View of Grand Basin and Palace of Varied Industries, lighted by thousands of electric lights, St. Louis Fair
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, commonly known as the Saint Louis World's Fair of 1904, was the last great international exposition before World War I. The fair, built on a 1,200 acre site, included hundreds of thousands of objects, people, animals, displays, and publications from 62 exhibiting countries and 43 of the 45 states. The setting of world records, such as the largest organ, and working displays of every important technological advance were significant design goals. The Fair was a combination of trade show, civic showpiece, and monument to culture, along with more than a tinge of American pride. The Fair showcased the grandiose ambition of the gilded age, forming a kind of collective tribute to the nineteenth century's international understanding of the furtherance of peace, prosperity, and progress. It's a grand snapshot in time of American and foreign societies as they wished to portray themselves.