The Jamestown Exposition was held on 340 acres at Sewells Point (now the Norfolk Naval Base) from April to November 1907 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. A miniature city was created here, with boulevards, lights and telephone service and beautiful permanent buildings representing governments, manufacturers, organizations and institutions from all over the world. Although not a financial success, the Exposition attracted many enthusiastic visitors, and some of its original buildings are still in use today.
This relief map of the Panama Canal was constructed by the Isthmian Canal Commission. It was 122 x 60 feet, with the concrete surface roughened and painted green to simulate the forest. Along the Canal's course were scale models of ships, 2 to 5 inches long, representing the largest steamers yet projected.
The Ferrari Wild Animal Show was a menagerie and theater combined. Lions, tigers, bears, panthers, wolves and snakes performed hourly. Here, Seleca dances among the lions.
The Smithsonian Institution exhibit included a tableau of 22 life-sized figures portraying Capt. John Smith trading with the Indians for corn. The costumes were reproduced with historical verity, and the corn was grown from seed carried to New York by the Tuscaroras in 1711.
The most successful concession at the Exposition was the Battle of the Merrimac and Monitor. On several days, the box office receipts at this amusement exceeded those of the Exposition gate.
Miller Brothers' 101 Ranch, from Bliss OK, was represented by cowboys, cowgirls, Indians and Mexicans, horses, buffaloes and steers. "Typical" western features included stage coach robberies, Indian raids, steer roping, sharpshooting and the Pony Express.
Akoun's Beautiful Orient and streets of Cairo occupied the western end of the War Path. The Turkish theater featured oriental dancers and musicians, while the street outside was lined with kiosks and booths selling beautiful souvenirs from the Middle East. Here, Princess Rajah greets visitors.
The baby incubator exhibition featured live babies, and had more steady patrons than any other exhibit on the grounds. People returned to the exhibit repeatedly in order to watch tiny, pre-mature infants from the local area thrive and become healthy babies.
The destruction of San Francisco, which occurred in the Spring of 1906, was reproduced with astonishing accuracy here. The violent storm, the tornado, the earthquake and ensuing fire were all simulated as part of the show.
The first children's school farm was established in New York City in the late 1800s. Its first public display was at the Jamestown Exposition. Sixty children from Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News were enrolled. Each was given a 4 x 12 foot plot of land entirely under his or her charge, from the planting to the harvesting.
Hell Gate was the thriller of the Exposition. A precipitous waterfall, snakes, lizards, bats and other eerie creatures abounded in this turn-of-the-century haunted kingdom. Not for the fainthearted.
The cornerstone of the Negro Building was laid on 14 February 1907 by the Grand Lodge of Negro Masons of Virginia. The building was designed by W. Sydney Pittman, a graduate of Tuskegee and Drexel Institutes. The building was erected under the auspices of the United States Government, and Mr. Pittman was the first African-American whose design had ever been accepted by the government. "Negro Day" was celebrated on 3 August, and featured an address by American educator Booker T. Washington.
|The Esquimaux Village and the Klondike Gold Mine represented life in the territory of Alaska. The Tidewater climate made the Arctic clothing almost unbearable, and the sports "were not performed with much zest."|
|Famous visitors to the Exposition included Mark Twain and Booker T. Washington|