1901-1902 Charleston West Indian Exposition


This is one of those under-the-radar "INSIGNIFICANT" expositions you can only find if you accidentally run into, or are looking for it on purpose. All the buildings here were supposed to be brand new, and the entire "theme-park" was supposed to be brand new. Just like many other expos, the event lost a lot of money. You will, most likely, struggle in locating any construction, or demolition photographs. There is nothing tremendously different from the other expos here. The part which attracted my attention is summarized in the below questions:
  • what happened to a 400-foot (122 m) long painting of the Battle of Manassas?
  • who painted it?
  • what did the painting look like?

The Paganism
It looks like we can officially say good-bye to the Christianity in the 19th century United States. At least, as far as Expos go, it's nothing but the Paganism. We most definitely could try to justify the obvious, but what do we really see there? Well... unless this is some alternate reality of course.


The Ivory City
The South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, commonly called the Charleston Exposition or the West Indian Exposition, was a regional trade exposition held in Charleston, South Carolina from December 1, 1901 to June 20, 1902.


In 1900, the Charleston Exposition Company was formed and began soliciting funds. There was support from the business community and the South Carolina General Assembly allocated US$50,000, but the Charleston aristocracy felt that the fair was unseemly self-promotion. The Federal government, which had normally contributed funds, did not offer early support. There were no official exhibits from abroad.

Wagener, who was president of the exposition company, suggested that 250 acres (100 ha) of his property on the Ashley River be used for the fair. The company hired a New York architect, Bradford L. Gilbert, who had been supervising architect for the Cotton States Exposition.


Gilbert chose Spanish Renaissance style with the buildings painted creamy off-white. This led to is being called the "Ivory City." The grounds were divided into an area for Nature and another for Art. The principal buildings were: Administration, Agriculture, Art, Auditorium, Commerce, Cotton Palace, Fisheries, Machinery, Mines and Forestry, Negro, Transportation, and Women's.
  • The Exposition faced many challenges. The weather was not good, some exhibits were late in opening, and there was a shortage of funds. President Theodore Roosevelt delayed his visit from February to April. The attendance was disappointing. Only 674,086 came to the exposition. The cost of the exposition was $1,250,000, while the receipts were $313,000.
  • After the exposition, the City of Charleston built its Hampton Park on the eastern portion of the grounds that included the Exposition's formal court. Although it was moved and rebuilt, the bandstand in the park remains. In 1919, the State of South Carolina obtained the western portion. This was used for the new campus of The Citadel. Lowndes Grove, which was the Woman's Building in the exposition, remains.
The Exhibits
The Cotton Palace was a 320-foot (98 m) long building with a 75-foot (23 m) tall dome was the focus of the exposition. The other major buildings were the Palace of Commerce and the Palace of Agriculture. There was a Negro Department in its own building. The Woman's Building was in Wagener's Lowndes Grove house.

Twenty different states participated in the exposition.
  • State buildings were erected by Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania; city buildings represented Cincinnati and Philadelphia; and special structures were devoted to the exhibits of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. Pennsylvania featured the Liberty Bell in its exhibit.
The grounds were adorned with statuary, among them six original historical groups, situated in the Court of Palaces. Statuary included "The Aztec" by Louis A. Gudebrod, "The Negro" by Charles A. Lopez, and "The Huguenot" by Elsie Ward.

Below is a short two minute video, where I have no idea what people are doing. I guess they could be roaming around enjoying the environment.

The midway had a carnival with thrill rides, a 400-foot (122 m) long painting of the Battle of Manassas, and Eskimo village. There was a Turkish Parlor with imported cigars and a house of horrors. As with similar expositions there were souvenirs for sale, which included commemorative medals, pins, and other trinkets. A miniature railroad of the Miniature Railway Company proved to be one of the most popular attractions and best-paying amusement features on the grounds. The routes touched all points of interest from the Sunken Gardens and the Court of Palaces to the headquarters for hoky-poky.

