Urban Archaeology

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On a recent visit to Chicago, I went to see the few remnants of the 1893 WCE that exist today. Obviously, essentially nothing is left but there are a few reminders, perhaps the most significant of which is The Wooded Island. It was a source of great debate between Frederick Law Olmsted, its designer, and Daniel Burnham, principal architect of the WCE. Today, a Japanese garden occupies the area of the island where the Japanese Temple stood during the Expo. In commemoration of the 25th Anniversary, the City recreated "The Republic", the grand statue of the Fair. Here are some photos. (My apologies to the Chicago locals who are very familiar with these.)

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Posted · Report post

On a recent visit to Chicago, I went to see the few remnants of the 1893 WCE that exist today. Obviously, essentially nothing is left but there are a few reminders, perhaps the most significant of which is The Wooded Island. It was a source of great debate between Frederick Law Olmsted, its designer, and Daniel Burnham, principal architect of the WCE. Today, a Japanese garden occupies the area of the island where the Japanese Temple stood during the Expo. In commemoration of the 25th Anniversary, the City recreated "The Republic", the grand statue of the Fair. Here are some photos. (My apologies to the Chicago locals who are very familiar with these.)

post-4763-127358922758_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358924166_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358930875_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358932169_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358956413_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358957187_thumb.jpg

post-4763-127358958496_thumb.jpg

Wonderful pix! Thanks for sharing them!

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(My apologies to the Chicago locals who are very familiar with these.)

No apologies needed - always good to see new photos. Thanks!

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I remember reading several years ago that students at the University of Chicago were involved with a project to locate the precise sites of several of the most noteworthy attractions along the Midway. I believe that the located the massive concrete foundation of the Ferris Wheel. What a great project!

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Yes, thank you for posting the photographs! My research is on the Japanese exhibits at this fair. Always interested in anything related to the exhibition and I didn't know about the project to locate exhibits on the Midway . Lisa

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When I was a teenager in the early 1960s, there were still a couple of standing architectural artifacts from the Fair. These were buildings that were the original temporary constructions, over sixty years later! One was the "Fret Shop," a storefront on what had been the Midway. The Fret Shop was a hangout for University of Chicago folkies. They sold banjo spare parts, kaypos, strings, instruments, etc. The front room was the store, the back room was the tiny home of the proprietor, which contained a sink, gas stove from the 1920s (a genuine "QuickMeal," with a picture of a running chicken on the oven door), a toilet in a partitioned-off space, and truly frightening antique wiring hanging from the ceiling. The floor of the back room sank between six inches and a foot in one corner. I remember marveling that the place was standing because it appeared to be made of papier mache, or at least the ornamentation was. The entire block got urban renewed in either '6l or '62 before anybody thought to take photos.

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I thought the Museum of Science was located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from this fair. Was that incorrect?

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I thought the Museum of Science was located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from this fair. Was that incorrect?

I don't believe that is correct. But Wayne is our Chicago point man--- he's lived half his life in that museum I think. :D

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If it's incorrect, then bad info has been spread for years. I am pretty sure I read it in a reliable source.

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It's correct. The Museum of Science and Industry is in the former Fine Arts building. This was possible because unlike all the other buildings, it was constructed more substantially to protect the art pieces. It was known as the Rosenwald Museum at first, for the president of Sears, Roebuck, who contributed much to its establishment. He, however, made it a practice never to have any of his philanthropic projects carry his name.

Saying "Science Museum" in Chicago usually means MSI, but is a bit ambiguous because there is another large one, the Field Museum of Natural History, further north (which has mummies and Sue, the T-Rex), plus a number of smaller ones.

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Ah, yes. I knew about both museums.

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That's why I deferred to Wayne! :D I do know that U-505 is there, and at least one of the space capsules from the 60s/70s, and the United 727 that they landed at Miegs Field (pretty incredible short field landing).

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For a time, after the World's Columbian closed, the Fine Arts building housed what was known as the Columbian Museum which had exhibits that formed the core of the Field Museum. The museum of Science and Industry initially opened, after renovations were made, in time for the opening of the Century of Progress Exposition which took place fifty years after the World's Columbian. The building survived the World's Columbian because the plaster fa├žade of the structure, designed to resemble the neo-classical Fair plan, had been layered over brick. Charles Atwood, the architect, had planned for post-Fair use. The MSI has an exhibit devoted to the structure's original purpose and the World's Columbian Exposition itself.

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