LOCATING THE EXPOSITION

The location of a public enterprise deemed to be of general benefit to a whole
community, but of special and increased advantage to the locality immediately
surrounding the institution itself, is  generally attended with special effort
on the part of those having opportunity for benefits, real or imaginary, toward
the selection of the location which seems calculated to best advance their
interests.  This is an altogether human feeling, in consonance with the
commercialism of this  Age and, as all cannot be benefited in the same degree
by the same cause, it follows naturally that a rivalry should spring up over
the location of such a project as an Exposition of magnitude.  At all events,
such was true in this case.

Immediately upon organization of the exposition Corporation the site question
came to the front.  Council Bluffs was first in the field, advocating the
choice of a site in East Omaha, east of Cut-Off Lake, on land which, while on
the west side of the Missouri River, was really in the state of Iowa.  The
Council Bluffs Exposition Committee, appointed by the Manufacturers and
Merchants Association of that city, presented resolutions to the Board of
Directors on February 10th 1896, stating that all support and aid from Council
Bluffs should be conditioned upon the choosing of the location urged by them,
otherwise they would withdraw their support.

On February 23rd a Mass-meeting of the citizens of Council Bluffs was heldin
the Superior Court  Room of the County Court House to consider the Exposition
and their participation in it.  They promptly passed resolutions as follows:

"Resolved, that the Merchant's and Manufacturer's Association of Council
Bluffs, meeting in conjunction with other citizens, heartily approve of the
proposed Exposition and that they render what help they can to the project,
Provided; that any National, state or city aid shall be conditioned upon an
assurance that the Exposition shall be located on a site within the boundaries
of what is known as East Omaha, such assurance to be in the form of a joint
pledge on the part of the Directory of the Exposition Company and the East
Omaha Land Company.
And be it further resolved that we request our representatives at Washington
and Des Moines to use their efforts to secure liberal appropriations for this
project, Provided:  that such appropriations are made subject to the foregoing
condition, and to otherwise oppose any appropriations sought."

These resolutions with a large map of the proposed location, were printed in
the Daily Nonpareil of that city and copies were mailed to all the members of
Congress, the Iowa Legislature, state officers and to each of the Directors and
Officers of the Exposition.

In Omaha the advocates made haste to present arguments and petitions in favor
of various sites, viz:  Elmwood Park, Southwest part of the city, Riverview
Park, in Southeast part of city, Miller Park, north of the city, Hanscom Park
location, in Southwest part of city but closer in than Elmwood Park, was later
put forward as a most advantageous location.

The Board of Directors, while admiring the zeal and enthusiasm of the various
advocates, yet deplored the seeming anxiety to locate something that was not
yet secured, being proposed and planned only.

On February 28th, 1896, the Board of Directors deemed it wise to define their
position on the subject, and the following was prepared and adopted by them.

"WHEREAS, to secure the largest success to the proposed Exposition, entire
harmony of feeling and effort should exist, to the entire exclusion of personal
and corporate interests, and
WHEREAS, it is deemed unwise and impracticable to endeavor to hold      said
Exposition without the recognition of Congress, and National      encouragement
through appropriations providing for National buildings and      Exhibits,
THEREFORE, Resolved that for the purpose of carrying out the purpose of the
proposed Exposition, it is indispensably necessary,
First, That an Act of Congress be passed, recognizing and endorsing the
Exposition and providing an adequate appropriation for National Buildings and
Exhibits.
Second, The securing of subscriptions to the capital stock of this corporation
to an amount sufficient to guarantee the successful promotion and conducting of
the enterprise to a complete and honorable conclusion.  And,
Resolved, That until the foregoing pre-requisite aids are secured, we deem it
impolitic, inopportune, and unwise to discuss or seriously      consider the
matter of the location.  For, until said necessary aids are      secured we
cannot assume that there is any Exposition to locate.  And Be      it Further
Resolved, That at the proper time a fair and impartial hearing will be given to
all parties interested in the various sites proposed, and that a location will
be selected with due and fair consideration to the interests of all concerned."

This action calmed the sea that was becoming troubled, and all interests united
to aid in securing pre-requisite aids.

In October, 1896, the aids referred to having been secured, the site boomers
were to the fore again, and each location had its special representatives.  The
greatest verbal argument and epistolatory efforts were devoted to the Miller
Park and Riverview Park sites; though, as time passed the Hanscom Park site's
advantages seemed to become more and more prominent.

The meeting of stockholders had been called to meet December 1st, 1896 and
great were the efforts to secure proxies of stockholders, that Directors
favorable to this or to that site might be aided to an election.

The new Board of Directors having been duly elected, were at once in the midst
of a contention over the matter of location and proceeded to consider and
determine the subject without delay.

December 16th, 1896, the Board of Directors adopted the following resolutions.

"Resolved, that the selection of the site for location of the Exposition, and
the appointment of all committees, officers or agents to investigate proposed
sites shall be made by the full Board of Directors, and that these questions
shall not be settled, nor any powers delegated by the Board of Directors,
except by majority vote at a meeting regularly called for that purpose.

"Resolved, That the secretary is hereby authorized to receive sealed proposals
for the location of the Exposition until Saturday noon, January 9th, 1897, and
shall open and read said propositions to this Board of Directors at a meeting
which shall be held at 2 o'clock p.m. on Saturday, January 9th, 1897.

