1898 and 1899: Trans-Mississippi and Greater America Expositions in Omaha

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
3,993
Reactions
15,496
Here we have another one of those Expos allegedly made out of horse hair and plaster. I suggest we look into this Expo, analyze available construction photographs, the crowds, the exhibits, etc. May be, in the process, we could develop some sort of an opinion on what this next "build to destroy" mini-city was really intended for. Was it built, or was its tear down presented to us as its construction.

17314


Trans-Mississippi International Exposition
The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was a world's fair held in Omaha, Nebraska from June 1 to November 1 of 1898. Its goal was to showcase the development of the entire West, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. The Indian Congress was held concurrently. Over 2.6 million people came to Omaha to view the 4,062 exhibits during the five months of the Exposition. President William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were among the dignitaries who attended at the invitation of Gurdon Wattles, the event's leader. 100,000 people assembled on the plaza to hear them speak. The Expo stretched over a 180-acre (0.73 km2) tract in North Omaha and featured a 2,000 feet (610 m)-long lagoon encircled by 21 classical buildings that featured fine and modern products from around the world.

Precursors: watch these 3 and 2 minute videos


Basic Info
First of all, I suggest we look at this Wikipedia page devoted to this 1898 Expo. Do you think it does justice to this enormous event. Why is the page so small? Where are the photographs?
  • Construction started: after October 1, 1897
  • Construction finished: prior to June 1, 1898
  • Total construction time: under 8 months
  • Opening: June 1, 1898
  • Closure: November 1, 1898
  • Total Expo operation time: 153 days
  • No. of exihibits: 4,062
  • Visitors: 2,613,508 people
  • Profits 1898: US $1,924,077
  • No. Buildings constructed: 21, plus hundreds more (???)
  • Site of venue: 108 city blocks on 180-acre tract in North Omaha, and featured a 2,000 ft (610 m)-long lagoon
Construction
narrative
Many temporary buildings, structures, and features were installed for the Exposition. Thomas Rogers Kimball and C. Howard Walker were named co-architects-in-chief for the event. The two men were responsible for the overall site development, including perimeter buildings. They designed several major buildings, some smaller structures and the Arch of States, which was a main entrance.
  • All these structures were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings. The lower cost allowed the construction of larger structures. The construction of the hundreds of temporary buildings at the Expo was notable because of the almost exclusive usage of a new, cheap and pliable building material called staff. It allowed Expo designers to construct visual reproductions of Grecian and Roman temples, fine European buildings, and more. The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with staff.
Below are some photographs containing the alleged construction of the Expo complex. For additional ones, please visit this link.

17315173161731817319
17322173171732017321

The Expo
The end result of the above construction process is supposed to be summed up in the images below, I suppose.


I am not sure why the image is copyrighted with 1897, but we have what we have. The link above provides some additional info pertaining to this Agriculture Building. It also states in there that the building was razed in 1898. This building here.

17326

This is the biggest version of this particular image that I was able to find. I guess it is supposed to be 1898.

17327


Various Expo Buildings
17333


17328

1733517329173301733117332
1733917340

Interesting Stuff

Baby Incubator
In case you were wondering what kind of achievements they were displaying in Omaha in 1898, and as an answer to people talking about the death rate back in the day... here is a few images:
17337


Miniature Railroad

Children and adults ride the Miniature Railroad.
  • Children ride Miniature Railroad. Three men stand along fence.
  • Sign reads: "Union Pacific: North Platte."
17338


Requiem
The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha in 1898. More than 2.6 million people came to see this World’s Fair, and 21 classical buildings were built to house the exhibitions. They were designed to be temporary, and were built around a lagoon that featured gondolas and swan boats.

Source: By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.
  • In 1980, while excavating for a new sewer in Kountze Park, a construction foreman uncovered several pieces of a building from the Exposition. An attempt to recover more artifacts was unsuccessful. Today there are only a few pieces of plaster from Exposition buildings that remain as tangible historical artifacts.
  • KD: I bet no digging is allowed at the park. What if a few additional pieces of "plaster" get uncovered?
A railroad car packed with demolition equipment arrived on November 4th 1899. Drays, early bulldozers and other machinery torn down buildings buildings immediately. The lagoon was emptied on the first day it was possible. All of the concession stands were closed, and the area businesses were emptied. By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.

