The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, often called the Chicago World's Fair,
was a celebration of the four-hundred-year anniversary of Columbus'
discovery of America, but it ultimately became a showcase for the
and mercantile wealth of the contemporary United States. The White City, as the
fairgrounds came to be known, with its immense neoclassical buildings, its
wide, ordered avenues, its parks and ponds, and its full complement of
public sculpture, was an idealized vision of America vastly removed from
its humble agricultural beginnings. Swift
completion of the fabulous architecture was possible because the buildings and monumental sculpture were all
created from staff, a mixture of plaster and straw.