Home / Travel Guides - Saint Louis / The 1904 World's Fair

Wikimedia Commons/Wellcome Images

The 1904 World's Fair In 1904 Americans marked the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, the land acquisition President Thomas Jefferson secured for America that doubled the size of the United States. To celebrate the momentous centennial, St. Louis hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known as the World's Fair.

The event ran from Apr. 30-Dec. 1, drawing an estimated 20 million people to the fairgrounds at Forest Park and to part of Washington University's campus. The 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” captured on film the excitement and pride St. Louisans felt at the fair's arrival.

The fair was a noteworthy architectural, culinary and organizational feat, bringing international acclaim to St. Louis. Almost every state contributed an exhibit to the fair, as did many foreign countries. Indoors and out, Americans were introduced to new cuisines, international art, exotic animals and such bold new conveniences as electricity and the automobile.

Many structures and statues were relocated elsewhere after the fair's close, and many buildings intended as temporary fixtures were torn down. But fortunately not all was taken from the host city; several major buildings and various examples of memorabilia stayed behind.

flickr/Keith Yahl
Two key structures stand today. The Saint Louis Art Museum functioned as the fine arts pavilion. The bronze cast of St. Louis the Crusader outside the museum is based on the plaster original that greeted visitors at the fair's main entrance. A renovated version of the Flight Cage, a walk-through bird cage provided for the fair by the Smithsonian Institution, is at the Saint Louis Zoo .

In addition to structural icons, souvenirs and memorabilia have been preserved. A collection of some 1,200 items is displayed at the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion . Postcards, steins, pins, sheet music, fans, decorative boxes and commemorative dishware are among the fair-related treasures showcased on the mansion's third floor. And one of the larger decorative items ended up in an unlikely spot—the Anheuser-Busch Brewery , where a chandelier from the French pavilion hangs above the Clydesdale stables.

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Saint Louis, MO

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Travel Information

City Population

319,294

Elevation

585 ft.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in the city of St. Louis is 8.49 percent. The city's lodging tax is 14.9 percent and there is a rental car tax of 7.82 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(314) 231-1212

Time and Temperature

(314) 321-2222 or (636) 441-8467

Hospitals

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, (314) 747-3000; Missouri Baptist Medical Center (Town and Country, Mo.), (314) 996-5000; St. Alexius Hospital, (314) 865-7000; St. Anthony's Medical Center, (314) 525-1000; Saint Louis University Hospital, (314) 577-8000.

Visitor Information

I-270 and Riverview Dr. St. Louis, MO 63138. Phone:(314)869-7100

Air Travel

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (314) 426-7555 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

The Amtrak terminal, (800) 872-7245, is at 430 S. 15th St.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. terminal, (800) 231-2222, is at 430 S. 15th St.

Taxis

Cab companies include St. Louis County Cab & Yellow Cab, (314) 991-5300 or (314) 993-8294; and Laclede, (314) 652-3456 or (314) 403-7000 (to request a taxi via text message). All cabs in St. Louis are on the meter system. Base fare is approximately $2 to $3.50 for the first mile, with a rate of $2 to $2.50 per mile. The base fare goes up $1 for each additional passenger. A fuel surcharge of at least $1 also is added to the fare, and there is a $4 surcharge for airport pick-ups.

Public Transportation

Metro, the public transportation system—which includes MetroBus, the MetroLink light-rail train and the Metro Call-A-Ride para-transit van service—transports passengers throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. The base bus fare is $2; $1 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities). Exact cash fare is required. A MetroLink one-ride ticket is $2.50; $1.25 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities). A 2-hour system pass (with transfers) is $3; $1.50 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities), or $4 from Lambert Airport. Weekly and monthly passes also are available. For route information, current fares and hours of system operation contact MetroTransit Information Mon.-Fri. 7-7; phone (314) 231-2345, or (618) 271-2345 in Illinois.

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