The Trans-Mississippi Exposition


THE evolution of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition goes bravely on. It is very much the story of Chicago in the winter of 1892-3, only a good many problems which were serious then, because man had never done the like before, are now solved. And so the staff-workers and the carpenters and the other artisans are working with far more intelligence than they did in Chicago. Much of the work is being done by men who gained experience in the school of the Columbian Exposition.

All of the buildings on the main grounds are well under way, and at least two have reached a stage where, from an exterior point of view, they appear about finished.

As they stand, ranged along the sides of the long lagoon they have all so far taken shape that the visitor is able to form a very clear idea of the ultimate scene. It will resemble very greatly in many ways the Court of Honor in Jackson Park. Standing at the east end of the lagoon and looking down the half mile stretch of water, the scene, both by day and night, will be a beautiful and impressive one. On the right, in order, stand the three great structures to be devoted to Machinery, Manufactures and Agriculture, while facing them, on the south line of the lagoon, are the Auditorium, the Mines building, the Liberal Arts building and the Fine Arts building. In the middle of the lagoon is an island, connected with either shore by artistic bridges, and facing the island, on the right, is a symmetrical and artistic tower and arch containing the Administration offices. This latter building stands midway between the Agricultural and Manufactures buildings. and is connected with them by artistic colonnades. Across from the island, and beyond the lagoon, stands the majestic Arch of the States, closely modeled after the famous Arc de Triomphe of Paris, or the Washing-ton Arch of New York City This massive work is to be laid in twenty-four courses, representative of the twenty-four Trans-Mississippi states and territories which stand sponsor for the Exposition. It will form the grand entrance to the grounds facing Twentieth street, a broad avenue which stretches away to the heart of the city.

At the extreme west end of the la-goon, the basin widens into a lake, the sides of which form a perfect trefoil, while beyond and facing this, rises the massive building of the Federal Government, flanked upon either side by colonnades, stretching out in semi-circles so as to practically connect it with the adjacent Agriculture and Fine Arts buildings. As the visitor stands upon the island and looks upon this imposing scene. with the United States Government building in the background, the Piazza in the front, and the colonnades sweeping off to the right and left, he is perforce re-minded of that wonderful pile on the banks of the Tiber—St. Peter's.

Leaving the point of view at the east end of the lagoon. and passing down on the right side for a closer inspection, new beauties are presented at every step.


The immense structure designed for the display of machinery and electrical appliances, while perhaps one of the simplest in design of any building on the grounds, is none the less effective. It is Greek, of course, as everything is and must be pagan Greek. But there is a strange and not offensive blending of the nineteenth century with the days of Phidias in the decoration of this building. There is a great oblong pile, with a small, square tower on each of the four corners, and an

enormous projecting pilastered tower for a main doorway in the center of the south facade. Sweeping round all four sides of the roof are banners and pennants. and on each turret and tower stand groups of statuary, symbolical of modern science and handicraft. These allegorical figures represent the triumph of mind over matter, that long evolution from the primitive state to the hour when the supremacy of man over all things material is acknowledged. One heroic piece, entitled "Man Controlling the Forces of Nature," surmounts the main entrance. The cornice is unique; it runs about the whole building and consists of two sizes of cog-wheels interlaced. The interior of this building is to be filled with machinery, special attention being devoted to an electrical display illustrative of the latest phases of this ever-developing science. Prof. Elihu Thomson will loan his valuable historical collection of electrical appliances, which attracted such widespread attention at Chicago, and which, during the last five years, has been greatly improved and enlarged. Tesla will add his apparatus for the development of the polyphase system of lighting and power, and Lent Squier will contribute an elaborate exhibit of electrical sea-coast defense apparatus. Edison has promised to prepare a department which will eclipse even the wonderful showing he made at Paris in 1889. Among his latest inventions, which will have a   place in the building, will be one illustrative of his method of extracting iron from refractory ores, coupled with an exhibition of the reduction of precious metals destined to revolutionize the silver and gold industries. In the section devoted to machinery will be found a splendid collection of the latest types of agricultural mechanism and a number of inventions never be-fore exhibited at any exposition.

The building devoted to agriculturalIntegrity. In the frieze below is the conventional figure of Abundance," flanked by the shields of the common-wealth and the nation, supported by figures of stalwart youths. Similar groups crown the pavilions on each corner of the structure, and are symbolical of the four seasons, with Spring at the east and Autumn at the west. This building is to be decorated in dull Pompeiian colors, the intertwining fruits, vines and other products of the displays will naturally take a high place. The contributing states are peculiarly rich in those things which go to make up a fine showing in this department. The Temple of Ceres itself is a fitting abode for the products of this granary of the world. It is a mammoth building. beautifully deco-rated with pavilions, towers, arches, pillars and pilasters, with a metope most elaborately adorned with symbolical reliefs. Over the center door is a group of statuary representing Prosperity, supported by Labor and soil being picked out in their native hues.