Note: There was an interesting exchange pertaining to the Cotton Palace on the CivilWarTalk.com forum:
  • I'm not sure where the lady got her info from, but the quote is below.
So far, from what I can find The Cotton Palace also served as a Civil War prison for Union prisoners. The thing is, can NOT find much material on the place, it's crazy! For as extensive, amazing and comprehensively fabulous a piece of architecture and engineering it was for the time- not-much. Will have to get into various government library extensions and university presses. For now- there was the Grand Expo, if anyone is interested, and HOPE someone will be! HOPY cow, it was really something! What I want to know is what happened to all these buildings apparently erected expressly for the event?
It could be that that the lady confused with the building attributed to the Martyrs of the Race Course. The Martyrs story pertains to 260 Union Officers who were held prisoners at the race course, and died there. This here is the club house next to the Race Course.
  • One has to appreciate the size of them doors the this Club House has. I wonder where exactly they lead to, for on the right side of the building we see nothing but an empty space on the back side of the building.

Bigger Image

The Race Course
On the plan of the 1901-02 expo, you can see that a very similar Race Course was incorporated into the premises. Why they would want to celebrate on the graves of the Civil War soldiers is unknown. What do you think?


A quick research produced the below map. I am not sure if the above Race Course is in the exact same location with the below Washington Race Course, but both seem to be well within the exposition grounds.

This Washington Race Course thing appears to be confusing a bit. Here is what we have from the Wiki:
  • In 1835, part of Gibbes' plantation was acquired by the South Carolina Jockey Club, a group that developed the Washington Race Course on the site. An annual horse race in February attracted thousands of spectators who could watch the races from an Italianate grandstand designed by Charles F. Reichardt. Today, Mary Murray Drive is a 1-mile (1.6 km) parkway that circles Hampton Park in almost the exact location of the race track.
At the same time it is not really a secret that prior to the Washington Race Course there was a New Market Race Course in the area. And at the previous link it states the following:
Old Cemetery and Marsh
Next thing we end up with this 1849 Map of Charleston created by a London based Cartographer in the 18th century. And what do we see in the area where a future 1901-02 Exposition is going to be held? We see this Public Cemetery and Marsh.

Why they needed to possibly pseudo-bury some Civil War soldiers in the area called Public Cemetery could be a good puzzle to solve.

So, did they build the below buildings, and the entire Expo in the Swamp? Or, did they simply renovate the buildings?

Exposition Buildings







400 Foot Long Painting
I can only assume that this enormous painting of the 1861 Battle of Manassas (The Second Battle of Bull Run) was housed inside this weird structure, which has a castle entrance painted over. Well, at least it appears that way. You can get a better look here. It's a PDF file, so you should be able to zoom in. Is this a reused water cistern, or what?

The painting was (allegedly) inside of this "beautiful" enclosure. We do not know whether the painting was brought here on canvas, or was painted on the walls. As a matter of fact, it appears, that we do not know much at all. So, I will simply restate the above questions:
  • what happened to a 400-foot (122 m) long painting of the Battle of Manassas?
  • who painted it?
  • what did the painting look like?
And if the painting was destroyed with the expo, what was the justification for such an act of cultural atrocity?


Teddy Roosevelt
As we know, President Roosevelt visited this Expo. Of course, he was accompanied by some spire-helmeted military dudes, but I was told it was "normal" for the times.


He even gave a speech at this Expo, with that "look at my greatness" dictator-like image of himself in the background. Allegedly of course...
  • And that's when I thought that the US flag was not supposed to touch the ground. May be this behavior contributed to the later rules, but is still weird to see the flag on the floor like that.

1901-02, or what?
One other thing I noticed in this wonderful brochure is the lack of anything related to the 1901-02 technology. As a matter of fact, it appears that we could date it back to 1850s, and the images would still fit in. Apart from a couple of trams there is nothing. At least that's my opinion at the moment.

KD: Anyways, you make your own conclusions on this one. Personally, I think the stuff is mighty weird.

P.S. Almost forgot... in the below 1864 map we can see a bridge (or two) going from Charleston to the Wappo area. Are we supposed to have this stuff up there in 1864?




The missing Manassas cyclorama is apparently a thing. The Missing Manassas Cyclorama According to that site, it "was the work of Frenchman Theophile Poilpot and a team of 13 other artists" and was displayed in Washington, D.C. from 1886 to 1901 when it was sold due to declining interest in Washington. From there it was displayed at "St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and at the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition in 1907" and says it may have gone to Charleston after, though it doesn't note that it was there in 1902's exposition. The buyer was Emmett W. McConnell of Ludlow, Kentucky, known as the "Panorama King" due to owning around 30 cycloramas at his peak, ending with around 10 in 1933, one of those 10 was the Battle of Gettysburg which was bought in 1964 and is now at the Gettysburg park. The Manassas one was not so lucky and evidently was cut up and sold or given away.

