01/07/2022

1897, Nashville US – Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition

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1897 Nashville

Name:Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition
Dates:1st May – 30 Oct 1897
Days:
Venue:– 200 acres, 2 miles west of Nashville
Theme:The New South
Exhibitors:
Awards:
Visitors:1,800,000 – 1.2, paid admissions
Legacy:A profit of c$50 – the showground became a park, some buildings were relocated
The plaster Partenon was retained and made more permanent in the 1920s
Today it is an Art Museum

Held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tennessee (actually founded 1796), the event was opened by Exposition President J W Thomas on 1st May 1897. It featured agriculture, commerce, culture, education, industry and transportation.

The event was funded significantly by Thomas’s Chattanooga and St Louis Railway and other Nashville businessmen. This led to an unusual feature, the Railroad Building, that featured products from Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia found along the route of Thomas’s railway.

1897 Nashville general view
– Parthenon and Pyramid of Memphis

Nashville had the sobriquet ‘the Athens of the South’ so unsurprisingly the architectural style selected was classical. The buildingsl surrounding a man-made lake, Lake Watauga, with a replica of Venice’s Rialto Bridge.

1897 Parthenon and Pallas Athena

Its main building was a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, serving as the Fine Arts building. A centrepiece was a Pallas Athena statue. Apparently the largest statue produced by a woman sculptor at that time.

A total of thirty-five buildings, the main ones being for Agricultural, Commerce, Forestry, History, Horticulture, Livestock, Machinery, Mineral. Transportation and US Government, there were Children, Negro and Women’s buildings, an Auditorium and Administration,

1897 Booklet cover
Source: Tennessee State Library and Archives

An 87m (285 ft) flagpole sat atop a 15 column base – each column made from a different Tennessee wood. The other significance of this was that Tennessee was the sixteenth state of the USA.

President William McKinley visited for two days, he was a Union veteran and was joined by Confederate veterans to signify the north-south reconciliation.

1897 Giant See-saw

There was midway with the by now regular features – a Cyclorams, a Streets of Cairo feature, a Moorish Palace, a Chinese village – and its own innovation a Giant Seesaw. For 10c the visitor was swayed up and down by 61m (200 ft).

Forward to 1898, Bergen NO – Scandinavian Exhibition for Fishery, Cooling Facilities and Sea Rescue Equipment
Back to 1897, Guatemala City GU – Exposition Centroamericana
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to VOLUME II Index – Back to bobdenton.com home

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