An aerial-view print of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N.Y.
The World’s Fair is one of the longest-running international exhibitions, in which countries gather to showcase premier inventions -- from Belgian waffles and ice cream to X-ray machines and electrical current systems. Ever since the first World’s Fair in 1851, which took place in London, host countries have constructed the most fantastic buildings, each outdoing the previous host.
During the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889, France erected the Eiffel Tower. In return, Chicago unveiled the never-before-seen Ferris wheel during the 1893 Columbian Exposition, which drew a crowd equal to a third of the U.S. population at the time. However, most World’s Fair buildings are constructed to be temporary, torn down after the one-time event.
Fortunately, not all World’s Fair buildings are demolished, and some even become the most iconic symbol of a city: Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, the New York State Pavilion, and certainly the Eiffel Tower. The upcoming World’s Fair will take place in Milan next year, but let’s take a look at some of the most iconic buildings that were built for the World’s Fair that have stood the test of time here in the United States.
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Steven Piccione is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. He enjoys carbonated water, all things British, and living in a city warmer than Chicago. Follow him on Instagram at @stebbsjp.