Fire
There is always a fire involved: in the final months of cleanup, which were May and June of 1900, there was a fire that took out the last remaining elements of the Expos.
  • It took about 8 months to build this expo, and about 6 months to demolish.
Sources and Links:
KD: Anyone else sees the continuation of this weird "build to destroy" idea here? What do you think could be behind all of this non-sense?
  • Please feel free to add additional photographs
By the way, in 1899 the same spot held another expo:
  • Greater America Exposition
  • 1899 Greater America Expo Notes
    • After the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition exhibition a group of investors decided to retain some of the buildings and hold a second exhibition at Kountze Park in 1899. President McKinley expressed support for the exhibition as an opportunity to show America's new possessions.
    • The grounds were refurbished with 500 staff patching and painting buildings and replanting flower beds. And the concrete walkways were replaced by red brick ones.
 

anotherlayer

Well-known member
Messages
656
Reactions
2,226
  • Please feel free to add additional photographs
Need to investigate proper photographs through the Omaha libraries and museums. Google isn't going to give anything other that what you have found: pictures that are labeled "construction" photos that you don't believe are construction photos.

Chicago Expo? I dunno, that one is a absolutely crazy. Omaha? We did this.
 
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
3,993
Reactions
15,496
Need to investigate proper photographs through the Omaha libraries and museums. Google isn't going to give anything other that what you have found: pictures that are labeled "construction" photos that you don't believe are construction photos. Chicago Expo? I dunno, that one is a absolutely crazy. Omaha? We did this.
This is why this thread was created. To tackle it as a community. May be someone from Omaha could do just that for us.

I think I will have to update the name of the thread to reflect the 1899 one as well. They come in a package, apparently.

17344


1899 Attractions and Tickets
Among interesting things I found this ticket from 1899. What did they have, an instant Polaroid type photography back then?

17345

Some of the rides and displays at the Greater America Expo included:
  • The Enchanted Island, aka “At Midnight in Hawaii”
  • An electric scenic theater
  • The Cyclorama “Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge”
  • Old Plantation
  • Electric Wargraph Theater with Hobson sinking the Merrimac
    • !!! - USS Merrimac was the only American vessel sunk by the Spanish navy in 1898 conflict.
      • Weird attraction. Were they celebrating or greiving?
  • The Giant Seesaw
  • A Chinese village
  • A Cairo Street
  • Spanish War Museum
  • Hawaiian Village
  • Living Wounded Heroes exhibition
  • “Fat Man’s Beer Garden”
  • Moorish Palace
  • Arizona cactus garden
  • Deep Sea Diving exhibition
  • Mexican Village
  • Philippine Village
  • German Village
  • Porto Rico [sic] and Cuban Village
  • Electric fountain display
  • Royal English Marionettes
  • Phantom Swing
  • Gondolas
  • Lunette
  • Hagenbeck’s Wild Animal Circus
  • Naiads of the Fountain
  • Milwaukee Dairy
  • Venetian gondola rides
    Red Windmill of Paris
  • Chutes
  • The Creche or Omaha Day Nursery
  • Royal Japanese troupe of super acrobats
  • Beckwith Aquarium
  • The Enchanted Chamber
 

Timeshifter

Well-known member
Messages
324
Reactions
980
These construction images of buildings always show them more than half built, never foundations... Do the images really show these buildings are actually being repaired, the best they could at the time? Then destroy them to hide actual origin?

6 months to tear down tempary buildings? :unsure:

Looks like rinse & repeat at all of these 'expos'

Those infant incubators though.... and polaroid photos? Wow
 
Last edited:

Bear Claw

Active member
Messages
53
Reactions
179
Here we have another one of those Expos allegedly made out of horse hair and plaster. I suggest we look into this Expo, analyze available construction photographs, the crowds, the exhibits, etc. May be, in the process, we could develop some sort of an opinion on what this next "build to destroy" mini-city was really intended for. Was it built, or was its tear down presented to us as its construction.

View attachment 17314

Trans-Mississippi International Exposition
The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was a world's fair held in Omaha, Nebraska from June 1 to November 1 of 1898. Its goal was to showcase the development of the entire West, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. The Indian Congress was held concurrently. Over 2.6 million people came to Omaha to view the 4,062 exhibits during the five months of the Exposition. President William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were among the dignitaries who attended at the invitation of Gurdon Wattles, the event's leader. 100,000 people assembled on the plaza to hear them speak. The Expo stretched over a 180-acre (0.73 km2) tract in North Omaha and featured a 2,000 feet (610 m)-long lagoon encircled by 21 classical buildings that featured fine and modern products from around the world.

