Title

From the ‘Exposition Question’ to an International Fair and Exposition: Detroit’s venture in America’s Exposition Fever, 1887-1895

Submitter Information

Harrison PriebeFollow

Type of Proposal

Oral Presentation

Start Date

23-3-2018 10:35 AM

End Date

23-3-2018 11:55 AM

Location

Alumni Auditorium C

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Steven Palmer

Abstract/Description of Original Work

The 1880s represented the birth of America’s elusive desire of exposition fever. Spawned from Western Europe’s elaborate modern expositions in the mid-nineteenth century, the movement would make its way to America in 1876 with Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition. Expositions soon flourish throughout the nation in the 1880s where hundreds were hosted in both small and large American cities. A movement, in which I name exposition fever, was birthed. Once in full swing it was a fever that attracted American cities to answer the call of hosting grand expositions in the hopes of putting their city on the map of a developing world nation. Detroit, suffering from exposition fever, would not be left out as it was announced in 1889 that the city would be hosting their own International Fair and Exposition. My presentation aims to tell the untold story of this historical, yet, forgotten event in Detroit’s history, as I fill in the missing historiographical gap, for to this date there is a complete absence of scholarly work on the exposition itself. Through my analyzes what went into the ambition and planning of Detroit’s top capitalists and politicians to secure its own exposition, I argue that Detroit, with intent to put their city on the map and on par with great American cities such as Chicago and New York, did participate in America’s exposition fever. Starting in 1887, the paper explores the city’s pursuit to host an exposition, deemed the “exposition question” and formed by its most ambitious citizens, and what went into its attempt and failure of producing an exposition. It continues to dissect the city’s success of securing Detroit’s International Fair and Exposition of 1889. The analysis goes further to evaluate what elements of Detroit’s exposition consisted as the norm and what made its exposition unique to separate itself from the rest of nation’s expositions. Furthermore, my presentation continues to explore the exposition’s end in 1895, and how although the grounds were leveled and the fair forgotten, it gave rise to a civic effort to establish the city’s identity, which was carried out through the creation of other grand city projects.

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Mar 23rd, 10:35 AM Mar 23rd, 11:55 AM

From the ‘Exposition Question’ to an International Fair and Exposition: Detroit’s venture in America’s Exposition Fever, 1887-1895

Alumni Auditorium C

The 1880s represented the birth of America’s elusive desire of exposition fever. Spawned from Western Europe’s elaborate modern expositions in the mid-nineteenth century, the movement would make its way to America in 1876 with Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition. Expositions soon flourish throughout the nation in the 1880s where hundreds were hosted in both small and large American cities. A movement, in which I name exposition fever, was birthed. Once in full swing it was a fever that attracted American cities to answer the call of hosting grand expositions in the hopes of putting their city on the map of a developing world nation. Detroit, suffering from exposition fever, would not be left out as it was announced in 1889 that the city would be hosting their own International Fair and Exposition. My presentation aims to tell the untold story of this historical, yet, forgotten event in Detroit’s history, as I fill in the missing historiographical gap, for to this date there is a complete absence of scholarly work on the exposition itself. Through my analyzes what went into the ambition and planning of Detroit’s top capitalists and politicians to secure its own exposition, I argue that Detroit, with intent to put their city on the map and on par with great American cities such as Chicago and New York, did participate in America’s exposition fever. Starting in 1887, the paper explores the city’s pursuit to host an exposition, deemed the “exposition question” and formed by its most ambitious citizens, and what went into its attempt and failure of producing an exposition. It continues to dissect the city’s success of securing Detroit’s International Fair and Exposition of 1889. The analysis goes further to evaluate what elements of Detroit’s exposition consisted as the norm and what made its exposition unique to separate itself from the rest of nation’s expositions. Furthermore, my presentation continues to explore the exposition’s end in 1895, and how although the grounds were leveled and the fair forgotten, it gave rise to a civic effort to establish the city’s identity, which was carried out through the creation of other grand city projects.