"Details of Building at Louisiana Purchase Exposition"
"Details of Building at Louisiana Purchase Exposition"
By an unknown artist, designed for the U.S. Government Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, Missouri, 1904
Watercolor and pencil on tracing paper
24" x 25"
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Public Buildings Service

1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition: U.S. Government Building
Starting in the late 1890s and continuing until the outbreak of World War I, Americans celebrated their technological and social progress in a series of dazzling fairs and expositions that mirrored the nation's growing self confidence and power. These expositions were showplaces not only for inventions, machinery, and agricultural bounty, but also for architects who designed the fairgrounds as temporary fantasy "cities," with stately boulevards, lakes, statues, and courtyards surrounded by opulent Beaux-Arts buildings constructed from plaster. A staple for fairgoers was the Federal Government Hall, where the latest scientific, agricultural, and military discoveries would be exhibited. The nearly 20 million people who visited the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis saw remarkable displays such as the electric light, dial telephone, and flight of a powered dirigible.

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