"Through an antique dealer on 14th. Street N.W. named Heitmuller, I found out that the Cyclorama of the Battle of Manassas or Second Bull Run had been cut up and sold to various holders. It seems that a certain John W. Thompson held a mortgage on the property, and, as the interest had not been paid, he foreclosed and divided the canvas. A part (showing the attack on the railroad cut) was held by Heitmuller, who gave it to Stanford Macnider, Asst. Secty. of War who had it taken to the Soldiers Home."

Looks like some photos of it exist.







A Confederate veteran shot the canvas when it was in Charleston. The Houston daily post. [volume] (Houston, Tex.) 1886-1903, March 06, 1902, MAILABLE EDITION, Page 6, Image 6


It was "housed in an immense circular structure and forms the lining of the inner wall." Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, February 19, 1902, Image 3 (The previous page of the paper has more about the "big show" and describes other areas)


A Washington, D.C. newspaper announced that the Manassas cyclorama was opening to the public on March 2nd, 1886 (so that would explain why they were referring to it as the "famous" cyclorama in that 1902 newspaper sinceit had been around for 16~ years) The Washington critic. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1885-1888, March 02, 1886, Image 4


In 1889, there was a "Cyclorama building" on Ohio avenue in Washington, D.C. which had been displaying the Shiloh cyclorama, that one was taken down in April 1889 and was "inclosed in a long, narrow, box-like structure outside the Cyclorama building" and it said it would take about two weeks to put in position the Battle of Manassas, "the masterpiece of one of France's greatest scenic painters." The Washington critic. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1889-1889, April 06, 1889, Image 2 In June 1889 they added a phonograph of a lecturer The Washington critic. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1889-1889, June 08, 1889, Image 2 It cost 25 cents The Washington critic. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1889-1889, June 15, 1889, Image 3



Well-known member
I've never heard of this shady shindig.
It's super odd and highly suspicious.The usual pagan gods and goddesses on display.
Follow the money on this one, for it must have cost a fortune.
Cotton House? Did they have a slave pavilion too?
Teddy Roosevelt was an illuminati family member of high standing. Just a clue.
Some have claimed he set up the National Parks to save, hide, and rename some inconvenient ruins and old cultures.


I just find it interesting how these buildings magically appeared, and then magically disappeared. Here is an interesting related excerpt.
  • Apart from the pillars, the John Gibbes doubles could also be of interest. It could either be a mere coincidence, or a tiny slip up giving us an insight into how some people can claim their family tree going hundreds of years back.



Well-known member
Marble pillars, statues of gods, and an abandoned Greek temple in a low country swamp?
Glory be! As we say in Virginia.
That's just a southern tradition, mah dear suh, as the Colonel said.

Belle Grove LA.jpegplantation 1.jpeg

No story there...


Well-known member
Lot to digest there, but two quick thoughts on the video of the expo: several children running around and the landscaping, aside from the waterways, looks awful. Odd they would plant small bushes and shrubs that look like they need a few years for a temporary event.

Edit: from the brochure, not sure about the flag, but really not sure about what's to the right of the flag:


This flag looks kinda sad.

Did this expo offer wheelchair rides too or was it BYOB (bring your own black guy)?

Vaporizing in the breeze:
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Well-known member
Honestly, I hit on what the OTHERS could do to achieve total control last night. Better just keep it to myself. It'll probably happen anyway...
But related to this INCREDIBLE GLORIOUSNESS...
Somebody with a decent A/V background and an impressive collection of pictures should do a video slideshow.
JUST the pictures with dates and locations and NO DIALOGUE.
You have to "slip them a Mickey (Mouse)" and not challenge too much at once.
A slideshow of all of the architecture, the cities, the fairs and exhibitions and expositions, the fires and destruction...
Just put all of that out there and get the QUESTIONS rolling. They're what's actually important, not the answers we're groping around in the dark for. We already know what we need to know.
Maybe start with North and South America, then move back to the rest to show parallel timelines and frames. It's all so muddled and confused over there with SO MUCH history. Less so over here because the BS American history we all heard is like a frog fart in a hurricane anymore.
What?... WHAT?! I can't hear you! It just sounds like NONSENSE!!
Post automatically merged:

