The Top Five Surviving Buildings from the 1893 Worlds Fair

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1. Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

It was the Palace of Fine Arts, and it’s the only building still on it’s original site, at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive.

Keep in mind, as you wander the many spacious exhibit halls, that the Palace of Fine Arts was among the smallest of the main buildings at the World’s Columbian Exposition.


2. The Pabst Pavillion at the Pabst Museum in Milwaukee

Ever heard of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer? Ironically, the Pabst Beer Pavilion was used as a private chapel for the Archbishop. Now, the Pabst Pavilion serves as the museum gift shop. When you tour the Pabst Mansion Museum, you will likely enter through the Pabst Pavilion that was visited by World’s Columbian Exposition Fairgoers, more than 100 years ago.

You’ll find the Pabst Mansion Museum at 2000 W. Wisconsin Avenue, a few blocks east of Milwaukee’s Marquette University.


3. The Little Norway Stavkirke in Blue Mounds Wisconsin

The Little Norway Stavkirke

When the Fair closed, the Norway Building was taken apart and shipped by train to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and installed on the C. K. Billings summer estate. The Billings estate changed hands twice and was eventually owned by William Wrigley, Jr., who painted the Norway Building ochre yellow (can you say Juicy Fruit Gum?) and used it as a home theatre.

In 1935, the owners of Little Norway negotiated the acquisition of the Norway Building. The building was dismantled once again and shipped by truck to Blue Mounds, and is part of the outdoor museum.

One of the features that undoubtedly made the Norway Building more portable than most is that it’s constructed without a single nail. It is held together entirely by wooden pegs.


4. The Poland Spring Building in Poland Spring Maine

The State of Maine had planned to make its State building a gift to Chicago. leaving it in Jackson Park. However, at the close of the Fair, the Maine State Building was purchased by the Ricker Family, founders of the Poland Spring Resort and purveyors of Poland Spring water (which, like Pabst’s Beer, had earned a Medal of Excellence at the Fair).

The Building was dismantled and shipped on 16 freight cars to Poland Spring. It was reassembled and served as a library and gallery on the resort grounds. The Maine State Building went through many renovations over the years and, by the early 1970s, had fallen into disrepair.

In 1977, the Poland Spring Preservation Society acquired the building. The Maine State Building is presently operated as a museum and may be found on the resort grounds at 37 Preservation Way.


5. The French Counrty Inn Guest House Lake Geneva Wisconsin

Like other buildings, the Danish Pavillion was dismanteled and move to another site. Now, guests now sleep in this little bit of history at this European style inn.


Final Thoughts

The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was an enormous fair, and relics from the event are scattered around Chicago, the Midwest, and the World.

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