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Trans-Mississippi Exposition

a showcase for the development of the West from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast

Held in Omaha, Nebraska, June 1-November 1, 1898, the Exposition intentionally coincided with the Indian Congress, the largest Native American gathering of its kind. The Congress, which was held less than a decade after the Indian Wars ended, encouraged social and cultural exchange between tribes.

main entrance into the Trans-Mississippi Exposition

Omaha businessmen, led by banker Gurdon Wattles, began planning the Exposition in late-1895. Several potential sites were looked at and rejected before banker Herman Kountze donated land to the City of Omaha, and it was on this land that the Exposition was staged. The 180-acre site extended rom 24th Street east to Sherman Avenue and from Pinkney Street north to Ames Avenue. The central exhibit area consisted of 21 classical-style buildings around a 2,000-feet-long lagoon. The buildings housed products from around the world, as well as a total of 4,062 exhibits from all 24 states and territories west of the Mississippi River showcasing the social achievements, economic productivity, and community growth of the West.

central plaza of the Exposition

Among the special events hosted by the Exposition were Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, on August 31, and a speech by President William McKinley, on October 24.

Over 2,600,000 people visited the Trans-Mississippi Exposition during its run. All of the buildings erected for the exposition were constructed with cheap materials and were either torn down soon after the exposition closed or fell down on their own within a few years. The only reminder of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition's presence in Omaha today is a monument in Kountze Park, which was erected for the Centennial Celebration of the Exposition in 1998.

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody
President William McKinley

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This page was last updated on 01/07/2015.

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