Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Appalachian Exposition

"Set in the idyllic foothills of the Applachian Mountains the fair site combined easy road access with picturesque lakefront villas where 'one could rest and read the bulletins'." (

Philadelphia held the Centennial International Exhibition in 1876.  Chicago had the World's Fair, a resounding success, in 1893.  Buffalo held the Pan American Exposition in 1901, also a triumph.  In an effort to dispel the myth that Southerners were "unprogressive and backwards", Knoxville, Tennessee invited the world to the Applachian Exhibition in 1913 (

 The opening ceremonies included a speech by President Woodrow Wilson.  Over 33,000 guests came through the fair gates on opening day.  Famous visitors on subsequent days included Helen Keller, William Jennings Bryan and Booker T. Washington.  

The fair was was to be the salvation of the South:  it preached "economic prosperity and cultural enrichment".  It was in Knoxville that beautiful art, music and literature were shared with the fair guests, along with natural treasures collected from mines, fields and forests in the area.  Local painters Lloyd Branson, Adelia Armstrong Lutz and Charles Krutch exhibited their pieces. 

Conservation exhibits were an important part of the fair.  Several citizens involved with these exhibits were later instrumental in creating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Buildings featured at the Exhibition included:

  • Child Welfare Building
  • East Tennessee Building
  • Land Building
  • Machinery & Liberal Arts Building
  • Southern States Building
  • Negro Building
  • Fine Art Building
  • Coal Building
Entertainment at the fair included a mock coal mine explosion, moving pictures and a Herd of Trained Elephants.  Lizzie Crozier French (pro) and Annie Riley Hale (anti) held a debate on Women's Suffrage.  

The U.S. Post Office issued a stamp to commemorate the Appalachian Exhibition courtesy

No comments:

Post a Comment