R E V I E W.



The plan for the holding of an Exposition at Omaha is one that was not the
product of an inspiration, nor was it a suddenly conceived and hurriedly
launched scheme.  For some years people of the west had talked of the value of
such an enterprise, the practical and lasting benefits to be secured, etc., but
in most cases it was not more than talk.

The seed of the matter was, however, sown in the success of the World's
Columbian Exposition at Chicago, and it was destined to grow and bloom forth at
some time and at some place in the west.  The men who had helped to build up
the great west were not of the timber to forever neglect to utilize such an
opportunity.  The great financial panic which swept over the whole country in
1893, paralyzing all industries and avocations and spreading disaster and want
all over our fair land, halting all progress, staying all plans for continued
development of the resources of, particularly, the region west of the Missouri
and Mississippi Rivers; followed, as it was by the disastrous crop failures,
caused by drouth, in the years 1894 and 1895, caused people to bend every
effort toward self support and to endeavor to preserve all that was possible to
save from the wreckage caused by the financial panic and crop failures and
thought and effort toward advancement and development were for that time quiet
and still if not dead.

In the winter of 1894, the matter of the location of the Nebraska State Fair
for the ensuing five years was being considered, and the Commercial Club of
Omaha realizing that something must be done to arouse Omaha's people from the
lethargy that held them, proposed that an effort be made to secure the location
of said fair at Omaha.  The effort was made, it was successful and the State
Fair was duly located at Omaha, this was under the agreement upon the part of
Omaha to provide suitable grounds, buildings, etc., etc., for such purpose.  To
carry out this agreement the Omaha Fair & Speed Association was organized and
incorporated and the work of fulfilling the agreement was proceeded with.

It was found that to fully comply with all requirements the sum of $_________
must be raised.  It was said by the many to be impossible, that it could not be
done, that our people already distressed by hard times,  could not possibly
provide such a sum for the purpose, nor was it right that they should be called
upon or asked to do so.  Omaha's credit was, however, at stake under its
contract, and the effort had to be made, it was successful and all requirements
of the contract were fully met, except as to transportation facilities, which
failed lamentably, but which was the fault only of the street railway company.

The success coming to the efforts in this case was convincing evidence that
Omaha could do anything it fully resolved to do, and was the direct cause of
the confidence that Omaha could take up the Exposition scheme and carry it to a
successful termination.  It was also the primary cause and basis of the
determination to proceed with the exposition scheme and exploit it fully.

Much of the preliminary work was supported by those prominently active in the
other work referred to, and the first Board of Directors of the Exposition was
mostly the same men who comprised the Board of Directors of the Omaha Fair and
Speed Association and to whom much of the credit of the final success is due,
by reason of their careful and judicious planning and early active work.

The proposition to hold a great Exposition at Omaha, conditioned upon U.S.
Government recognition and participation, yet involving upon Omaha the
necessity of raising, at least $300,000.00 and probably $500,000.00 was
regarded by many of our very conservative citizens as, at least, ill-timed, if
not fanciful and foolish.  As every city has it croakers, so it was in Omaha,
and there were those who freely predicted that the effort to secure
subscriptions amounting to $300,000 was sure to fail.  When finally not only
this sum, but a greater one was subscribed, then it was said, it is one thing
to subscribe and another to collect, in these times and under existing
conditions, the subscribers cannot pay.  Well the Ways & Means Department
report in this relation, shows that they did pay, but the report does not show,
as it might, the refulgent credit due the subscribers who paid.  Only those who
by bitter self denial and prideful self sacrifice kept their pledges and paid
their subscriptions can know what it cost them to do it and how difficult the
task was.  The collection of the subscriptions was made mainly in 1896 and
1897, and the Trans-Mississippi Territory never should again experience the
closeness in financial matters that prevailed during the years of 1893 to 1898. 
All honor to those who so patriotically pledged themselves to the support of
the Exposition and who so heroically stood by their pledges and through self
denial and self sacrifice liquidated their pledges to the full.

It has lately been said, retrospectively, that the people of Omaha, being at
the time in desperate straits, took hold of and supported the Exposition in the
belief that desperate situations justified desperate chances, and so believing
took chances on the exposition proving the vehicle, so to speak to "Pull them
out of the hole".  There is much truth in this view of the situation.