The building devoted to mines and mining is done in Greek-Ionic. The entrance is placed under a circular dome 150 feet in circumference and rising to a height of seventy-five feet.

The United States Government building has a frontage on the lake of over two hundred feet. It will be suggestive of the National Capitol at Washington, with a broad flight of steps to the main building, with the House and Senate wings on either   end and all dominated by the colossal dome. which' will tower above every-thing else upon the grounds. Instead of the traditional Goddess of Liberty, this dome will be surmounted by a reproduction of Bartholdi's statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World." The torch, which will be lighted nightly, reaches up 178 feet from the ground.

The Fine Arts building, or rather buildings—for there are two of them connected by a court—are most artistic and characteristic in design. They are in the form of Greek crosses, one being the counterpart of the other. Nothing could surpass this design in its peculiar adaptation to the purpose. The plans contemplate a system of illumination and ventilation rarely ex-celled. In this respect, at least, the designers have profited by the lessons of the Fine Arts building at the World's Fair. There will be a plenitude of light and pure air.


Lying east in succession are the Liberal Arts building, the Mines building and the Auditorium, stately buildings of characteristic design and enormous proportions. Each is splendidly appointed for the purposes in view. The Auditorium will be occupied by the numerous congresses and conventions which have been so timed that they succeed each other almost daily, and form ever-changing occasions for special interest.

This main arena of the Exposition covers a tract of ground half a mile long and 500 feet wide. The scene as the visitor enters on the south side, through the great Arch of the States, will be entrancingly beautiful. The long lagoon, with the central island and the adjacent piazzas covered with green, the gondolas and electric launches flitting back and forth beneath the ornate bridges, the immense Zolnay Fountain, typifying "Omaha" seated in a chariot, drawn by American mountain lions, rising from the center of the trifolium—these, surrounded by the nine great buildings, the Administration Arch and the connecting colonnades, fill up a picture of rare perfection. At night, all this. will be lighted by innumerable thou-  

  sands of incandescent lights picking out the border of the lagoon and outlining classic forms of the buildings. domes and minarets, while from the skies will burst the dazzling rays of a dozen enormous searchlights.

But all this is in the cause of education and the higher life of the mortals. Away to the eastward, across Sher-man avenue. is, after all, that which will doubtless prove the most attractive feature of the Exposition. Here

is an immense tract, sixty feet above the waters of the Missouri River, and with a splendid view up and down that majestic stream. The spot is remarkably picturesque. This tract, which is connected with the main grounds by a viaduct, will be the scene of the Street of all Nations, as well as the Horticultural building and the buildings of the individual states, of which there will be a large number. The Street of all Nations will contain the usual Cairene village, a Moorish town, a reproduction of Old Vienna, a miniature reproduction of the famous Cripple Creek mining camp, requiring 300 people for its production, an Afro-American Village, illustrating life among the negroes of the south, a Tyrolean hamlet, an old English County Fair, and the Chinese Village. A distinct novelty will be the Wine Cascade, a perfect reproduction in miniature of the Niagara Falls. The base work including the rocks, Goat Island and the Three Sisters will be done in glass, over and about which will sweep an unceasing flow of California wine. The precious liquid will, of course, be conserved in the gorge below, and automatically and secretly be returned to the fountain-head to do duty again.

Not far from this scene of merri-   ment, on the Bluff Tract, will be the beautiful Horticultural Palace, filled with a rare collection of the flora and fauna of the middle western states, including a tropical department, to be arranged in most attractive fashion. In the dome of the building will hang a chime of bells which will nightly peal forth the Angelus. Surrounding the Horticultural building will be an open air garden, growing a vast collection of exotics imported for this occasion.


Not far away, and stretching along the brow of the hill, with the magnificent view up and down the valley of the Missouri, will be the individual buildings of the many participating states. Illinois will have an exceedingly pretentious and artistic home, designed in a combination of Greek and Byzantine architecture. with a dome 115 feet high. Nebraska has a fine building ninety by 145 feet. Iowa, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, and even far-off New Jersey, are already at work in the preparation of plans for buildings.

A number of foreign countries have accepted the invitation of the President of the United States, and signified their intention of being represented. Official notifications have been received from China, Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Bolivia and Canada that these countries will send exhibits. The Canadian building promises to be particularly attractive.

The Exposition grounds are about two miles from the heart of the city of Omaha, but are easily reached by numerous street car lines. The transportation facilities are excellent. Omaha is well provided with hotels, but in addition, a great many private houses will be thrown open to the guests, and there is no reason to doubt that the visitors will be comfortably entertained at very reasonable rates.