The Jamestown Exposition – 1907

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first English colony in the New World, citizens of Norfolk, Virginia organized a campaign for a national exposition.

The enormous crowds (and financial success) of the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904 may have inspired their efforts.

Despite some opposition from the city of Richmond, the local boosters secured a federal loan and other support for the venture.

No consideration was given to the area around the original Jamestown settlement, it was abandoned and largely neglected at this time.

Unfortunately, the planners selected Sewell’s Point, a Civil War naval installation as the site for the erection of the many buildings planned for the Exposition.

Despite a frantic rush to extend trolley service and rail connections to the area, the site was still under construction when President Theodore Roosevelt opened the event on April 26, 1907.

(Only a third of the electric lights were working.)

The expected crowds never materialized at the levels anticipated by the planners, and the entire enterprise lost money.

About 3 million visitors did tour the Exposition during 1907, and photographs of the buildings that were belatedly completed are magnificent.

On-line, one can find a history of the event and some of the surprising developments that arose from it.

Marguerite H. visited the Exposition and received a souvenir postcard from a candy company.

Headley’s Chocolates had exclusive rights to sell chocolates at the fair, although Marguerite noted that she did not purchase any.

Printed in Baltimore, the postcard was neither addressed nor mailed.

I have several postcards from other parts of the nation that bear one of the commemorative postage stamps issued by the USPS in conjunction with this event.


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