he following is a list of some of the interesting structures that were erected for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.


Administration Building

Fair organizers leased the new Washington University campus in 1901, including four buildings already built or under construction by the University as part of their effort to extend the Fairgrounds westward. The lease, for $650,000 ran to the end of 1903, and included provisions for payment of another $100,000 if the fair had to be postponed to 1904. The principal building on the campus, University Hall (today known as Brookings Hall) became the Administration Building for the Fair. It housed the office of President David R. Francis, the directors, chiefs and assistants responsible for the daily operation of the Fair, including the large press office. Other buildings on the campus were Busch Hall, which housed the Division of Works, Cupples Hall # 1, which housed the Anthropology exhibits, Cupples Hall # 2 which housed the Jefferson Guard. One dormitory building, Liggett Hall (now Prince Hall) was under construction at the time of the lease. Funds from lease enabled the completion of Ridgley Library (the Hall of Congresses), Francis Gymnasium (home of the Olympics) and an additional dormitory (later Lee, then Umrath, Hall).

The Palace of Agriculture

Architect: E. L. Masqueray - Cheif of Design for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company, St. Louis
Builder: Caldwell & Drake, St. Louis

Considered the largest building on the Fairgrounds, the Palace of Agriculture was a testament to former President Thomas Jefferson’s dream of an agrarian society. The building, constructed at a cost of $525,491, stretched over twenty-three acres and exhibited agriculture products from fifteen countries and forty-two states. Large enough to house an entire working dairy farm and working cider and rice mills, most fairgoers remembered the unique sculptures made out of odd materials such as cotton, butter, corn, salt, almonds, and cereal. These exhibits reinforced the agricultural industries important to the various regions of the United States.

The Palace of Education and Social Economy

Architect: Eames & Young, St. Louis
Builder: Dunnavant & Estel, St. Louis

Covering eight acres on the East side of the Grand Basin, the palace represented the idea of the Fair as an educational enterprise. The building constructed at a cost of $365,421, contained live displays of actual classes in session ranging from Kindergarten to university courses. Fair goers could watch a class in progress, attend a college course or learn the skills of calligraphy and Braille. On the south corridor of the palace, the Department of Social Economy’s exhibits explored pressing contemporary questions such as housing, labor and health using statistical tables, literature and photographs.

The Palace of Electricity and Machinery

Architect: Walker & Kimball, Boston and Omaha
Builder: Goldie Construction Company, St. Louis

In devoting large amounts of space to machines that generated electricity, the Fair designers wished to show that electricity was the lifeblood of the twentieth century and gain a glimpse of electricity’s potential—the font from which all manner of advances would flow. Constructed at a cost of $412,948, the building was home to the popular De Forest Wireless Telegraph Tower. As a precursor to today’s cellular phones, the tower allowed fairgoers to send wireless messages to Chicago and Springfield without using a telegraph line.

The Palace of Machinery

Architect: Windman, Walsh & Boisselier, St. Louis
Builder: Smith & Eastman, St. Louis

Representing great advancements in technology, the Palace of Machinery contained the power plant for the Exposition built by General Electric. Covering nearly 180,000 square feet of the building, the generator provided electricity to all the lighting, pumping and power used to operate the concessions and exhibits. The building constructed at a cost of $646,533, also housed exhibits displaying the latest in tools, machinery, steam pumps and generators.

Festival Hall, The Cascades, and Colonnade of States

Architects: Cass Gilbert (Festival Hall), St. Paul and New York
E. L. Masqueray (Cascades, Colonnade of States), Cheif of Design, Louisiana Purchese Exposition Company
Builders: Strehlow & Phelps (Festival Hall) Goldie Construction Company (Colonnade of States), St. Louis
Heman Construction Company (Cascades), St. Louis

Festival Hall was the crowning feature and most photographed structure at the fair. The building, constructed at a cost of $218,430, was the home to the world’s largest pipe organ, which thrilled visitors with daily concerts in a 4,500 seat auditorium. The Colonnade of States featured a monument to the thirteen states and the “Indian Territory” that was carved out of the Louisiana Purchase. Constructed with an additional $59,740, the colonnade symbolically represented the success, wisdom and foresight of the Louisiana Purchase. The Cascades located in front of Festival Hall and the Grand Basin allowed for forty-five thousand gallons of water a minute to flow into the Grand Basin. As a centerpiece of the fair, the East and West Cascades represented the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and symbolized man’s control over nature.

Palace of Fine Arts

Architect: Cass Gilbert, St. Paul and New York
Builder: Goldie Construction Company, St. Louis

Considered the centerpiece of Isaac Taylor’s fan-like design of the main exposition buildings, the Fine Arts building is the only surviving structure. Intended to be a lasting memory of the Fair, the palace is made of steel and stone instead of the wood and staff used in the construction of the other buildings. During the exposition, paintings, engravings, sculptures, jewelry, and other fine art filled this palace and demonstrated the breadth of world art at the beginning of the twentieth century. The building, constructed at a cost of $1,014,000, has continued its original mission as a home for great works of art and still serves as the location of the Saint Louis Art Museum. 

Palace of Forestry, Fish, and Game

Architect: E. L. Masqueray, Chief of Design, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company
Builder: Kellerman Contracting Company, St. Louis

Located just north of the Palace of Agriculture was the least elaborate architectural palace found at the Fair. The building constructed at a cost of $170,454, contained demonstrations being made at the turn of the century to preserve and utilize America’s stock of trees, fish and animals. Still displays of taxidermy animals highlighted each state’s exhibits, but the most popular area was the aquarium section consisting of 60 large fish tanks, a 55 by 45 foot pool and a 40 foot diameter salt water basin dedicated in ocean sea life.

