Fish & Fisheries Building
Architect: Henry Ives Cobb, Chicago, Illinois
Picturesque World’s Fair, An Elaborate Collection of Colored Views—Published with the Endorsement and Approval of George R. Davis, 1894
THE FISHERIES BUILDING.-Quite unlike any other structure on the grounds, yet so situated and so constructed as to blend with the harmonious whole of the Exposition, the Fisheries Building afforded a striking example of an obstacle overcome by architectural genius. The space allotted to the Fisheries was irregular in form, and in what was consideration unpromising locality, but the novel building erected was as symmetrical in ground plan as striking in exterior treatment. The greatest length was three hundred and sixty-five feet, the terminal pavilions were one hundred and thirty-five feet in diameter, the area covered was over three acres, and the total cost was $225,000. Nearly six hundred feet of glass front were shown, and the collection of fishes and other marine creatures were something remarkable. The tanks wherein sea fish appeared were supplied with condensed salt water brought from the Atlantic ocean. An odd feature of the building was its exterior ornamentation, the columns and arches being almost covered with frogs, tortoises, eels and similar creatures, all symbolical of the object of the structure, The Fisheries proved an exceedingly popular resort for visitors, and on all great days at the Fair there was a constant procession of a multitude beside the tanks, loud in admiration of the strange or beautiful inhabitants of the water there given a temporary home. The exhibit was decidedly the most remarkable ever seen in this country. and had the effect of awakening general interest in the progress of fish breeding.
ENTRANCE TO FISHERIES ARCADE.-The Fisheries Building, because of the peculiar form of the site to which it was relegated. consisted of a rectangular central structure connected by curved arcades with circular pavilions on either side. The view here given is that of an entrance to one of the connecting arcades, and affords an excellent idea of the graceful and novel decoration resorted to in this structure, together with an example of mechanical duty performed too well. The columns of the structure were decorated, as befitted its uses, with all sorts of water creatures, arranged in quaint devices, and the architect in his drawings indicated this, though not in instance covering the entire column, supposing that the work indicated would de fully carried out. The mechanic, however, stuck to the letter of the pictured text and put a newt or frog or lizard on a column only where it was distinctly indicated. Of course, this was something to be easily remedied, but the illustration shows certain columns as so unfinished. The arcades, wide corridors open at the sides. made a delightful highway from one part of the building to another, and, spacious as they were, proved none too much for the great throngs which visited the Fisheries. where the strange marine inhabitants disporting in water, brought from the Atlantic, afforded a spectacle which made the building one of the most popular upon the grounds. The sea creatures, though, were not the only animate attraction, the great exhibit of lake and river fish drawing both the sportsman and the economists, and affording object lessons of decided value.
Martin’s World Fair Album-Atlas and Family Souvenir, 1892