Image of the Week: The World’s Columbian Exposition (Looking South between Electricity and Mining Buildings)


The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was considered at the time to be an engineering marvel and one of the most significant events in U. S. cultural history. Designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmstead to be the prototype of their ideal city, the massive exposition (which came to be termed “The White City”) covered more than 600 acres and hosted nearly 26 million visitors in its six-month run. ┬áIn the electricity building, Nikola Tesla demonstrated his alternating current system of electricity and awed crowds by using high frequency currents to shoot lightning from his fingertips (his cork-soled shoes allowed this stunt to be performed in relative safety).

This photograph is part of the Field Museum Library collection, which was formed in 1894 with materials from the libraries of the World’s Columbian Exposition.


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