Did you know Charleston once hosted a World’s Fair? Known as The South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, it was held from December 1, 1901 to June 20, 1902 in Hampton Park.
There’s also a lot of information at America’s Best History
And for some great images of the expo, CLICK HERE
According to Brian Hicks in his most recent Post & Courier article celebrating 350 years of Charleston history, Charleston was suffering from political paybacks from racist Governor Ben Tillman…”Tillman’s key achievement in four years as governor had been rewriting the state constitution to strip all rights, voting and otherwise, from African Americans. Charleston, the most diverse city in the state, decidedly ignored some of Tillman’s Jim Crow laws — including one to segregate the city’s new electric trolleys.
Even the newspaper editorialized against the need for such separation. Charleston had serious — and myriad — racial problems, but it seemed everyone found common ground in their opposition to Tillman.
In the late 1890s, local grocer J.H. Averill suggested the city revive its economy with a world’s fair — a popular trend in those days. In a fit of civic spirit, Charleston put together the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition. The six-month celebration would open on Dec. 2, 1901.
The city built a 250-acre fair on the site of the old Washington Race Course, its centerpiece a 320-foot domed Cotton Palace. Gardens and lakes filled the landscape between these buildings, which stood where Hampton Park and The Citadel campus are today.”
See the Hicks column (the 31st installment of his series) by CLICKING HERE
And for links to all 31 (thus far) Hicks history columns CLICK HERE