The Administration Building

6401 S Richards Dr Chicago

The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition/The Administration Building
Written By HistoryCop

HistoryCop was founded by Ray Johnson, a life-long Chicago area resident and history buff who is a former criminal investigator.

The Administration Building

The Administration Building occupied a commanding presence on the west side of the Court of Honor on the Grand Basin.  The building was designed by world-renowned New York architect Richard M. Hunt and was built at cost of $650,000.  The spectacular gilded dome stood at 220 feet with a diameter of 120 feet.  The building contained four pavilions which were all 84 feet by 84 feet and housed the offices of the fair administrators.

Opening Ceremonies

The Columbian Expo's opening ceremonies were held on the East side of the Administration Building.  A large grandstand which ran the length of the building carried many dignitaries including U.S. President Grover Cleveland.  Over 100,000 persons were crammed into the small area and as more arrived the crowd was pushed closer and closer to the grandstand.  The Columbian Guard was no longer able to hold the crowds back and the U.S. Cavalry which had been stationed on the Midway Plaisance was called in on horseback to try to prevent the crowds from collapsing the grandstand.  It eventually proved too much for even the U.S. military and President Cleveland was advised to keep his comments brief.  After 10 minutes the President pressed the gold plated telegraph key which set in motion the giant motors and pumps which powered the MacMonnies Fountain.  Doves were released and the band played, "My County Tis of Thee".  The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition was open!

Mural by William de Leftwich Dodge

A huge color mural entitled, "Glorification of the Arts and Sciences", covered the upper interior of the dome and was designed by William de Leftwich Dodge.  While no color photographs of the mural exist, Judy Koessel, a former Riverside, Illinois resident, found a scale version of the mural in the foyer of her home.  Upon moving she had the mural professional removed and it is currently in storage.

Upon closer inspection of the mural one can clearly see the image of Dodge's future wife, Fanny!

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The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

The Administration Building

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