Like other similar projects, as the work of exploitation and development
proceeded the plan and scope broadened and as doubting states and interests
discovered that the enterprise was not a mere advertising scheme, but was
surely to be, as planned, a Trans-Mississippi Exposition, recognized approved
and participated in by the U.S. Government, they desired to be represented
therein, and their wants and needs with the impulse thereby given, caused
further broadening which in time required more financial support, and while the
"load" of success or failure was primarily with the Board of Directors, yet it
was mainly and always resting heavily on the Executive Committee, whose
members, with the President, gave daily their best thoughts and attention to
the affairs pressing upon them.  The matters of finance caused most concern,
and it was very difficult to float the enterprise, when the rocks in the stream
of cash were so constantly in evidence, constant shifting of the helm was
needful, and one time in the winter of 1897, when one of the principal
contractors knocked on the door of the room in which the Executive Committee
sat and sent in word that unless his estimate for $12,000.00 already delayed
several days, was paid within 30 minutes, he would call off his men and publish
his reasons therefor, it was realized that the craft had bumped a some
considerable rock, the situation was canvassed, the cash in the treasury was
much less than $1,000 and coming in slowly, a crisis was at hand,- but happily
it was averted by the chairman of the Executive Committee, and the President,
who advanced the money and held the voucher for some time until the treasury
was so replenished that the payment could be made.  This will serve as an
illustration of the many complex and critical situations confronted and of
which the Board of Directors and the stockholders could not be advised, because
to do so would cause publicity, and publicity in such cause would work great
harm and detriment.

In November and December 1897, and in January 1898, the outlook for the
exposition was very favorable.  The Exhibits Department was in a quandary as to
how to care for the increasing exhibits per applications for space, and the
management were seriously considering a way to provide more space by annexes to
the various buildings.

The promotion Department with the President had planned, to have large and
numerous encampments of soldiers and military on the grounds, and it was
believed that much benefit and patronage would result by reason of this
attraction, but in February came the breaking out of hostilities with Spain,
and the thought attention and energies of the people was occupied by this great
issue and consequently, lesser issues must suffer.  The encampment of soldiers
were not longer to be hoped or planned for.  Cancellation of applications for
exhibit spaces came in plentifully by every mail.  The newspapers of the
country gave all space to the news of and about the war to the almost entire
exclusion of notice of our proposed exposition.  The outlook for our success
became less favorable, the clouds hung heavy and low over our prospects; some
of the Directors advised postponement to 1899; others counseled abandoning the
project, and but few indeed favored proceeding and making best and most of the
situation.  The President, Executive Committee and a few braves of the
Directory considered carefully the situation.  To abandon meant disaster, dire
and humiliating; to postpone meant failure for the reason that the extra
financial burden incident to postponement would sink the ship before ;the
harbor of the postponed date was reached, and thus it was concluded that the
only thing to do was to proceed, carefully, wisely yet bravely and confidently,
strong in grit and determination to win success in spite of all adverse
circumstances.  Each and all took new resolution and devoted their energies
more closely; economy was practiced in all departments, and the success, of all
kinds, that eventually came to the enterprise, is no doubt attributable in no
small degree to the adversities and discouragements of the period prior to
opening days.

The general story of the Exposition  is well told in the preceding report of
proceedings and reports of departments officers and superintendents.  Yet there
are some sidelights and actions not there related, that belong to a historical
relation, and of value to any future exposition.

While in the main the exposition affairs were most admirably managed and
generally the right thing was done, yet there were mistakes made, a few of
which caused discredit and loss to the Exposition and its treasury.  In the
Ways & Means Department, owing to the feeling of economy that possessed the
management, the office force was so small as to cause a behind-handedness in
some of the work, which later afforded the expert accountant employed to
investigate all the departments of the exposition, basis for criticism to some
extent, on the simplicity of the accounting and recording methods, they not
being of the approved and many times recorded and checked methods, so favored
by lovers of systems requiring great routine, many books of record and a large
clerical force to keep the work up to the hour.  The system used was simple and
direct, yet efficient, and fully satisfactory to those having direct control of
events, and not a penny of money was received that was not fully and
satisfactorily accounted for.  Weekly and often daily, statements of receipts
from all sources, and of disbursements both by departments and by requisition
were rendered to the Executive Committee and President, and monthly to the
directors.  In the Department of Publicity & Promotion a mistake was made at
the time of organization by selection of a newspaper publisher as the chief of
that department.  The enmities and jealousies of the publishers of the two
principal newspapers of the city resulted in such criticism and such strenuous
defense as to detract from that unanimity of purpose and concentration of
energy so vital to securing success. The publication of criticism and defense
regarding plans of issue of complimentary admission to the Press were the cause
of much injured feelings and impaired results in the publicity of the
Exposition and its features.  The attacks of the Omaha Bee on the honesty and
integrity of the management and principal employees of the Exposition were not
only unjust and uncalled for, but caused suspicion, distrust and diminution of
energy and zeal to the great loss of the Exposition.  An investigation
committee was under these charges, appointed, and their report at meeting of
directors, June 30, 1902, shows the lack of basis for the charges made and
published.