Precursors: watch these 3 and 2 minute videos


Basic Info
First of all, I suggest we look at this Wikipedia page devoted to this 1898 Expo. Do you think it does justice to this enormous event. Why is the page so small? Where are the photographs?
  • Construction started: after October 1, 1897
  • Construction finished: prior to June 1, 1898
  • Total construction time: under 8 months
  • Opening: June 1, 1898
  • Closure: November 1, 1898
  • Total Expo operation time: 153 days
  • No. of exihibits: 4,062
  • Visitors: 2,613,508 people
  • Profits 1898: US $1,924,077
  • No. Buildings constructed: 21, plus hundreds more (???)
  • Site of venue: 108 city blocks on 180-acre tract in North Omaha, and featured a 2,000 ft (610 m)-long lagoon
Construction
narrative
Many temporary buildings, structures, and features were installed for the Exposition. Thomas Rogers Kimball and C. Howard Walker were named co-architects-in-chief for the event. The two men were responsible for the overall site development, including perimeter buildings. They designed several major buildings, some smaller structures and the Arch of States, which was a main entrance.
  • All these structures were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings. The lower cost allowed the construction of larger structures. The construction of the hundreds of temporary buildings at the Expo was notable because of the almost exclusive usage of a new, cheap and pliable building material called staff. It allowed Expo designers to construct visual reproductions of Grecian and Roman temples, fine European buildings, and more. The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with staff.
Below are some photographs containing the alleged construction of the Expo complex. For additional ones, please visit this link.
The end result of the above construction process is supposed to be summed up in the images below, I suppose.


I am not sure why the image is copyrighted with 1897, but we have what we have. The link above provides some additional info pertaining to this Agriculture Building. It also states in there that the building was razed in 1898. This building here.

This is the biggest version of this particular image that I was able to find. I guess it is supposed to be 1898.

In case you were wondering what kind of achievements they were displaying in Omaha in 1898, and as an answer to people talking about the death rate back in the day... here is a few images:
View attachment 17337

Miniature Railroad

Children and adults ride the Miniature Railroad.
  • Children ride Miniature Railroad. Three men stand along fence.
  • Sign reads: "Union Pacific: North Platte."
The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha in 1898. More than 2.6 million people came to see this World’s Fair, and 21 classical buildings were built to house the exhibitions. They were designed to be temporary, and were built around a lagoon that featured gondolas and swan boats.

Source: By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.
  • In 1980, while excavating for a new sewer in Kountze Park, a construction foreman uncovered several pieces of a building from the Exposition. An attempt to recover more artifacts was unsuccessful. Today there are only a few pieces of plaster from Exposition buildings that remain as tangible historical artifacts.
  • KD: I bet no digging is allowed at the park. What if a few additional pieces of "plaster" get uncovered?
A railroad car packed with demolition equipment arrived on November 4th 1899. Drays, early bulldozers and other machinery torn down buildings buildings immediately. The lagoon was emptied on the first day it was possible. All of the concession stands were closed, and the area businesses were emptied. By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.

Fire
There is always a fire involved: in the final months of cleanup, which were May and June of 1900, there was a fire that took out the last remaining elements of the Expos.
  • It took about 8 months to build this expo, and about 6 months to demolish.
Sources and Links:
KD: Anyone else sees the continuation of this weird "build to destroy" idea here? What do you think could be behind all of this non-sense?
  • Please feel free to add additional photographs
By the way, in 1899 the same spot held another expo:
  • Greater America Exposition
  • 1899 Greater America Expo Notes
    • After the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition exhibition a group of investors decided to retain some of the buildings and hold a second exhibition at Kountze Park in 1899. President McKinley expressed support for the exhibition as an opportunity to show America's new possessions.
    • The grounds were refurbished with 500 staff patching and painting buildings and replanting flower beds. And the concrete walkways were replaced by red brick ones.
Regarding your thoughts on, there always being a fire, and a rebuild to destroy. I sometimes see it as a ritual, almost a 'phoenix from the flames' kind of thing. Possibly similar to a final burial / cremation.

