Buildings of the Great Central Fair, in Aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, Logan Square, Philadelphia, June 1864


The Great Central Fair took place in Philadelphia in June 1864. The purpose of the fair, which featured art, craft, and historical exhibits, was to raise funds for the United States Sanitary Commission. This was a private organization that operated during the American Civil War under the authority of the federal government to provide relief to soldiers and assistance to the Union army in matters relating to health and hygiene. This print is a bird's-eye view of the exhibition grounds at Logan Square that was printed and for sale daily at the fair by the establishment of P.S. Duval and Son. It shows the square and surrounding cityscape from the northwest, including the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Outside the square throngs of people crowd the sidewalk and the fair entrances. Horse-drawn vehicles, including carriages and omnibuses, travel the streets and park along the grounds. Deer and a turkey are seen in a pasture near the tented rotunda of the Horticultural Department. American flags labeled "U.S.S.C." adorn all of the buildings. Most of the fair buildings were designed by Henry E. Wrigley, who served in the war in the Independent Company of Acting Engineers and the Corps of Topographical Engineers. The central exhibition gallery was designed by Strickland Kneass, chief engineer and surveyor of the city of Philadelphia. The print is by James Fuller Queen, a Philadelphia lithographer and pioneer chromolithographer.

Last updated: September 12, 2013