from one of the first female architects. Many of the leaders of the day, such as Frederick Douglass, Francis Bellamy, Frederick Jackson Turner whose famed thesis pointed to the closing of the frontier just three years earlierand others commented favorably on the fair and Chicagos influence on the North American continent. Bluenoses complained that the fair stayed open on Sundays and included belly dancing. The famed Ferris Wheel, red-light districts, and the assassination of Chicagos Mayor Harrison are all well covered in detail. Perhaps the best section of Colorado Goes to the Fair is seen in the quotes and comments from Coloradans EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWe were most agreeably surprised to find him a polished gentleman. Description of James P. Beckwourth, African American mountain man, fur trader and explorer.


Colorado Goes to the Fair: Worlds Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 9:35:47 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us who visited, from Governor John L. Routt, Denver attorney Horace Benson, and more ordinary folk. Newspapers warned potential fairgoers not to go early as some of the buildings and exhibits were not ready, and they offered advice on where to stay and where not to stay, dealing with the heat, the costs of the trip, etc. The quotes in this chapter are particularly good and reveal viewpoints and opinions of those from the Rocky Mountain West who attended the events. Finally, the Epilogue covers the dismantling of the fair, the costs (twenty-six million dollars), the awards, and a list of Colorado exhibits that received awards. The authors focus on the importance of mining and agriculture to Colorado and the states participation in the fair. Oddly, this book includes no footnotes, perhaps reflecting the audience the authors hoped to appeal to, but something this reviewer thought should have been included. There is no mention of Martha Maxwell and her stuffed animal exhibit that drew considerable attention at the time. The bibliography is heavily reliant on newspaper accounts, as it should be. There is little else to criticize, for this is a well-written, well-researched, and delightful account of the Worlds Columbian Exposition and Colorados participation. Reviewer Info: Alan Culpin was born in China and educated in a British public school before coming to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado where he earned BA and MA degrees in history with a specialty in Colorado and the American West, under Robert Athearn. After a short stint at the Colorado Historical Society, he taught classes on Colorado and western history, U.S. surveys, American Civil War, and other topics at Red Rocks Community College from 1974 to 1985. When the state, in its infinite wisdom, reduced most faculty to part-time, Culpin founded Abracadabra Bookshop, an antiquarian enterprise offering more than 100,000 titles, which he still runs with his wife Marcy.