Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition


Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition.

Omaha, Neb. Bulletin No. 1, March, 1896.

The origin of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition of all the products, resources, industries and civilization of the states and territories west of the Mississippi river, embracing two-thirds of the area of the United States, to be held at Omaha, beginning in June and ending in November in the year 1898, is owing to this resolution unanimously adopted by a rising vote of the Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress at its eighth annual session in this city during the month of November last:

WHEREAS. We believe that an exposition of all the products, industries and civilization of the states west of the Mississippi river, made at some central gateway, where the world can behold the wonderful capabilities of these wealth producing states, would be of great value, not only to the Trans-Mississippi States, but to all the home-seekers of the world, therefore,

Resolved, That the United States Congress be requested to take such steps as may he necessary to hold a Trans-Mississippi Exposition at Omaha during the months of August, September and October, in the year 1898, and that the representatives of such States and Territories in Congress be requested to favor such an appropriation as is usual in such cases, to assist in carrying out this enterprise.

In regard to the Trans-Mississippi Congress, it is composed of the leading and representative men of all classes, professions and business interests of the States and Territories lying west of the Mississippi river, who assemble at stated periods to discuss measures for promoting the commercial and material welfare of the region they represent. and recommend such measures as their judgment dictates to the national government, the states and the people for adoption. It is representative in its capacity, the delegates being selected by the various commercial organizations and the people of their respective States and Territories. It is advisory in character, and its discussions are mainly on any subject, national or local, bearing upon the welfare of its constituency. Its membership is general, being limited to no particular element, and men of all shades of opinion can mingle and fraternize freely, acting with the sole purpose of upbuilding the western half of the North American continent lying within the boundaries of the United States west of the Mississippi river and extending to the Pacific coast, including the Territory of Alaska.

This region embraces nineteen states and five territories, or more briefly, twenty-four states and territories of this republic. As shown further along, its resources are limitless, its wealth enormous, and its population equal to one-fourth of the entire country.

These states and territories are, as they have been, increasing rapidly, and reliable estimates indicate that certain sections are capable of supporting 70,000,000 people without crowding, still leaving a vast domain where the homeless can find millions of prosperous pursuits and homes.

This problem presented itself to the Congress at its session in Omaha, and during the discussions, official and unofficial, among the members, the question arose as to the best method of impressing these facts upon the people of the United States and other nations, and the best manner in which the tremendous resources, wealth and possibilities of the Trans-Mississippi States and Territories could be made known to the people of the world. The enormous wealth and increase of the country west of the Mississipi [sic.], as well as the Mississippi Valley states were conceded in a general way. The rapid growth of its principal cities, like Omaha, Lincoln, Council Bluffs Sioux City, Des Moines, Dubuque, Burlington, Davenport, St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Joseph, New Orleans, Galveston, Dallas, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Helina, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Denver, with Chicago and Milwaukee and numerous manufacturing centers in the east dependent on them, were universally admitted, but the powerful forces at work creating these cornmunities and adding to their prosperity, as well as the states wherein they are located were not appreciably considered. To supply this needed information, as well as to attract the further attention of all persons seeking homes, and avenues to improve their fortunes, as well as investing capitalists, was the desire of this Congress.

In the discussions among the members, the suggestion was made that as the East at Philadelphia in 1876, the Central States Chicago in 1893, the South at New Orleans and Atlanta, had held exposition of their resources, wealth and development, by government aid and recognition, it was due to the twenty-four states and territories west of the Mississippi river to have a similar exposition, which should be second only in magnificence to the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.

The next point was to decide upon the most central location, convenient alike to the people of the East, the West, the North land the South. By reason of the vast system of its railway mileage extending to all parts of the continent, its salubrious and genial climate, and the well known enterprise of its people, Omaha. was unanimously selected by the Congresses the location for the Exposition, as expressed in the preceding resolution.

That Omaha is in the midst of a large populaton and of great wealth is droved by drawing a circle having a radius of 500 of which this city is the center. The line intersects and covers fifteen states East and West of the Mississipp and the Territory of Oklahoma. The people living in these States and Territory number 20,485,088, according to the census of 1890, an increase of 5,262,159 in ten years. They possess an aggregate wealth of $23,576,586,897, an increase in the same period amounting to $10,0[unclear]8,586;897. East of this circle are Ohio, Pennsylvania. New York, New Jersey and New England. [sic.] having a population of 12,530,000, exclusive of the States and Territories South and West of this limit. These people comprise the "traveling public" to a large extent, and show to a certain extent the number of visitors that will he induced to visit the Exposition and the West, during the time it is held at Omaha. One-teeth is number within the 500-mile circle would give an attendance of more than 2,000,000 people. But no, is problematical. At the same time it indicates a greater number of visitors than any display ever held in the history of the West, with the exception of the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.

