Chicago World's Fair Research Paper

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The late 19th century, the Gilded Age, was seen as a prosperous and golden age for America. Yet, underneath the gilded landscape, lay a foundation of corruption and violence. Europe saw America as a wealthy nation lacking elegance and grace (PBS). The close of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century played host to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Fair would prove the Europeans wrong, the Fair would define America as place rich in innovation and culture. The World’s Fair is formally known as The Colombian Exposition, celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The exposition attracted twenty six million visitors ("History Files - The World's Columbian Exposition" ). The Exposition utilized burgeoning…show more content…
Burnham & Root, Adler & Sullivan and Olmsted played decisive and dynamic roles in the creation of the Exposition. Burnham’s decision to construct his court of honor with imposing white pillars brought neoclassical style to the forefront of architecture (Larson 375). The Fair demonstrated to the world that America was able of producing cities on the same level of the great European cities. Burnham’s Court of Honor that included the most important buildings of the Exposition became his legacy; after the fair he was asked by high ranking officials to design major cities such as San Francisco and St. Louis, he was even invited to finish L’enfant’s vision of the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. (Larson 374). He fathered the City Beautiful movement which would last for the next twenty years. The City Beautiful movement was about art just as much as it was about architecture; it was the designing of whole cities. Cities were planned strategically; landscape and architecture played equally important roles in this movement (“Architecture: The City Beautiful Movement”). Buildings were constructed in the style of the Old World masters. Critics such as Sullivan condemned Burnham claiming that Burnham’s vision sent American architecture back generations and “extinguished [the] indigenous [American] vernacular, and replaced it with a renewed devotion to obsolete classical styles” (Larson 375). Others argue that Burnham created a distinct American style in the world of architecture. Burnham recognized that America was a product of the Old World and its heritage derived from Europe (“Architecture: The City Beautiful Movement”). He encouraged a recollection of classical architecture but he also encouraged originality; evidenced in his construction of skyscrapers which dot the skyline of

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