Municipal Journal and Engineer 11 (November 1901):225
The managers of the St. Louis World's Fair have decided to have a municipal exhibit as one of its prominent features. They proposed to teach a much needed less in modern city building. Since the idea was first presented to the public several months ago, it has been widely discussed in the press of the country, and always with the most hearty approval.
That this would be a drawing card is clearly shown in an editorial of The Republican, Springfield, Mass., which said in part: "No better advertisement of the St. Louis Exposition could be desired than the knowledge that the latest though and the best achievements in the departments and functions of a city could be studied there, after the above plan. More and more is the ambition spreading to make our cities beautiful, and to provide for the people the best service in all those things which an up-to-date municipality undertakes to do. Those who have the best show can well afford to submit their products to the exposition authorities, and when official indorsement has been secured, instal them without cost. Such a municipal art exhibit should be wisely and impartially governed, and, this attended to, the result would be well worth having, and so would St. Louis surpass all previous expositions."
In speaking of the importance of this proposed municipal exhibit the Kansas City Star recently said, editorially: "by no other means could a great number of people be given that most convincing evidence--occular demonstration--of the desirability of improving the fitness of American cities as places of residence than by showing the millions of visitors at the exhibition the possibilities in this respect.
"It would no impost an additional cost upon the exposition management. the idea of building the city beautiful might be incorporated in all of the plans made by the exposition people. The great buildings devoted to the classified exhibits need only be embraced in the plan so far as adding to the beauty of the scheme goes. but for the rest a model city might be made of those necessary adjuncts to the exposition, administration buildings and various offices, which must be erected in any event. The plan for the city may properly be left to the Municipal Art Society, which put forth the proposition.
"In the great strides made in the art of city buildings in the past twenty-five years in this country, ;the beautiful has generally been sacrificed to the utilization or the commercial. We have not kept sight of the fact that while a city is building it might as well be made a beautiful and healthy place as simply a place to live in. Our natural disposition to let each man building according to his ideas or his lights has had the effect of producing on this continent some of the most barbarously hideous and expensively built cities in the world. Every property owner has apparently ignored the fact that he was no alone of the earth. He has not considered his surroundings or his neighbors'. He has been intent upon putting up business blocks as high as his bank account and the laws of gravitation would permit. If he built a residence for himself he might possibly think of the surroundings; if he built one for somebody else the only object he had in sight was to put up a house that would bring in a maximum of rent on a minimum of investment. Except in isolated localities, where men of taste have united for the purpose of making their homes beautiful as well as luxurious, this country is as unlovely as an adobe village.
"A model city, adjusted to model conditions of government, exhibited at the fair in 1903, would be the most interesting and instructive of the features of the fair. And it would pay Kansas City to send a few thousand of its obstructionists and kickers down to St. Louis to board at the model boarding house for a season."
The wisdom of having such an exhibit is unquestioned. And no one seems to realize it more than the World's Fair managers. It will be the first exhibition of its kind ever made in connection with a world's fair.
The citizens of St. Louis also appreciate that their city will, ;in one sense, be on exhibition, and for that reason are now talking about the "New St. Louis."
It is proposed to expend not less that four millions of dollars upon the city itself. The plans involved include the paving of many miles of pavement and extensive improvements in the sanitation of the city, all of which will be completed prior to May 1, 1903. Mayor Wells is aiding the movement by bringing to its assistance the machinery of the entire city administration. In furthering this project he has established what may be called a municipal cabinet, the following officials being included: The City Comptroller, City Counsellor, President of the City Council, Speaker of the House of Delegates, President of the Board of Public Improvements, Street Commissioner, Sewer Commissioner, Water Commissioner, Park Commissioner, Harbor and Wharf Commissioner, Commissioner of Public Buildings, Health Commissioner and Surveyor of City Lighting. Upon every one of these officials will fall a large share of the responsibility for the rehabilitation of the "New St. Louis," under the improved conditions carried by the recent adoption of the charter amendments. Apparently Mayor Wells realizes the magnitude of the task that is placed upon his administration. The vigorous manner in which he has taken hold of the question augers well for its successful consummation. It is safe to predict that when the gates of the World's Fair shall be opened in St. Louis in 1903 all preparations which devolve upon the city will have been adequately made. This achievement together with the municipal exhibit within the gates of the Fair will not fail to attract world-wide attention.