As to the Trans-Mississippi region in 1890, it contained a population of 16,-545,506, an increase of more than 5,2u6. 000 people. In that year some of its re-sources were as follows, so far s given by the census:

....................................... 1890. Increase over 1880. P'r Ct.

Farms (acres........................... 275,432,331 91,681;868 50

Improved farm lands (acers)............ 159,097,543 63,293,719 66

Horses and Mules (No.)................. 8,429,184 3,635,285 76

Cattle, all kinds (No.)................ 29,153,055 13.620,534 87

Swine (No.)............................ 28,033,782 8,945,050 46

Sheep (No.)............................ 17,590,889 2,830,657 21

Butter (pounds)........................ 337,091,845 156,813,686 87

Eggs (dozens).......................... 301,138,057 175,983,386 139

Corn (bushels)......................... 145,147,491 413,113,338 56

Wheat (bushels)........................ 242,955,365 71,489,395 42

Cotton (bales)......................... 2,839,109 896,682 46

Cane Sugar (pounds).................... 297,606,080 85,617,680 40

Hay (tons)............................. 30,070,312 19,103,720 174

Irish Potatoes (bushels)............... 70,466,560 35,938,843 104

F'rm l'nd f'nces & b'ldgs (v'lue).. 67,711,282 $ 2,480,820,927 113

Farm live stock (value................. 1,014,008,357 $ 479 510,576 89

Factory product value)................. 1,384.335,939 $ 772,598,652 126

Total wealth........................... 20,289,778,495 $11,176,778495 123

The censns [sic.] report of the mineral product of these Trans Mississippi States and Territories places the value at $195,656,141 for that year, but as no returns are given for 1880, no comparison is made.

These are some of the resources of the States and Territories West of the Mississippi, an exhibit of which to Exposition to be held at Omaha is designed to cover, including those not embraced in the census. Should the porportionate rate of increase by 1900, be as great as the preceding decade the total wealth of the Trans-Mississippi region will be equal to forty billion dollars by 1898, or more than two-thirds of the wealth of the United States in 1890.

Adding the resources of the Trans-Mississippi States and Territories to those of the States immediately East of the Mississippi river, we gan a comprehensive idea as to the magnitude of the local region contributory directly to the Exposition of 1898.

Returning to the selection of Omaha by the Trans-Mississippi Congress as the location of the Exposition, it will be seen by the foregoing resolution that it is in no sense local. Omaha it merely the point where the Trans-Mississippi States and Territories, as well as other States and foreign nations, will congregate to display their exhibits. It was so declared by the Congress and the National Congress is requested by that body to designate Omaha and make the appropriations necessary for the government buildings and exhibits. Iowa has officially recognized the Exposition by a joint resolution unanimously passed by both houses of the legislature, requesting its delegation in the two branches of Congress to favor the bill now before it.

All organizations thus far have unanimously favored the Exposition, and, the keenest interest is felt in its success by the leading newspapers between the Allegheny mountains and the Pacific coast.

It is meeting with universal favor and a strong popular demnnd [sic.]

The management will not be local. Each State and Territory in the Trans-Mississippi region will have a share in it, through the appointment of a Vice President by the Governor thereof, so that the full force and authority of the Federal government and the government of each one of the interested States and Territories will be fully enlisted in the great enterprise, which will outrival in splendor anything that has been witnessed between the Mississipi river and the Pacific ocean.

For the purpose of facilitating the work of the proposed exposition, a corporation has been organized under the style of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. Articles of association have been adopted. The amount of capital stock necessary to begin business has been more than subscribed. Officers and directors have been elected and we are now ready for active work.

A bill has been introduced in Congress asking for recognition from the national government, and an appropriation for government buildings and a national exhibit. We earnestly invite your aid in securing legislation from congress at its present session. We hope you will realize the importance of this matter and correspond at once with your senators and representatives, urging upon them the necessity of prompt and liberal action. The great Trans-Mississippi country, with its vast undeveloped resources, should not hesitate to ask for liberal recognition for an exposition of this character. We invite your co-operation in securing it.

It is the desire of this organization that steps be taken in each of the Trans-Mississippi States and Territories to recognize this enterprise, and to secure such legislation as may he necessary to properly exhibit the resources and products of the respective States and Territories. Organization is earnestly requested, and we invite correspondence and solicit your aid in making this Exposition a complete success.

No such opportunity has ever been offered the great West to advertise its resources and products to the world as this Exposition will afford.