Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Artifacts from the 1904 World’s Fair

Posted in art, awareness, photography by Jason Gray on May 28, 2011

The 1904 World’s Fair, or the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, is a cherished piece of local history in St. Louis. For several months, over one hundred years ago, all the eyes of the world were on St. Louis as it hosted this incredible fête and the Olympics that year.

When the fair came to a close, part of the arrangement agreed to by its organizers was to return the festival’s location, Forest Park, back to its natural state. This meant a speedy disassembly and removal of an enormous amount of material, which presented a significant problem regarding manpower and cost. The resolution was that three makeshift landfill sites were selected around the park where detritus from the fair was buried. As time passed, the locations for these sites fell out of the collective memory (the Missouri History Museum and a few others still know them, but keep this information somewhat guarded).

As some of my readers might already know, I frequently take walks in Forest Park over my lunch breaks. Sometime in the past couple of months, I received a couple of clues referencing where one of these landfill sites might be located. Since then, I have kept my eyes open, and this week, I actually found something.

More after the jump–>

The piece above really surprised me. I found it buried up to the very top corner, and uncovered it with sheer excitement. It is in such perfect condition that I was skeptical that it could really be over 100 years old (and buried for much of that time!). Then, I found something else.

The above is a detail of a saucer fragment that I discovered. The fact that this object featured some writing made me excited, and searching online, I found a veritable date to the piece:

Anyway, I have a lot of better photography to do on these, but in the meantime, I wanted to share. So here are a few more shots of what I have found so far.

My wife, an interior designer with some experience doing historic renovations to Frank Llyod Wright homes in Oak Park, Illinois, recognized some of what I had uncovered and is going to post her own blog about the artifacts sometime soon, so look for that (maybe I will have some of the better images available for her post).


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