The Great Event of 1898


The Great Event of 1898—The Trans-Mississippi And International Exposition at Omaha, Nebraska. [See Article on Page 74.] Copyright, 1898, by Leslie's Weekly. The Lagoon and the Principal Buildings.

Mines and Mining Building.

Machinery and Electricity Building.


Manufactures Building.


The Great Event of 1898.


No exposition of the wealth, productive industries, and civilization of the great West ever has been held. Former expositions either confined exhibits to limited territory or, as was the case at the Columbian fair, permitted foreign nations and the United States government to overshadow, it not to eclipse, the showing made by Western States. with but two or three exceptions. The Trans-Mississippi and international Exposition, which is illustrated in this week's issue of LESLIE'S WEEKLY, will display the products, manufactures, industries, and re-sources of the trans-Mississippi States, with exhibits illustrating educational and moral advancement, and will give the first true measure of Western civilization.

The objects to be subserved by such an exposition are largely commercial. The projectors of the Omaha exposition believe that a collection of the products and manufactures distinctively of the West will not only engage the attention of Western people, but will attract the commercial interests of the East, and thus bring the two sections into closer cnnuuercial 1l relations.

Within Nebraska and States totalling its borders there is an aggregate population exceeding nine millions, while the population of the, States west of the Mississippi River has multiplied three-fold during the past twenty-five years, and to-day is no less than twenty millions. The area of the trans-Mississippi region is more than two million five hundred thousand square miles, within which are the vast cattle ranges, the great wheat and corn producing States; States and Territories which produce ninety per cent. of the precious metals and other minerals ; States whose dense forests of merchantable timber are inexhaustible; States whose live stock, agriculture, horticulture, dairy, and other products of the soil are enormous beyond computation.

The Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress, composed of delegates from every State and Territory west of the Mississippi River, in the fall of 1895, by unanimous vote, designated Omaha as the exposition city. Situated at the geographical centre of the United States, the metropolis of Nebraska enjoys natural advantage possessed by few cities of its class. It is one of the most important commercial distributing centres in the central West, commanding the trade of a wide territory. The value of the chief cereal products of Nebraska this year is conservatively estimated at one hundred million dollars. The live stock industry in this and neighboring States has assumed during the past two years immense proportions. The value of the output of the Omaha packing-houses last year was over seventy-live million dollars. The aggregate increase of manufactures and industries of lesser magnitude, the fresh impetus to the beet-Sugar industry and to great irrigation enterprises, and the unprecedented crops of the prairie States can be urged in support of the efforts now making to attract Eastern commercial bodies and manufacturers by making it clear to them that the Omaha exposition will afford the only opportunity ever presented to extend their trade and to establish closer and permanent commercial relation: with the people of the West.

Eastern men who may have some doubt of the ability of the projectors of the Omaha exposition to push it to a successful issue are reminded that Congress more than a year ago appropriated two hundred thousand dollars for a government building and exhibits, while the Senate quite recently passed a bill appropriating forty-five thousand dollars to cover the cost of an ethnological exhibit which will be one of the strongest features of the exposition. It is proposed to gather representatives of every Indian tribe in the United States and to bring them to Omaha and provide for them an encampment which will occupy four acres of ground and will consist of two hundred and fifty tepees. In connection with the exhibit will be shown the work of Indian schools, with other products of Indian civilization—their appropriate houses, apparel, weapons, utensils, industrial appliances, and ceremonial objects.

The government commission named by President McKinley is preparing many unique features for the first time to be introduced in the government exhibit. Postmaster-General Gary has ordered a special issue of commemorative Trans-Mississippi Exposition stamps. The Government building will be the largest structure on the exposition-grounds, its total length being five hundred and four feet, and height at pinnacle one hundred and seventy-eight feet. While nearly every. State in the West has signified its intention to participate in the Omaha ex-position, the States in the central West are most active in pre-paring exhibits.

