An unrecorded Columbian Exposition promotional view

Knight, Leonard & Co, eng., Wabash Line, via Detroit, to Chicago. SHORTEST ROUTE TO THE WORLD’S FAIR CITY. Chicago: Knight, Leonard & Co., 1892.
Lithograph printed in colors, 15 ¼”h x 25 ¼”w at neat line plus ornamental title, subtitle and margins, 22”h x 28 ¼”w at sheet edge. Minor soiling and some expert marginal repairs, but very good.

An attractive and unrecorded lithographic bird’s-eye view of the Columbian Exposition, issued to promote Wabash Line rail service from Detroit to Chicago.

The view depicts the Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, as seen looking westward from an imaginary viewpoint above Lake Michigan. If this image is any guide the Exposition was spectacular, with its many mammoth and rather fanciful structures executed in a muscular neo-Italianate style, all set in a park-like environment and connected by a network of grand plazas, canals and lagoons.

The Exposition was arguably a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. During its six-month run on the site of modern-day Jackson Park, nearly 27,000,000 people attended, at the time roughly half the population of the United States. Its numerous displays and exhibits established conventions for architecture, design, and decorative arts, in addition to helping catalyze a new era of American industrial optimism.

This example is repurposed from another, simpler version produced by Knight, Leonard & Co., to which have been added titles, subtitles and pictorial vignettes promoting access to the Exposition via the Wabash Line.

Not in OCLC or Dybwad and Bliss, Annotated Bibliography, World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893 (Albuquerque, NM: Book Stops Here, 1992).