Last updated: April 10, 2015
An Official Daily Program from the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition for Saturday, October 8th.
The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition was a showcase of man’s progress and was intended to commemorate a proud past but also point the way to a bright future. In order to assist the many visitors that attended the Fair, daily programs were issued serving as guide books that described the day’s events. In the artifact collection is one of those colorful programs from October 8th, 1904.
The 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair was laid out and landscaped by George Kessler, It covered 1,200 plus acres and was the largest fair to date. There were over 1,500 buildings, connected by some seventy-five miles of roads and walkways. Exhibits were staged by sixty-two foreign nations, the US government and forty-three of the then forty-five US states. There were over fifty concession-type amusements on the Pike. In light of the immensity of the Fair, it was necessary to issue daily programs so visitors could make the most of their experience. These programs cost 5 cents and were printed by the press of the Model Printery in the Administration Building, in the Hall of Congresses. They contained detailed information on morning, afternoon and evening events including time and place. They also contained advertisements and a map of the Fair. In organizing the Fair, four divisions were created-Exhibits, Exploitation, Works, and Concessions and Admissions. Within the Division of Exploitation, was the Press and Publicity Department, which had the largest and most experienced group of newspaper men of any previous fair. This department created every kind of periodical publication about the Fair. The local press bureau section collected the news of the Exposition day by day, putting it out in the daily programs. Besides the daily programs, the Worlds Fair Bulletin was published as a monthly magazine both before and during the Fair.
Thousands of people from all walks of life converged on Forest Park in 1904 to take part in “the spectacle”. After the Fair opened on April 30, 1904, the average daytime population was usually over 100,000 people including both visitors and those workers who lived on the grounds of the Fair. Although the first few months were disappointing in attendance figures, visitor numbers increased as the Fair progressed. Most fair-goers paid a daily admission fee of 50 cents, but others who either lived in St. Louis or anticipated a longer visit, could buy coupon booklets at reduced rates. Stockholders in the Exposition Company and their families could get in for half price. Employees of the Exposition Company and concessionaires received coupon books with identification photographs for admittance to the Fairgrounds
The great exposition ended on December 1, 1904. The legacy of the Fair lives on. Today St. Louis enjoys Forest Park-an urban oasis that was saved and restored by the Fair., The city still has tangible reminders of the great exposition such as the St. Louis Art Museum, the Worlds’ Fair Pavilion and the St. Louis Zoo’s Bird Cage. All St. Louisans can be proud that for seven months in 1904, a kaleidoscope of humanity came together on the grounds of the exposition and stood in awe at the architecture, technology and wonder of this great fair. St. Louis had again fulfilled its role as gateway city and literally played host to the world. This colorful daily program is another fascinating reminder of the grand display of the 1904 World’s Fair.