In 1890 the
Citizens of Chicago decided to make a name for their city. In order to do this, they
decided to hold a World's Fair, and they wanted it to be the best World's Fair ever.
Olmsted was hired on as the site
designer, by Daniel Burnham who was overseeing the project. The site that was selected was
not his original choice, but because of transportation needs the eventual site won out.
Ironically, the site had been one that Olmsted and Vaux had designed a park for earlier,
that had been rejected.
The site was a treeless marsh with
one redeeming aspect: a lagoon. After dredging the marsh, and deepening the lagoon,
Olmsted created beautiful terraces and grand pedestrian walkways throughout the complex
that all led to the central area around the lagoon, which was surrounded by neo-classical
styled buildings. This was one of the finest examples of Olmsted's blend of the
naturalistic landscaping with large public buildings.