Also, if anybody lives in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, St Louis, San Francisco, ETC...
You should put your PHONE down or close your COMPUTER and waddle down to your local and probably HUGE library.
Check out the old periodicals or papers. Fire up some microfilm and microfiche viewers and get some more info and photos. Just times and places. Maybe a few absurd names attributed to architecture.
Think about how much isn't on the internet. MOST of it because it's too much work and it involves technology. And who's USUALLY into history? That's right! FOSSILS. Nosy old farts. And what aren't they usually good with? Right again! Computers and technology.
Another thing that puts them off. I know cause it puts ME off. And I noticed it about the history collections my now dead grandfather had... All the killing and war. Seems to be all they talk about. Politics.
So, we have to get PAST that to the power plays and musical thrones, and then past THAT to the bigger global agenda.
But mainly photos and dates from here, there and EVERYWHERE.
Then go into wars, what they actually destroyed besides thousands of lives...
The fires and floods.
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Well-known member
I seriously laughed out loud at the guy lifting his hat over and over in the video. Hilarious. But then I started to get freaked out by the way everyone was walking- some people were really way too stiff. Maybe they were just nervous in front of the camera (you see them glance toward it as they walk by) but nervousness can't account for the strange walks of some. Also the guy compulsively lifting his hat at the beginning looks almost programmed, and when he bumps into another person, it's like he reboots and goes back the other way. Originally funny, then pretty creepy. What the heck was going on there?? Honestly reminds me of the scene in westworld where they are originally testing the hosts in the *civil war* town, but arnold is frustrated because their movements are too crude.

Perhaps we should be examing the terms confederacy and union, just as we should be looking at the terms royalist and bonapartist, across the pond. I'd be curious about any references between 'gods' and 'little people/men'. That prison for union soldiers looks pretty big, were the union soldiers big too, I wonder? Could explain the tiptoe steps of the people in the video-if there were giant soldiers imprisoned nearby, one might well be jumpy!
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Bear Claw

Well-known member
I am not sure if it has already been pointed out. Apologies if so. However, in case it hasn't...

The constitution refers to Natures God.

  • The "laws of nature and of nature's God" entitle the United States to independence.
  • Men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
  • Congress appeals "to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions."
  • The signers, "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence," pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.
The reason for referring to Natures God was given as:

The term "nature's God" refers to that which responsible for human (and the rest of) nature being what it is. It is a way of speaking of God insofar as God is knowable by human reason. In other words, our minds, unassisted by divine revelation, can figure out that there is such a thing as human nature, and that there are laws or rules that we must follow if we are to live justly and well. Reason can see that if we violate those laws, we will suffer such evils as death, slavery, or misery. A New England preacher explained the concept in this way: "The law of nature (or those rules of behavior which the Nature God has given men, . . . fit and necessary to the welfare of mankind) is the law and will of the God of nature, which all men are obliged to obey. . . . The law of nature, which is the Constitution of the God of nature, is universally obliging. It varies not with men's humors or interests, but is immutable as the relations of things." (Abraham Williams, Election Sermon, Boston 1762.)

However, is it not more logical to assume that Natures God actually refers to Pan? The explanation above seems "OTT". Perhaps it is referring to the God of natural law rather than the man-made law. I don't know. But it is food for thought.

Pan (god) - Wikipedia

Pan of course can be linked to Satan. Apologies if this doesn't directly relate to the Charleston WI Exhibition. Its a tangent off whether the US is founded upon Christianity or Paganism.


Well-known member
Well, "Satan" already rules through the Catholic church anyway. Religion of Rome, Bank of London and Military of the good old U.S. of A! The Empire never ended.


Active member
The racecourse looks temporary, like a circus tent. It is interesting that the Charlestonian elite would consider the exposition to be an exercise in unseemly self-promotion, though. Compared to northern wealth, at least prior to the Gilded Age, southern wealth have never seemed to have a problem with expressing their wealth with large homes, large estates, sumptuous carriages, fine clothing, etc. Crass commercialism in the form of advertising and other tactics seems to be scant prior to the 1900s, but perhaps they were festooned and barraged with the same jarring promotions we have have had to endure since the birth of mass material culture? Perhaps that was what they were objecting to?

