Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top 10 "lecture alert" First World's Fair in America"

Photographs at delcotopten.blogspot.com

1. The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Officially named the International Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, it was held in Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River.

2. Herman J. Schwarzmann designed the Art Gallery building (later known as Memorial Hall). It was made of brick, glass, iron and granite. Memorial Hall, the only exhibit building to survive on the Centennial site. It was designed in the beaux-arts style and housed the art exhibits.  You may recognize it in another way. Since 1976 the Please Touch Museum has taken up residence there.

3. These two building were built as comfort stations during the 1876 Centennial and went through extensive restoration in 2011. I believe they are used as art workshops now. They sit just outside the Horticulture Center.

4. This statue of Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon made of bronze and granite was erected by members of the Presbyterian Church for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition.  If the name sounds familiar, I do believe that I read once that Reese Witherspoon is a descendant of a signer  of the Declaration of Independence. He was the only active clergyman in the Continental Congress and an early President of Princeton.  I believe this is her guy. Wikipedia says her claim has never been verified but I believe her. Joseph Alexis Bailey was the artist.

5. I had to travel all the way to City Point, Virginia to find out about this building. It is now at its original location where it served as Grant's Headquarters during the Civil War but it sat in Fairmount Park for 116 years.  It was on display during the 1876 Centennial. Ulysses S. Grant just happened to be President during the 1876 Centennial.

6. Miss Folly's Fountain can be seen inside the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. Margaret Foley's fountain stood in the center of the main conservatory of Horticulture Hall.

7. Eleven nations beside the U.S. had their own exhibition buildings. So did 26 of the 37 U.S. states. (Ohio House alone survives). It can now be rented out for functions. Would you like to see inside?  Okay wait till #10. I peeked.

8. I am using this park map to illustrate where I found the Japanese lantern in the following picture.  On the map it says Japanese lantern spring.  I do not know if it was part of the Centennial it is off the beaten trail a little if you travel the path from Shofuso to the Horticultural Center. It has age to it so it is possible but I would think it would be marked if it were so, unless I missed a sign. It is in the area I was told the Japanese Pavilion was during the Centennial.

9. Name dropping for the Women who rarely get credit in history. A Women's Centennial Executive Committee was formed with Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin, as president. In its first few months, the group raised $40,000. When the group learned the planning commission was not doing much to display the work of women, the group raised $30,000 for a women's exhibition building. Elizabeth Hutter also was a leading organizer for the 1876 Centennial Exposition among many other roles she played in history.

10. I do not know if the wallpaper on the wall is original to the Ohio House but it sure looks like it could be. If not it sure promotes it.  The outside of the building is pretty awesome too.

If you would like to learn more about the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, the First World's Fair in America, come to the lecture by Mary Ann Eves at the Helen Kate Furness Library located at 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 23.

The Please Touch Museum offers Centennial Grown Up Tours for adults.

You can also get additional information on

Historic Buildings in the Philadelphia Park system at the Fairmount Park Preservation Trust website.

The Association for Public Art formally the Fairmount Park Art Association has a public art bike map and an audio Museum Without Walls tour  among others, check it out under maps.

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