Omaha was transformed as it played host to the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition in the Summer of 1898. The huge success of recent World’s Fairs was behind the motivation of the creation of this event. Nearly 2 million people came from far and near to explore the exposition from June through October which included exhibits, a midway, amazing buildings and architecture, music, photography, notable speakers, the assembly of Native American Tribes and dozens of other events and special attractions. What DIDN’T they have at the Exposition is really the question?
The University of Nebraska and the Omaha Public Library have taken on a huge and wonderful project regarding the history of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition. There is now a wonderful web site which is a digital archive of the event which you may browse online with many THOUSANDS of images, documents, maps, booklets, advertisements, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, documents and other memorabilia.
The site is created by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities with funding provided by the Plains Humanities Alliance, the Center for Great Plains Studies, and the Office of Research and Economic Development at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is so beautifully constructed and easy to navigate. They have done such a great job with the project everyone should take a look.
Click this link to go the home page to start exploring: Trans-Mississippi International Exposition
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2 thoughts on “Omaha’s 1898 Trans-Mississippi International Exposition”
I’ve never found out why they tore this down. Was it because it was too expensive to maintain? Poor materials? So sad to see that there is nothing left of it when we needed architecture like that here.
Hi Brad – this is something you will find with the World’s Fairs sites also – none of these Exhibition places exist anymore. They were so motivated by progress and using these exhibition sites as testaments to that progress and ability but yet they were not designed to last for more than the purpose of the exhibition. They were simply demolished – something in our day that seems so wasteful. You will find this also in the Southeast Nebraska schools and sometimes churches. The boom years of Nebraska were right before more “modern” advancements in plumbing and heating (no cooling yet). So one reason so many old buildings were demolished was because it simply was easier and cheaper to build something new that provided these modern conveniences than to retro-fit an old building. When we get to looking at old buildings still standing the major pitfalls of those buildings are asbestos and lead. It’s an interesting thing to look at though – how easily they would build and then tear something down. Thanks for visiting the site!