Almost like a - "here is your final chance to say goodbye to the old dead world" then buried / cremated.

Have you ever looked into the Crystal Palace Exhibition in England?

One curious thing noted, is that the Omaha site appears to be over 'Christ Broadcasting channel' and a King Science Tech Magnet School (no idea what that is). Crystal Palace site on the other hand has one of London's main 'TV antennas' built upon it. Have you considered what is over and above all these sites?

Crystal Palace transmitting station - Wikipedia
 
Last edited:

jd755

Well-known member
Messages
767
Reactions
2,028
Copyright 1897 refers to the architects sketch of 'how it will look'.
Writing the 9 'down on the line' like a g was common back then.
 

0harris0

Active member
Messages
120
Reactions
285
The buildings, I can kind of understand that it's do-able to create a simple frame with a fancy facade (working in construction and events some building materials/ stage decor looks amazing but its just panels attached to a frame or likewise!), the only issue would be the supply of materials I guess..

BUT (big but.)

the one thing that baffles me the absolute most... the friggin waterways!!! judging by the maps, that lagoon is 4.5 CITY BLOCKS long... as someone who's dug a fair few holes before - that's a buttload of digging!!
(and none of it seems to have been started in any of those "construction" photos)
 
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
3,993
Reactions
15,496
If there was only one such "Expo case", anything could be possible, I guess. But we have tens of these, and a clear repeating pattern. This issue is mind boggling.
 

wizz33

Well-known member
Messages
167
Reactions
272
im starting to think that the lagoon was both a navigation marker and a unloading area for a river cruise sized flying ship.
i think the same ship also a had a lift to unload at parks, ea centar park NY and the long parks at the Expositions
 

Omaha

New member
Messages
2
Reactions
8
King science magnet center is an elementary school. In the 80s, they made a few elementary schools "magnet" schools which were elementary schools but with extra emphasis on science, foreign language, performing arts, and what not. Kids from all over the city could go to these schools instead of their neighborhood standard elementary school.
 

Paracelsus

Well-known member
Messages
344
Reactions
1,519
Here we have another one of those Expos allegedly made out of horse hair and plaster. I suggest we look into this Expo, analyze available construction photographs, the crowds, the exhibits, etc. May be, in the process, we could develop some sort of an opinion on what this next "build to destroy" mini-city was really intended for. Was it built, or was its tear down presented to us as its construction.

View attachment 17314

Trans-Mississippi International Exposition
The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was a world's fair held in Omaha, Nebraska from June 1 to November 1 of 1898. Its goal was to showcase the development of the entire West, stretching from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast. The Indian Congress was held concurrently. Over 2.6 million people came to Omaha to view the 4,062 exhibits during the five months of the Exposition. President William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan were among the dignitaries who attended at the invitation of Gurdon Wattles, the event's leader. 100,000 people assembled on the plaza to hear them speak. The Expo stretched over a 180-acre (0.73 km2) tract in North Omaha and featured a 2,000 feet (610 m)-long lagoon encircled by 21 classical buildings that featured fine and modern products from around the world.

Precursors: watch these 3 and 2 minute videos


Basic Info
First of all, I suggest we look at this Wikipedia page devoted to this 1898 Expo. Do you think it does justice to this enormous event. Why is the page so small? Where are the photographs?
  • Construction started: after October 1, 1897
  • Construction finished: prior to June 1, 1898
  • Total construction time: under 8 months
  • Opening: June 1, 1898
  • Closure: November 1, 1898
  • Total Expo operation time: 153 days
  • No. of exihibits: 4,062
  • Visitors: 2,613,508 people
  • Profits 1898: US $1,924,077
  • No. Buildings constructed: 21, plus hundreds more (???)
  • Site of venue: 108 city blocks on 180-acre tract in North Omaha, and featured a 2,000 ft (610 m)-long lagoon
Construction
narrative
Many temporary buildings, structures, and features were installed for the Exposition. Thomas Rogers Kimball and C. Howard Walker were named co-architects-in-chief for the event. The two men were responsible for the overall site development, including perimeter buildings. They designed several major buildings, some smaller structures and the Arch of States, which was a main entrance.
  • All these structures were temporary by design, built at about half the cost of permanent buildings. The lower cost allowed the construction of larger structures. The construction of the hundreds of temporary buildings at the Expo was notable because of the almost exclusive usage of a new, cheap and pliable building material called staff. It allowed Expo designers to construct visual reproductions of Grecian and Roman temples, fine European buildings, and more. The buildings were constructed of strips of wood covered with staff.
Below are some photographs containing the alleged construction of the Expo complex. For additional ones, please visit this link.
The end result of the above construction process is supposed to be summed up in the images below, I suppose.


