Even with a handful of St. Louis landmarks still standing 110 years later, it’s still hard to imagine the grandeur of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known to us as the 1904 World’s Fair. Beginning in the spring of that year, more than 20 million people from all corners of the globe would show up at our doorstep, ready to experience the world at their fingertips through our city.
What was it like, you ask? One only needs to stroll in and around Forest Park for an inkling: Cass Gilbert’s Palace of Fine Arts now stands as the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Smithsonian Flight Cage exhibit now serves as the bird cage at the Saint Louis Zoo, and the fair’s administrative headquarters is the current Brookings Hall at Washington University. In addition, we’ll get a taste of the flavors that were popularized more than a century ago. And we’ll also reconnect with some cultural groups who were part of the melting pot that came to St. Louis in 1904 and continue to thrive here today.