Article 6 in the Series: Remnants of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago
I am always on the hunt for what remains of the 1893 “World’s Fair” and I just happened to be at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier this past month with my wife. Actually a fan on my Columbian Exposition Facebook page, Beth Walsh, had tipped me off about one of the stained glass windows from the expo that ended up at Navy Pier.
The stained glass window she was speaking of entitled “Lili’s Menagerie” is just one of approximately 150 stained glass windows on display at The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows which is located on the lower level terraces of Navy Pier. Unbelievably the museum is free and is really one of Chicago’s hidden gems.
Lili’s Menagerie was designed and fabricated by the firm of Beiler of Heidelberg and was exhibited in the German section of the Fine Arts Building (Now the Museum of Science and Industry). After the exposition it was installed in a private residence and then in 1960 at the Germania Club of Chicago.
Queen of the Elves
Queen of the Elves was designed by Marie Herndl (1859-1912) of Germany and won a bronze medal as it was displayed in the enormous Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building at the expo. After Herndl died, it was given to the Milwaukee Auditorium and then sold in 1967. It then hung for many years in a Milwaukee dinner theater. The window was later donated to the Chicago Historical Society and is currently on loan to the Smith Museum.
Massachusetts Mothering the Coming Woman of Liberty, Progress, and Light
This window was designed, signed and painted by Elizabeth Parsons, Edith Blake Brown and Ethel Isadore Brown. It was fabricated by Ford and Brooks of Boston, Massachusetts. The window was the centerpiece of three windows from Massachusetts installed in back of the stage at the east end of the assembly room of the Woman’s Building at the expo.
The woman on the right represents the State of Massachusetts as a motherly figure who is mothering the woman on the left who represents the future woman of liberty, progress and light (wisdom and knowledge). The window’s design is an example of early American feminism and what ideals the women of the fair were trying to make known to the country and the world.
The Columbian Exposition or “White City” as it became known, has always been at the top of my list for great Chicago historical events and after I had started this series of article on ChicagoNow (no end in sight), I decided to form a Not For Profit organization called “Friends of The White City” which will be dedicated to educating the youth of Chicago (and adults for that matter) on the historical significance of the great fair and to help raise money to preserve what remains. It is currently in the beginning stages and while the website is under construction you can join the Facebook Group “Friends of The White City” to be kept abreast of the progress and programs as they are forthcoming.
If you would like to view a video montage on our (currently under construction) Friends of The White City website you can click here.