Cold Storage Building: World’s Fair at Chicago

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By Jonathan H

Cold Storage Building - Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Cold Storage Building - Columbian Exposition in Chicago (click for large image)

Earlier, I had mentioned the acquisition by Bearings of a very rare pictorial book with detailed illustrations of all buildings constructed for the Chicago World’s Fair.  I’m here to continue the posting with the latest scan from the book: The ill-fated Cold Storage Building.

The cold storage building at the Columbia World’s exposition was the first to go down. It was consumed, not due to the wrecking ball, but rather because a fire broke out on July 10th, 1893, right in the midst of the World Fair’s most successful time.

It was known as the “Greatest Refrigerator on Earth,” and was estimated to be 130 by 255 feet. The lower level provided cold storage for the thousands of pounds of food served every day at the fair; while the upper story featured an ice skating rink for fair patrons.

Its Romanesque design was conceived of by Franklin P. Burnham (the “other” Burnham of Chicago architectural fame). Seventeen firemen were killed in the blaze and it is believed to be caused by a negligently placed wooden element near the smokestack.

Further Reading

Google Books: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893

2 comments on “Cold Storage Building: World’s Fair at Chicago

  1. Sharon on said:

    So glad you are posting the pictures from this rare book. What a treasure. I’m so jealous!

  2. Jonathan Haeber on said:

    Thanks Sharon! I have about 30 scans, so you’ll see quite a few in upcoming posts.

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