Municipal Journal and Engineer 11 (October 1901):169.
It is gratifying to note that St. Louis is building the foundation for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition upon broad lines, aiming to give it greater educational value than was included in the plans for either the World's Fair at Chicago, or the Pan-American, at Buffalo. The latest evidence of this is its careful consideration of a plan, proposed by the Municipal Art Society of New York, which calls for the installation of a municipal art exhibit.
There are certain functions and equipments of the Exposition which will, necessarily, resemble those of a well governed city, and the purpose of the Municipal Art Society's suggestion is to have these various features so incorporated in the general scheme as to become models for American cities to copy. For instance, it will be necessary to have health, fire, police, park, street cleaning, garbage, engineering and other departments, all of which are found in the modern city. These could be so organized and administered as not only to serve their legitimate purpose for the Exposition, but, at the same time, be exhibited in themselves as models of public service, from which municipalities could learn practical and valuable lessons.
A model fire station could be made attractive to the multitude of visitors, as well as to those especially interested, by having daily drills of the life-saving corps, showing the great value of the life-saving net, the scaling ladder, life lines and the like, all of which are brought into requisition by the fire departments of all our large cities, and which can be easily adapted to the smaller ones. The service of the American fire departments, in this particular, as in some others, is superior to any other in the world.
In the model police headquarters the Bertillon system for the identification and detection of criminals could be on exhibition, at the same time becoming an integral part of the Exposition.
The hospital could be constructed on model lines, certain parts of it left open for public inspection and the whole made to teach a much needed lesson in the construction and administration of such an institution.
Much of the pavement about the grounds could be constructed on model lines and almost wholly without expense to the Exposition, as the great paving companies would be glad of an opportunity to place their work where it would be so generally inspected.
There are only a few of the many ways in which this idea could be made attractive. To those who are at all familiar with the functions of city government the manner in which it would be worked out in detail in each department will readily suggest itself to their minds.
The same plan was suggested to the Pan-American authorities two and a half years ago, by a member of the Municipal Art society, and failed of adoption because they thought it would cost too much. St. Louis is after great ideas and has abundant means to carry them out. At the time it was submitted to Buffalo it was endorsed by many prominent people who are interested in municipal affairs. Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine said: "I heartily approve the idea of the Municipal Art Exhibit. It can be made of very great use in the movement for the better government--that is, hones and scientific government--of our American municipalities." Professor Edmond J. James, of Chicago University, said: "There is certainly no more important subject now before the American public than that known as municipal government in the large sense of the term, and everything which can be done to throw light upon the problems of municipal life will, I am sure, ;serve a very useful purpose. I am especially goad to know that you are planning so far ahead. It takes time to work up properly such an exhibit." Hon. Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor, Washington, D.C., said: "I am sure that all such plans as that outlined by you accomplish a great deal of good, and I should hope that something of the kind would be done." Dr. Albert Shaw, editor of The Review of Reviews, said: "I am very strongly impressed with the excellence of the idea. I do not know any subject which lends itself more attractively and feasibly to representation."
President Roosevelt, then Governor of New York, ex-Mayor Low and Strong, Mr. John C. Olmstead[sic], Professor L. F. Rowe, of the University of Pennsylvania, and a score of others prominent in municipal affairs, spoke highly of the plan, expressing the hope that it would be adopted by the Exposition.
Simultaneously with the Municipal Art Society a similar idea was incorporated in a series of resolutions passed by the American Society of Civic Improvement, which was held in Buffalo a short time ago. Since its presentation to the Exposition authorities it has received the endorsement of many other organizations and been widely commended by the press.
by the adoption of this plan the Louisiana Purchase Exposition will be sure of one novel feature which will not only be great but unique, for it has never been carried out by any world's exposition in the completeness in which the Municipal Art society presents it.