Despite the ongoing revisionism and christwashing of history in action, the period beginning from the Enlightenment until maybe the end of the 18th century, the majority of the world was pretty secular for the most part. Probably more secular than we realize. Some parts may have been more religious (like the American South). The 1844 "revivals" were supposed to be the point where, at least here in the United States, people began to be more religious. We are probably more "religious" today than our great-grandparents and great-great grandparents. Not coincidentally, but these all coincide with major world crises or power shifts. Civil War, World Wars I and II, and whatever we have going on today. Last time religion was heavily influential was the so-called colonial era, when the British had their lower provinces in North America along the Atlantic seaboard. Back when the Pilgrims landed, the Salem Witch trials were carried out, etc. The provinces often had their own state religions, although the British crown seemed to have relaxed this requirement with the provinces of Pennsylvania, which was heavily mixed and more secular; and Maryland, which was founded in part by the Carroll family, which was Catholic and sought to create a haven for Catholics in North America. Colonialism was reaching its peak and revolutions were bubbling under the surface. That being said, I think that the usage of classical gods and goddesses has a far more significant history than we are directed to believe.

Concerning Pan and Satan, the only thing they really have in common are horns. Pan is definitely a nature god, being tied with the untamed wilds. Satan is probably just a composite fixture, made up of symbols and qualities from a number of gods (and goddesses for that matter). For the god mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, the classical gods most closely tied to natural law would be Jupiter, Justitia, or Themis. The latter two are goddesses, and it might seem counter intuitive to refer to them as "gods" rather than goddesses. However, I have seen instances where a god is used as a neuter word rather than masculine, especially when referred to in the plural. Themis is called Mos in Latin, for more or custom. She is essentially the power which set boundaries for the natural world, whether its laws of physics, laws of biology, etc. A little more involved than simple traditions or mores as we know them. The etymology for Themis comes from the Greek "to set in place" and it shares common origin with the word "theme", which has its obvious definition.

I would suspect that nature's god could also potentially a reference to the Neoplatonic "One" which is essentially the prime mover, or some such similar idea. Despite the lack of polytheistic religious worship of its 'ancient' counterpart, Deism does have some superficial similarities with Neoplatonic theology. The Neoplatonists were fervently religious and encouraged traditional polytheistic worship. Deists reject any kind of divine revelation though. There is a precedent for an organized Deistic religion though. To put it into perspective: despite strains of atheism being strong in Revolutionary France with the cult of Reason, the First French Republic was heavily Deistic to the point where a Deistic cult was made the official state religion. They trashed everything associated with Christianity, including the Gregorian calendar (maybe because they knew it and the AD system was garbage?).

The Cult of the Supreme Being in Revolutionary France might be similar to the much earlier cult of the Hypsistarians. The latter were 'pagans' who were especially devoted to the 'Hypsistos' or "most high god". I put the word 'pagan' in quotes because it is an anachronistic term. The Hypsistarians are believed to have existed at least until the 5th century, by which time they were called coelicoli or "heaven worshippers" and they were compelled to become Christians, or else [...]. Really, if chronology has been artificially extended and peppered with fabrications and false doublets to provide some kind of historical basis for an entirely different world order than the one it replaced (or destroyed), then perhaps the Hypsistarians and the Cult of the Supreme Being might actually be one and the same or the latter a direct offshoot of the former?



Well-known member
"It looks like we can officially say good-bye to the Christianity in the 19th century United States. At least, as far as Expos go, it's nothing but the Paganism. We most definitely could try to justify the obvious, but what do we really see there? Well... unless this is some alternate reality of course."

It looks like we can also say goodbye to Christianity as far as what the elites of Northern Europe worshipped some while back IF we were to judge from the symbology they depicted in their castles. I have visited so many and I always noticed the lack of Christian symbols while Pagan ones were plenty. Hermes, Pan all those guys everywhere. You can take a tour in Swedish castles and the guides happily tell you that Masonry is the name of the game and that the King of Sweden is their head still today. So is Christianity just a program for the peasants?