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TRANS-MISSISSIPPI AND INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION OF 1898

In 1898, following the financial panic of 1893 and the droughts of 1894-95, a world-class
exposition was held in Omaha under the guidance of Gurdon W. Wattles and other civic leaders.
The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition emulated earlier "world's fairs" such as at
Chicago in 1893. Twenty-nine states, three territories, and eleven foreign countries were
represented.

Exhibits illustrated the "Progress of the West" after the presumed closing of the frontier. The
government authorized a congress of more than 500 Indians from thirty-five tribes, whose
presence exhibited cultures seemingly doomed to extinction. Notable guests included President
William McKinley, statesman William Jennings Bryan, and showman William F. (Buffalo Bill)
Cody.

The exposition occupied a 184-acre tract encompassing present Kountze Park at 20th and
Pinkney streets. Centered around a lagoon, the Grand Court was lined with monumental, though
temporary, buildings constructed in the popular Neo-classical revival styles under supervision of
architects C. Howard Walker and Thomas R. Kimball. The fair attracted over 2.5 million visitors
from June through October and helped propel Omaha's development as a progressive commercial
center in the twentieth century.

Erected 1998

Trans-Mississippi Exposition Historical Association
Nebraska State Historical Society
Heartland of America Park, between Farnam and Harney Streets at 9th Street, Omaha
Douglas County
Marker 400

 


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Last updated 9 June 2004

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