Columbian Exposition - Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building
During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building was located here. At the time of the fair, the building was the largest structure in the world. It was 1,687 feet long, 787 feet wide, and contained 44 acres of exhibits. Its designer was George B. Post, who also designed the New York Stock Exchange Building, the New York Hospital, and the Wisconsin State Capitol. The Liberal Arts Building was three times the size of the Cathedral of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and 20 times the size of the Auditorium Building in downtown Chicago. Six baseball fields could fit inside. Lighting the building required 35,000 electric bulbs. The building's main thoroughfare was called "Columbia Avenue." European, South American, and Asian countries all hosted exhibits on the main floor, displaying their culture, history, and creativity. Several thousand American companies also had exhibits, which were arranged in 34 different categories. Even with all of this room, demand for exhibit space greatly exceeded availability. A 140-foot tall clock tower stood inside the main entrance and symbolized American clock making.