I am not sure why the image is copyrighted with 1897, but we have what we have. The link above provides some additional info pertaining to this Agriculture Building. It also states in there that the building was razed in 1898. This building here.

This is the biggest version of this particular image that I was able to find. I guess it is supposed to be 1898.

In case you were wondering what kind of achievements they were displaying in Omaha in 1898, and as an answer to people talking about the death rate back in the day... here is a few images:
View attachment 17337

Miniature Railroad

Children and adults ride the Miniature Railroad.
  • Children ride Miniature Railroad. Three men stand along fence.
  • Sign reads: "Union Pacific: North Platte."
The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was held in Omaha in 1898. More than 2.6 million people came to see this World’s Fair, and 21 classical buildings were built to house the exhibitions. They were designed to be temporary, and were built around a lagoon that featured gondolas and swan boats.

Source: By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.
  • In 1980, while excavating for a new sewer in Kountze Park, a construction foreman uncovered several pieces of a building from the Exposition. An attempt to recover more artifacts was unsuccessful. Today there are only a few pieces of plaster from Exposition buildings that remain as tangible historical artifacts.
  • KD: I bet no digging is allowed at the park. What if a few additional pieces of "plaster" get uncovered?
A railroad car packed with demolition equipment arrived on November 4th 1899. Drays, early bulldozers and other machinery torn down buildings buildings immediately. The lagoon was emptied on the first day it was possible. All of the concession stands were closed, and the area businesses were emptied. By January 1900, almost all of the buildings, walkways and other elements of the Expo grounds were completely gone.

Fire
There is always a fire involved: in the final months of cleanup, which were May and June of 1900, there was a fire that took out the last remaining elements of the Expos.
  • It took about 8 months to build this expo, and about 6 months to demolish.
Sources and Links:
KD: Anyone else sees the continuation of this weird "build to destroy" idea here? What do you think could be behind all of this non-sense?
  • Please feel free to add additional photographs
By the way, in 1899 the same spot held another expo:
  • Greater America Exposition
  • 1899 Greater America Expo Notes
    • After the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition exhibition a group of investors decided to retain some of the buildings and hold a second exhibition at Kountze Park in 1899. President McKinley expressed support for the exhibition as an opportunity to show America's new possessions.
    • The grounds were refurbished with 500 staff patching and painting buildings and replanting flower beds. And the concrete walkways were replaced by red brick ones.
I've been to Omaha before, it seems very dilapidated and neglected towards the east part of downtown. But there is that anomalously opulent park that you can see driving down Dodge street towards the west.

I would have never guessed anything of this scope existed in Omaha.
 

studytruth

Active member
Messages
56
Reactions
235
I was going to post a very strange photo (or series of photos) but one of them is already in the OP. It is the one of the US government building.
The reason why it is important is the copyright date. 1892. The fair was in 1898, and only begun to construct in 1897.
As I just wrote in that chapter of my new book, "Why is there an 1892 copyright on the photo of the Government Building? I don't think that is some sort of casual mistake. They took this copyright stuff seriously even then. Could we really be seeing buildings photographed eight years prior to the fair?" And I have a few others from the year 1858 copyrights. So we have to ask, what year was this fair photographed?
 

Maxine

Well-known member
Messages
141
Reactions
313
I was going to post a very strange photo (or series of photos) but one of them is already in the OP. It is the one of the US government building.
The reason why it is important is the copyright date. 1892. The fair was in 1898, and only begun to construct in 1897.
As I just wrote in that chapter of my new book, "Why is there an 1892 copyright on the photo of the Government Building? I don't think that is some sort of casual mistake. They took this copyright stuff seriously even then. Could we really be seeing buildings photographed eight years prior to the fair?" And I have a few others from the year 1858 copyrights. So we have to ask, what year was this fair photographed?
Can you please post it? I wanna see them, that's sounds intriguing!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
KorbenDallas General 6
KorbenDallas Single Photo Series 31

Top