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You’ve reached a retired site page. PBS no longer has the rights to distribute the content that had been provided on this page. Stay Connected to PBS Subscribe to our Previews newsletter for a sneak peek at your favorite programs. Check Out PBS Video Watch local and national programs from anywhere at anytime. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the St. Louis World’s Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, from April 30 to December 1, 1904.
Historians generally emphasize the prominence of themes of race and empire, and the fair’s long-lasting impact on intellectuals in the fields of history, art history, architecture and anthropology. From the point of view of the memory of the average person who attended the fair, it primarily promoted entertainment, consumer goods and popular culture. Louis hosted a World’s Fair to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The idea for such a commemorative event seems to have emerged early in 1898, with Kansas City and St. 5 million committed by the city of St. Louis through the sale of city bonds was authorized by the Missouri state legislature in April 1899. 5 million was generated through private donations by interested citizens and businesses from around Missouri, a fundraising target reached in January 1901.
While initially conceived as a centennial celebration to be held in 1903, the actual opening of the St. Louis exposition was delayed until April 30, 1904, to allow for full-scale participation by more states and foreign countries. The exposition remained in operation from its opening until December 1, 1904. During the year of the fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition supplanted the annual St. Exhibits were staged by approximately 50 foreign nations, the United States government, and 43 of the then-45 U.