1902: Pittsburgh Exposition Hall

Could not prevent myself from sharing the below photograph. Nice spires, super fast rebuilding speed after a devastating fire the previous year, and of course those 1902 horses as a reflection of the transportation tech they chose to share with us. Are we sure this is a 1902 photograph?

After the Fire of 1901: the present Exposition buildings rose Phoenix like from the wreck of the earlier structures. The morning of March 17, 1901, fire started in a large frame stable across Duquesne way from the exposition building. A wind blew embers across the street and it was not long until the great main building was a mass of flames. The fire was a terrific one, remembered by many for its destructive fury . When it was extinguished all that was left of the fine structures was Machinery hall, which was constructed of nothing that could burn.
  • Following that fire, there was a hasty call for action. The loss of the great building was a heavy blow to the society, because the insurance carried was extremely small. More funds had to be raised to replace it. Almost tragically, too, it seemed, the society had all but wiped out its debt of borrowed funds for building, and was seriously planning for the new technical schools, for which the money was to be used as the institution became free of debt.
  • Courageous action on the part of the directors and the generous response of thousands of friends of the Exposition, made possible an early removal of the ruins of the great building. D. Burnham & Company, the noted architects of Chicago, designers of the Frick building, were called into consultation and prepared new plans for a greater and better structure. Because of the experience of the fire, it was determined that it be fireproof. Incidentally, the society decided this time to provide a music hall within the structure, making it larger for the purpose.
Quick to Rebuild: in May of 1901, a general contract was awarded for the construction of the building to James Stuart & Company. Then began a wonderful piece of building work, for assurances were given that the great structure would be ready for opening in time for the regular season in 1901. The contract was completed in time and a revival of public interest on a broader scale than ever followed.
  • A heavy debt was necessary to replace the building, which put off for some years, at least, the carrying out of the desires of the society in providing a technical schools for Pittsburgh. It also was found inadvisable to complete the new music hall at the time owing to the increased expense, and this was allowed to remain available for general use, but without its balcony or gallery and permanent stage. The old art gallery was given up in the new building and a theatorium was substituted, which permitted of other forms of entertainment and more general usefulness.
  • On the opening of the new main building, the musical attractions of the exposition were extended in character and were brought up to the present high standard. Attendance increased, and the society began anew its effort to first wipe out its increased debt, and then to prepare for its much desired educational work. At the same time, it was felt that the annual season of concerts and exhibits would continue to broaden the ideas of the vast throngs which visited and which were benefited by the popular-priced concerts and various forms of instructive and wholesome entertainment. Each year since then the debt against the great property has been reduced, and there is at last an end in sight of the demands on the funds of the society for this purpose.
Its fate:
  • The Music Hall was demolished in 1941
  • Machinery Hall was dismantled in 1942 to secure scrap metal for the war effort
  • The Main Hall was the last remaining building until 1951 when the structure was torn down to make way for the 37-acre Point State Park
Description: Pittsburgh circa 1902. "Exposition Hall." Probably during its reconstruction after a fire the previous year.

2400 x 1853
Pittsburgh circa 1902. Exposition Hall. Probably during its reconstruction after a fire the pr...jpg

Sources and Links:

KD: My observations are above. What are yours?
I'm confused. So Machinery Hall didn't burn down, because it was only iron and glass. But both wiki and one of the other sources say:
Most of the Exposition was rebuilt at a cost of $600,000 and included new versions of Machinery Hall, the Main Hall and the Music Hall.


To compare to KD's picture, this is from the other side. Machinery Hall is on the left side (the rebuilt version is in the right far of the OP picture). Worth noting that the other buildings of the complex do in fact look different in the two pictures. But taking a better look at Machinery Hall pre-fire, with a perspective that mirrors the rebuilt hall (but you can't see the rest of the complex, unlike in the OP):


Looks the same to me, down to the tacky Exposition sign:


I wonder what "new version" really means. In the case of Machinery Hall, if anything, they added some kindling to the building that would not burn. As for the rest of the complex... is that a completely new construction or could it possibly just be a renovation with a new façade? Initially I thought they looked too different but I'm not 100% sure. Both are pretty magnificent, and a chore to construct or destroy.

Basically seems highly unlikely this was a new construction completed (after having to remove the debris) in six months (?!)... I'd love to have seen it though. Imagine it'd be like if you gave the Amish a bunch of amphetamines.
I think this is how some older things could get fully indoctrinated into the narrative. There was something there, but it got destroyed, and what you see now was something we built, and not the previous spin of our civilization.

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