The World's Columbian Exposition (also called The Chicago World's Fair), was held in Chicago in 1893, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World. Chicago bested New York City, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis, Missouri, for the honor of hosting the fair. The fair had a profound effect on architecture, the arts, Chicago's self-image, and American industrial optimism. The Chicago Columbian Exposition was designed by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted. It was the prototype of what Burnham and his colleagues thought a city should be. It was designed to follow Beaux Arts principles of design, namely, European Classical Architecture principles based on symmetry and balance.
The exposition covered more than 600 acres, featuring nearly 200 newbuildings of classical architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and culturesfrom around the world. Over 27 million people (equivalent to about half the U.S.population) attended the exposition during its six-month run. Its scale andgrandeur far exceeded the other world fairs, and it became a symbol of theemerging American exceptionalism.
Dedication ceremonies for the fair were held on October 21, 1892, but thefairgrounds were not actually opened to the public until May 1, 1893. The faircontinued until October 30, 1893. In addition to recognizing the 400thanniversary of the discovery of the New World, the fair also served to show theworld that Chicago had risen from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, which haddestroyed much of the city in 1871.
After the first ever world's fair in London in 1851, Chicago held this the15th worlds fair. However Chicago was only the 4th US city to host a world'sfair, this after New York in 1853 (the 2nd world's fair), Philadelphia in 1876(the 8th world's fair), and New Orleans in 1884 (the 10th world's fair).