Nebraska appropriated one hundred thousand dollars, Omaha and Douglas County one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, while the people of Omaha subscribed five hundred thousand dollars. Illinois appropriated forty-five thousand dollars, and is putting up a building. Wisconsin will erect a building at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars, and place therein a comprehensive exhibit of manufacturers and native products. Wyoming will spend at least forty thousand dollars in making an exhibit. South Dakota has placed twenty-five thousand dollar as the limit, Iowa sixty-thousand dollars, Montana thirty thousand dollars, Utah fifteen thousand dollars, Colorado fifty thousand dollars, while Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Texas. Louisiana, California, and New Mexico are beginning the work preparatory to large representation.

The Chinese government. Canada, Mexico. Venezuela, Costa

Rica, Bolivia, the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, and the Central and South American states will be officially represented, and most of them will place exhibits at Omaha. Thus it will be seen that the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition is not a local project. On the contrary, it is one which not only appeals to the Eastern merchant and manufacturer who seeks to extend his trade throughout the West, but to every industry seeking an extension of trade beyond the borders of the United States.

The exposition-grounds, in the northern part of Omaha, em-brace two hundred acres. The site is a broad plateau overlooking the Missouri River. Trolley and steam railway lines make the run from the heart of the city in ten minutes. The arena the architects have chosen for a display of the highest artistic effect is pitched in a great rectangle half a mile long, through which a canal one hundred and fifty feet wide runs ; and at the west end, facing the United States Government building, there is a three-lobed lake, four hundred feet across, connecting with

the basin. On either side of the canal are ranged the main exposition buildings. Along the north side of the basin are the Agriculture building, the Administration Arch, the Mines and Mining building, arid. the Machinery and Electricity building. Along the south side are the Fine Arts, the Arch of States or main entrance, the Liberal Arts, the Manufactures building, and the Auditorium. To the north a large area is devoted to concessionaires, to athletic fields, irrigation, horticulture, sugar-beet and agricultural exhibits, live-stock sheds, transportation buildings, etc. Over to the east, on what is locally known as the Bluff tract, are the State buildings, a section of the Mid-way, the Horticulture, Apiary, Poultry, and other buildings.

The main exposition buildings are nearing completion. One noticeable point is the success of the architects in keeping free from the influence of other expositions. The plan of grounds, the grouping and design of buildings, the scheme of color, are all wholly different from any former achievement. The buildings will be given the tint of old marble, the staff work being colored to produce this effect. There is no doubt that the builders will have completed their work in time to inaugurate the exposition on the date set, June 1st, 1898.

Many unique attractions will characterize the amusement section. There will be theatres of foreign nations and mechanical novelties in infinite variety. Cripple Creek in miniature, an exact reproduction of the famous mining-camp, will occupy fifteen thousand square feet, requiring three hundred people to produce it. The Afro-American village will be illustrative of every phase of life among the negroes of the South, reproducing the native pastimes and melodies, and portraying ill detail the cotton-field and gin, plantation life, and native abodes. Voodooism, embracing many of the negro superstitions, will be a feature; while on the operatic stage the programmes will include some of the finest operas rendered by the famous negro vocalists of the United States.

It is the purpose of the managers of this concession to interest Mr. Anton Dvorak, the famous com-poser, of New York City, who has given special study to the native negro melodies, and to induce him, if possible, to permit the rendition of his re-cent composition, the theme of which is drawn from the melodies of the typical negro of the South. Sherman's umbrella, a mechanical invention by which passengers are elevated to a height of three hundred feet and revolved slowly within a circle of two hundred and fifty feet, will be a distinguishing feature of the section. There will be Moorish, Irish. Tyrolean, Chinese, and German villages, and many other high-class attractions.

A corporation styled the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, with a capital of one milion dollars, constituted according to law, is in control of the exposition. In addition to stock subscriptions and donations amounting to five hundred thousand dollars, revenues from various sources aggregating not less than one million dollars are positively assured. With these resources at command the managers are vigorously pushing the work of preparation of grounds, construction of buildings, and of the development of plans to promote the enterprise. The active management of the exposition is vested in a directory of fifty members, with an executive committee of six department managers. Hon. Edward Rosewater, editor of the Omaha Bee, is manager of the department of publicity and promotion. Pictures illustrating the great buildings, bird's-eye views, and prints of the perspective of the grand canal court are recent issues of the department. J. B. HAYNES.