Paris’s Universal Exposition of 1889, which commemorated the centennial of the French Revolution and attracted more the 32 million visitors from around the world, was the greatest single inspiration for the World’s Columbian Exposition. This general plan of the 1889 Exposition is one of five maps that appeared in a report on the fair by railroad executive Edward Turner Jeffrey, who had been sent by the Citizen’s Executive Committee of Chicago to observe the exposition. Turner’s 72-page account details the history, finances, and legislative support of the 1889 Exposition, as well as his own impressions of the fair’s general sensibility and environment. Jeffrey’s profession as railroader gave him a keen interest in the transportation system that served the fair, prompting him to feature his observations about transportation his report. The 1889 fair is perhaps best remembered for occasioning the Eiffel Tower; it was the fair’s unified comprehensive plan, however, that most impressed Jeffrey. In his eyes, the Universal Exposition of 1889 served as a model for the World’s Columbian Exposition through its grand size, organization, and coherent design.
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