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With photos and artifacts, historian Robert Dion conducted a visual tour of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair March 7 at GreenFields of Geneva senior living community.
In "Celebrating the Impact of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair," the Homewood-Flossmoor resident displayed images and fair artifacts from his personal collection to tell how the fair attracted 26 million visitors over six months. Dion, partner in a Chicago advertising firm, has researched the fair for 25 years.
According to Dion, the fair took 10,000 workers six months to build, covered 600 acres and featured 200 new temporary buildings. Tickets cost 50 cents, about $13 today.
Highlights included 65,000 exhibits, 6,000 lectures and innovations such as the world's first Ferris wheel, movie theater, moving sidewalk, zipper closure and mechanical dishwasher.
The Ferris wheel, 250-feet high, transported 2,160 people at a time in 36 cars that held 60 people each.
Refreshments included foods and beverages sampled by fairgoers such as brownies, hot dogs, Cracker Jack, Juicy Fruit gum, Cream of Wheat and Pabst Beer, renamed Pabst Blue Ribbon after the fair.
GreenFields sponsored the event in a series of guest lectures and cultural events to promote lifelong learning.
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