California Columbian Club Prepares for the 1893 World’s Fair: This Week in History

The White City, illuminated by electric lights, at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair

California Columbian Club Prepares for the 1893 World’s Fair: This Week in History

Melina Druga
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California possibly would be the best represented state at the World’s Fair in Chicago, the Los Angeles Times declared April 9, 1893.

The state’s building would be the largest structure on the fairgrounds that wasn’t built specifically for the exposition and was, in the opinion of the Times, “the most beautiful and attractive edifice within the vast enclosure.”

The Times also claimed it was well known that nearly every Californian was planning to visit Chicago for the World’s Fair and they would likely attract much of the attention.   The purpose, the newspaper said, was to “advertise in an effective way the advantages of the state.”

Here is the Times’ sketch of the building:

California Columbian Club building at the 1893 Worlds Fair
California Columbian Club building at the 1893 Worlds Fair

California Columbian Club

Anticipating this would be the case, state dignitaries formed the California Columbian Club to serve as headquarters for any Californians visiting the fair.

Barrett Eastman was the club’s general agent, and he anticipated the club would have 5,000 members, a figure he found as no surprise.

The building had 50 rooms and contained 25 bedrooms, an elevator, a writing room, a reading room, a wine room, a billiards room, a smoking room and a restaurant.  The building also offered guests telephone and telegraph access.

“The board of governors of the club is composed of gentlemen whose names form a sufficient guaranty of the tone and character of the institution,” Eastman said. “Membership in the club, including all privileges, is $10 for six months.”

The fee was to defray the costs for visitors.

What do you think?  Was the California Columbian Club the most beautiful of buildings?  Leave a comment below.

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Most kids have an active imagination. My imagination has stayed strong into adulthood, and I’ve funneled that creativity into a successful writing career. I write history, both fiction and nonfiction, because although your school history classes may have been boring, the past is not. My goal is to bring the past to life in all its myriad of colors.
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