The attack made by the same paper in October, upon the Bureau of Awards,
charging collusion, gross dishonesty and crime upon those prominently connected
with the work of the Awards Bureau, as likewise unfounded and later
investigation, full and complete, fully justified this conclusion.  These
charges were telegraphed broadcast over the United States, finding publicity in
the great newspapers of the country, and cast discredit and contumely upon the
work of the Awards Bureau and further resulted in loss of thousands of dollars
to the Exposition treasury, through loss of sale of duplicate awards, diplomas
and awards medals.  The newspapers of an Exposition city wield a potent power
over the good will of an Exposition and it would be well if, in a city holding
an Exposition, the example of the many newspapers of Buffalo, N.Y. in relation
to the Pan-American, be followed .  Whatever their differences were in regard
to plan, policy or procedure, and there were many such, they did all such
business sub rosa, and to the reading public and the outside world they
presented a harmonious front, heartily supporting, commending and applauding
the work of the Exposition management.  A like support from the newspapers of
Omaha would have resulted in much gain, particularly in finance to the
Exposition.

The Publicity Department of an Exposition should be in charge of a good
business man, who is not a publisher of a newspaper.  The Press generally will
then aid in the work more heartily and more earnestly. 

The Buildings & Grounds, Exhibits, Concessions and Transportation Departments
have their stories well set out in the reports on said departments.

That part of the President's duties which can well be told, is given in report
on special days and features, in which he was ably assisted by the General
Manager, Mr. T.S. Clarkson.

Criticism has sometimes been made upon the form of organization of the
Trans-Mississippi Exposition, and the judgment given that better results could
have been secured under a different organization, with a Director-General as
the official heal of the operating departments.  When considering this subject,
it must be taken into account that a Director-General is looked to for all
things, and that the days are generally too short for him to give proper
attention to all the things that come before him.  Under our organization, each
member of the Executive Committee was, in  effect, the Director General of the
affairs of his special department, advising in weighty affairs, with the full
committee and the President, constituting the full advisory Board of the
Exposition.  Thus the best advice and counsel was secured and the execution of
all affairs was in charge of excellent business men, hence, when all argument
is exhausted, it will be conceded, that, granting the selection of able,
successful, reputable and responsible men of affairs as members of the
Executive Committee, and the selection of an able, discreet, politic man of
affairs as President, there cannot well be a better organization than was this,
to promote a venture and guide and control it to a final honorable success.

Early in 1897 the Executive Committee, with the President, prepared an estimate
of probably receipts from all sources, and probable requirements for
disbursement of funds for all the necessities of the exposition.  In preparing
this estimate the President and Executive Committee gave very careful
consideration to the subject and it is with satisfaction and pleasure they now
view this estimate in comparison with ascertained and certain results.  It is
probable that but few, if any, estimates have been made by any management of
enterprises of such problematic character and temporary establishment as this
Exposition, that so favorably compared with ascertained results.  This estimate
was as follows:

Subscriptions and Donations,................$600,000.00
Less Discount and Loss,..................... 100,000.00
$500,000.00
Conservative Est. of Attendance,............
1,500,000 paid at $.50,...........................  $750,000.00
High est. of Expenses to opening day
except cost of Buildings & Grounds,...............  $300,000.00
Available for Buildings & Grounds,...........  $950,000.00

Estimate for cost of Buildings..............$550,000.00
Estimate for Grounds including
power, light, etc.,....................$250,000.00
$800,000.00
Margin of safety,............................   $100,000.00



Estimate of operating expenses during period of
Exposition, 150 days at $2,000 per day,...........   $300,000.00
Estimate of receipts from the Departments of 
Exhibits and Concessions & Privileges,............   $400,000.00
Margin of Safety,............................   $100,000.00


The ascertained results are as follows:

Received from subscription,............................  $553,415.20
Received from paid admissions,.........................  $801.515.47
Expenses up to opening day other than 
Building and Grounds,.............................  $218,308.00
Cost of Buildings and Grounds Buildings,... $592,867.00
Grounds, Including Power & light,.......... $272,000.00
$864,867.00

Cost of operation June 1st to Nov. 1st
Daily average in round figures,...................  $  2,000.00
Receipts from Exhibits & Concessions
Departments,--Exhibits,............... $200,110.48
Concessions & Priv.,....  293,946.47
$494,056.95

Comparison of estimate of expenses for stated purposes against the certain
results shows that the estimates were based upon good and safe judgments:  and
that the management held strong control over affairs, thus holding the expenses
generally within the estimated amounts and increasing the receipts in all cases
over the estimates.  The net money results are greater than the estimates in
the sum of $215,812.62

For the operation of the Exposition a large number of employees were required. 
The October pay-roll, which fairly represents the requirements, shows as
follows by divisions:

President,..................................    4
Ways & Means-
Secretary's Office,...................... 15
Bureau of Music,.........................  2
Bureau of Medals,........................  1
Bureau of Admissions,....................152--169

Publicity & Promotion,......................   13
Buildings & Grounds-
Guards,..................................213
Other Employees,.........................231--444
Exhibits,...................................   19
Concessions & Privileges,...................   91
Transportation,.............................    2
Total,............................  745





Distribution of assets were ordered to paid-up stockholders as follows:

November 4th, 1898 (4 days after close 
of Exposition),................... 75 per cent.
April 1st, 1899,....................... 12-1/2 per cent.
June 26th, 1899,.......................  2-1/2 per cent.
Total refund to paid-up stockholders,. 90 per cent.


The Exposition sold and transferred to the Greater America Exposition all its
buildings, appurtenances, engines, apparatus, materials and furniture for the
sum of $17,500.00 and the assumption by the purchasers of all the obligations
to the owners of lands leased for the purposes of the Exposition.

In this connection it is pertinent to note that this Exposition is the only one
in America to promptly open its gates to the public on a completed show on the
day and hour originally designated,- the first to open free from mortgage or
pledge of all or some portion of its gate receipts, the first to make money
each and every month of the exposition, and the first to re-pay to its
stockholders any considerable portion of the funds advanced by them upon which
to base and build the enterprise.  In these respects the Trans-Mississippi &
International Exposition stands without a rival.

The Exposition was of great value to Omaha, whereas, at its organization,
dullness and stagnation of business interests ruled, at its close there was
found a proud satisfied people.  Proud of the results achieved, a return of
confidence in our present and future, a freshening  of purpose, a renewal of
energy, new resolving of strength for advancement; satisfied that Omaha's
declaration and purpose to hold a great Exposition had been carried out to the
full, and in a most highly commendable and honorable way.

The coming of the Exposition forced the issue of new railway passenger
stations, for which twenty years of effort had hitherto proved fruitless.  It
was the most potent cause of the coming of the Illinois Central Ry. to Omaha,
and the planning and decision of the Chicago Great Western System to do
likewise.  It caused a widening and broadening of street railway transportation
facilities and comforts, and these things were only a few of the visible
benefits resultant form the denials, sacrifices and labors of those who
assisted in making the Exposition the success it was.

In closing it is but just to call attention to the fact that the success of the
Exposition was due to the feeling general among our people, that it was their
Exposition; that they each had a proprietary and prideful interest in it.  This
was supplemented by the care, attention, and assistance of the Board of
Directors.  After all, however, the success attained could not have resulted
except for the energetic, untiring, unceasing care and attention given to the
enterprise by the business men comprising the Executive Committee.  The real
work, the load of responsibility rested upon them, and to them a very large
share of the credit for results attained should be given.  For more than two
years much of their time was given, together with their business knowledge,
experience and judgment, for the best success of the project, and altogether
without emolument or recompense of any sort.

During this period 478 meetings of the executive committee were held, holding
from two hours to five hours each, and at these meetings only the concrete
results of their labors for the Exposition in their business offices were
presented, considered and determined.

In these meetings, for deliberation and decision of the momentous interests of
the Exposition, and at all times, the executive committee was ably assisted by
advice and counsel of the president, whose great interest in and valuable aid
to the enterprise was much appreciated and contributed largely to the results
achieved.


 
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