27/11/2022

1883 (-1887), Louisville US – Southern Exposition

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1883 Louisville

Name:Southern Exposition
Dates:1 Aug – 10 Nov 1883 – and each year thereafter until 1887 from Aug-Oct
Days:100
Venue:91 x 183m Main Building – between 4th and 6th with Central Park
– 18 hecatres (45 acres)
Theme:To advance the material welfare of the prodcing classes in the South and West
Exhibitors:1,500 all paying a $25 exhibiting fee
Awards:
Visitors:770,129 paid visitors, 200,193 with free passes
Legacy:The event prompted a building growth in the area,
the site becoming an exclusive residential development in 1990

This event was organised to advance the material welfare of the prodcing classes in the South and West and to exhibit the products andresouves of the southern states to northern and eastern manufacturers.

It had been proposed first in 1889 by Edward Atkinson, a northern financier. It was an attempt to give Louisvill prominence in the reconstrucction of the south, but Atlanta beat them to it with their 1881 International Cotton Exposition.

The Louisville Board of Trade added momentum to it in 1882 by sstablishing a committee with Bidermann du Pont (paper manufacturer) as Exposition President and J M Wright as its general manager.. They set about raising $300,000 that they considered as the budgeted spend, issuing 12,000 shares of $25 each.

1883 Louisville Poster

The site selected was a vacant area betwwn 4th and 6th Streets, a mile south of the city’s business district. Bidermann and his brother owned an area noth of this (known as Central Park). They loaned th Park to the Exposition, expanding its area to 18 hecatres (45 acres).

The Main Building constructed on the site was steel-framed with wood and glass 91.4m (300 ft) x 182.9m (600 ft), to givae an area of 5.3 hectares (13 acres) at a cost of $200,000. A 3,000 seater Music Hall and an Art Gallery were erected in the Park.

1883 Louisville Poster

The event was opened by President Chester A Arthur, Republican 21st president, who as VP succeeded the assassinated James A Garfield in 1881.

Front page news of local newspaper

At the time, the exposition was larger than any previous American exhibition with the exception of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

Louisville Medal

Some 1,500 exhibitors focused on agriculture, mining, saw-milling, sugare refining and textile machinery.

Edison incandescent light bulbs

The Edison Company of New York installed fifteen dynamos to operate 5,000 16-candlepower electric incandescent light bulbs (4,600 for the exhibition area and 400 for the Music Hall), at the time thia was the largest such installation. The Exposition, as the first large space lighted by incandescence led to the comment that the Louisville success did more to stimulate the growth of interior electric lighting than any other Edison plant.

An electric narrow-tracked railway carried visitors around Central Park,

Unusual exhibits included a mammoth from Stuttgart’s Royal Museum and a megatherium found in Argentina and an orangutan from Borneo; all exhibited by the Museum of Natural History.

It became a five event series, running until 1887 every August-October.

Forward to 1883, Madrid ES – Exposition of Mining and Metallurgical Arts, Ceramics, Crystals and Minerals
Back to 1883, London UK – International Fishing Exhibition
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to VOLUME II Index – Back to bobdenton.com home

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