Palace of Horticulture

Architect: E. L. Masqueray, Chief of Design, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company
Builder: Caldwell & Drake, Columbus, Indiana

Located on Agriculture Hill, the Palace of Horticulture had two distinct and different sections. The first was an exhibit of fruits and nuts found around the world and the second consisted of a floral exhibit located on a 50-acre tract of land surrounding the palaces of Agriculture and Horticulture. Constructed at a cost of $227,338, unique features of the palace included a basement used to provide cold storage for the fresh fruits, and a gigantic floral map of the United States outside the building with gravel walks marking the state lines.

Palace of Liberal Arts

Architect: Barnett, Haynes & Barnett, St. Louis
Builder: Kellerman Contracting Company, St. Louis

Devoted to various exhibits classified as Liberal Arts, the building housed displays that demonstrated how science and technology were used to transform natural resources into manufactured products. The building, constructed at a cost of $576,957, housed items such as the entire Chinese collection, coins from the British Mint, examples of German fine printing and photographs, a model of a lighthouse, and other items from around the world demonstrating human progress and achievement.

Palace of Manufactures

Architect: Carrere and Hastings, New York
Builder: John J. Dunnavant & Company, St. Louis

Home to exhibits devoted to household articles, equipment, clothing, and merchandise for personal use, many of the exhibits were working displays where visitors could watch the creation of clothing from companies such as Brown Shoe Company and the Singer Sewing Company. Constructed at a cost of $723, 510, the eastern half of the building featured displays of upholstery, carpets and clothing considered more utilitarian than those found in the Palace of Varied Industries. The western half contained example of hardware such as cutlery, stoves, furnaces, and Italian marble and alabaster statuary available for purchase by visitors. The palace also included a bazaar where retailers could rent six-foot square booths to sell their wares to fairgoers.

Palace of Mines and Metallurgy

Architect: Theodore C. Link, St. Louis
Builder: Hill-O’Meara Construction Company, St. Louis

Located on twenty-two acres, the building contained hundreds of models of mines and exhibits of products that demonstrated the latest in mining technology. The building constructed at a cost of $498,661 contained examples of raw materials and the products produced from these materials. Outside the palace, examples of primitive mining methods by Mexican Indians, operational displays of cement mixing, brick making, coal mining, pottery making and a ride through a reproduction of a coal mine, gave visitors an idea of the work needed to transform raw material into useful products.

Palace of Transportation
Architect: E. L. Masqueray, Chief of Design, Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company
Builder: H. W. Schlueter, Chicago

Designed by Masqueray to remind visitors of a great railroad station, the building displayed a combination of modern and historical transportation exhibits over last hundred years. Constructed at a cost of $684,608, the center of the building contained a revolving steam engine to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the steam locomotive. The palace also contained all types of transportation available to the public at the turn of the century, such as motors boats, horse cars, wagons, cable cars, railcars, buggies, and 160 automobiles that suggested new possibilities of travel.

U.S. Government Building

Architect: James Knox Taylor, United States Treasury Department

Modeled after the Roman Pantheon, the building represented every department of the government. Constructed at a cost of $335,000, the building contained the Exposition’s working post office, and housed artifacts from the Smithsonian Institute. Other aspects emphasized the United States natural resources with films teaching about forest preservation and the establishment of the country’s national parks. The Government Fisheries Building displayed both fresh and saltwater fish, the Department of Agriculture displayed the most recent developments in the preservation of dairy products, and the War Department set up models of Civil War battlefields and gave live demonstrations of the guns used in the nation’s costal defense.

Palace of Varied Industries

Architect: Van Brunt & Howe, Kansas City
Builder: Rountree Construction Company, St. Louis

Similar in size to the Palace of Manufactures, the Palace of Varied Industries was the first exhibit palace built for the fair. Used to house objects that were designed as artistically pleasing, the palace contained objects such as art pottery, cut glass, office and household furniture, brushes, leather articles, jewelry, silver and goldsmith wares, clocks and watches, products of marble, bronze, iron and upholsters’ decorations. Constructed at a cost of $703,815 the building’s largest exhibitors were from German and Japan who attracted fairgoers with examples of their decorative furniture, fine pottery and artistic products designed to showcase each countries artistic capabilities.

The Pike

Located along Lindell Boulevard, the Pike entertained visitors with a mile-long stretch of amusements that blended fantasy and reality. Designed to invigorate the fairgoer’s curiosity, visitors were entertained by thousands of performers from thirty different nations who hoped to challenge the Victorian values of turn of the century Americans. Entrepreneurs quickly realized that the Pike offered a great money making opportunity and developed attractions that included historical events, trips to exotic locations, examples of nature’s fury, the supernatural and a collection of carnival inspired oddities.

The Philippine Reservation

The Philippine Reservation represented the Philippine Islands, which the United States had recently acquired six years earlier during its war with Spain. To gain public support for America’s foreign policy, the exhibit was designed to introduce Americans to the country’s newest protectorate, promote the Philippines available natural resources, and introduce Filipinos to the benefits of American culture. Located on forty-seven acres at the southwest corner of the Fair site, at present day Fontbonne University, the reservation was set off from the rest of the fairgrounds by an artificial body of water known as Arrowhead Lake. Over one hundred buildings typical of Philippine architecture covered the grounds, each designed to serve as a residence for 1,100 Filipinos and give Westerners a more intimate knowledge of the social, commercial and industrial capabilities of different Filipino cultures.