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View, Illinois, Chicago, World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, Antique Print, 1893


“The Dream City,” The World’s Columbian Exhibition
American Fine Art Company, Milwaukee: 1893
11 x 21.75 inches, image
16 x 24 inches, overall

Rare souvenir bird’s-eye panoramic view of Chicago, Illinois, published on the occasion of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It was distributed as a promotional item by the Western Rural, a magazine published in Chicago and Detroit. The view shows the Exposition buildings in the foreground in Jackson Park, along the shore of Lake Michigan, with the rest of the city in the distance. Sailboats, clipper ships, and steamships move through the area, and smoke pours from factory chimneys in the distance. The view documents the massive neoclassical structures designed by architect Daniel Burnham, which came to be known, collectively as the White City for the color of their faux stone facades — a plaster mixture applied over wood frames. The grand fairground buildings of the White City were also called the “Dream City,” as indicated in the title of this view. Another example of this print was displayed in 2018 at the Newberry Library in the exhibition “Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World’s Fair.”

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The World’s Columbian Exposition was a landmark event in Chicago history, transforming the city and influencing its future development. Chicago was chosen from among other American cities vying to host this 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus’s landing in the Americas, meant to showcase American economic and cultural achievements to the world. The successful fair attracted 27 million visitors, including 14 million from outside the United States.  Almost all the buildings burned down over the winter after the fair closed. Yet Burnham’s vision for Chicago had a lasting impact. In 1909 he led a group that created a development plan for the lakefront and neighborhood parks, much of which was implemented over the next 50 years.

The Western Rural was a weekly publication serving the Western United States from 1862 and 1901. It covered “western farms, western homes, and western affairs in general” according to its masthead, i.e. news of interest to rural Westerners and information about agriculture, horticulture, and livestock.

Full publication information: Compliments of The Western Rural, Chicago. Copyrighted and published by the American Fine Art Co. Milwaukee. City Ticket Office of the C.M. & ST. P. RY, is at 207 Clark St. Chicago.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with the usual overall remaining light toning, wear handling. Few minor creases flattened as professionally backed on Japanese tissue.


Dillon, Diane, and Hana Layson with Jim Montgomery. “1893: Chicago and the World’s Columbian Exposition.” Newberry Library. (19 April 2019).

Scott. “Pictures from ‘Pictures from an Exposition.'” The World’s Fair Chicago 1893. 30 September 2018. (19 April 2019).

“Western Rural.” Wikipedia. 18 January 2018. (19 April 2019).

Additional information


19th Century