Saint Louis Landmarks: World’s Fair Pavilion

Ahhh, the World Fair. If there’s one thing Saint Louis can be remembered for, it’s the World Fair of 1904. And the world will remember with us, for it was this World Fair that introduced the masses to waffle-style ice cream cones, hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter, iced tea, and cotton candy. You can thank us in the comments. Also, the fair introduced a lot of foreign ‘primitives’ on display from recently acquired US territory, for which you can berate us in the comments, although it is fair to say that any other city would have done the same.

The fair was also host to the Olympics of 1904, but nobody truly cared. In good American fashion, eating fancy junk food evidently trumped sports. Also, the American sports basketball and baseball were featured as demonstration sports, making them the middle child of Summer Olympics (awesome fun fact: ‘Tug of war’ was actually an official sport). This mild interest resulted in the overwhelming amount of twelve competing countries, which sounds more like some obscure modern ballet competition held in a sweaty gym than the biggest sporting event on earth.


There’s a good chance the obscure dancing competition will have a better-looking brochure, too.

All the buildings used for the fair were temporary buildings, and what was a small but impressive temporary village, is now Forest Park. With the profits made from the fair, the World’s Fair Pavilion was build; a bleak reflection of what could be Saint Louis’ most remarkable event in recent history. It’s still a nice building, however, and a neat venue for those who want to have a wedding as memorable as that magical world fair.


This blog post is part of a series on landmarks in Saint Louis. I take one of the 250 landmarks selected for the 250th anniversary of the city and look up some information. This way, I hope to get to know my new city a little better every week together with you, my readers.


5 thoughts on “Saint Louis Landmarks: World’s Fair Pavilion

  1. The 1904 World’s Fair also featured a truly, hilariously, spectacularly inept version of the marathon, one that included the apparent winner having done most of the course in an automobile, the fourth place finisher stopping mid-course to eat and get sick from some apples swiped from the orchard, one of the (African) entrants — who’d been brought over as an anthropological expedition, not an athlete — being chased by dogs nearly a mile off the course, and the trainers for the second-place finisher (or first place if you discount the one who drove) dosing him with enough strychnine (in small enough amounts a stimulant) as to risk his life.

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