"Resolved, That said propositions shall specify,
1st,-  The number of acres of land offered, and the boundaries thereof.
2nd,-  The use of what streets, roads and private ways approaching said land,
which will be open for public use during the construction and operation of the
Exposition.
3rd.-  All other inducements, including donations or subscriptions of stock,
which may be offered."
______________

January 9th, 1896. (sic.)  45 Directors present.  
The responses to the request for propositions for location for the Exposition
were then opened and read by the secretary.  Propositions were received
covering the following locations.

Riverview Park and adjacent thereto.
East Omaha Site.
Hanscom Park and North and West of same.
Miller Park and adjacent thereto.
Elmwood Park and the state Fair Grounds.

After the reading, the following resolution was presented and adopted

"Resolved, That a committee of three (3) be appointed, consisting of Casper E.
Yost, J. H. Millard and R. S. Wilcox, to whom shall be referred all the
propositions pertaining to the selection of the site for the location of the
Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition; and that said committee be
authorized and empowered to employ a good non-resident engineer and a good
non-resident Landscape Architect to carefully go over and examine all of the
proposed sites and make out a report in writing of their findings and
conclusions pertaining to the sites which have been proposed.  Said report,
when so prepared to be delivered to said committee and by them referred to the
full Board of Directors at a special meeting to be called January 23rd, 1897 at
2 o'clock p.m. for action, without any recommendations of said committee as to
its views or conclusions, as to the most desirable site to be selected."
__________________

January 23rd, 1897.  49 Directors present.  
Owing to the disposition to defer the opening and reading of the Report of
Committee on Sites, until after the Nebraska Legislature had taken action on
the bill in aid of the Exposition, and now pending, it was ordered that the
committee shall have two weeks from this date, in which to hand in its report.

February 6th, 1897.  42 Directors present.  
The Chairman of the Committee on Site submitted the report of the Committee,
bearing the date of January 18th, 1897, to which was attached the report of the
experts employed,- Messrs. A.C. Shrader and H.C. Alexander, both of Chicago,
Ill.  The Committee stated that their recommendations or the selection of the
grounds for the Exposition was based upon the following points:

First,-  Topography and general availability of the grounds for building
purposes.
Second,- Transportation facilities by Street car, steam railway and
other vehicles.
Third,-  Sewerage and water supply.
Fourth,- Distance from Post Office.

The report recommended the sites as to their availability, as follows:

First,   Miller Park
Second,  Miller Park (sic).)
Third,   Hanscom Park
Fourth,  Riverview Park
Fifth,   East Omaha Site

On motion, it was ordered that report be received, filed and published in the
paper.  The following was then presented and adopted.

"Resolved, That when this Board adjourns it be until Tuesday next, February
9th, at 2 o'clock P.M. to act upon the selection of an Exposition site and that
supporters of all sites be required to present at that time,-

First,-   Proof of the character of the legal title  and of power of 
possession.
Second,-  Proof and specification of the sufficiency of approaches,
including both public highways and trackage, and maps of the
ground offered.
Third,-   A bond of $5,000.00 conditioned to furnish possession and 
approaches without expense to the Exposition, and that free
and unobstructed use  of the site shall be given to the
Exposition; that the site so selected by the Directors shall be
at their disposal whenever the Directors ask for it, and 
continue during the Exposition and thereafter until the
Exposition Directors shall have removed all Exhibits, 
structures, etc., not later than April 1st, 1899.
Fourth,-   That the promoters of each site shall be given ten minutes at
the meeting on Tuesday in which to present the merits of their
proposed site."
_____________________               

February 9th, 1897.  39 Directors present.  
It was a decided that the proposed sites be called in alphabetical order.  This
was done and their merits were set forth by their representatives, as follows:

East Omaha          No Representative.
Elmwood Park        Mr. W.R. Bennett.
Hanscom Park        Hon. W.J. Connell.
Miller Park         Mr. R.W. Richardson.
Riverview Park      Hon. E.J. Cornish.

The following resolution was then offered and adopted:

"Resolved, That in selection of site for Exposition, a majority of Directors
shall be necessary to constitute a choice, and that as ballotting proceeds, in
each ballot the site receiving least number of  votes shall be dropped, until
two sites only remains, and that ballotting shall then proceed until one of
such sites shall receive a majority of the entire Board of Directors."

Ballotting then proceeded as follows:

First Ballot,
Miller Park 19, Hanscom Park 13, Riverview                              Park 4,
Elmwood Park 1.
Park 4, Elmwood Park 1.
Second Ballot,  Miller Park 21, Hanscom Park 15, Riverview
Park 1.
Third Ballot,  Miller Park 21      Hanscom Park 16
Fourth Ballot,  Miller Park 23      Hanscom Park 16
Fifth Ballot,  Miller Park 22      Hanscom Park 16                        
Sixth Ballot,  Miller Park 22      Hanscom Park 17
Seventh Ballot,  Miller "    22      Hanscom "    17
Eighth Ballot,  Miller "    22      Hanscom "    17
Ninth Ballot,  Miller "    22      Hanscom "    17
Tenth Ballot,  Miller "    21      Hanscom "    17
Eleventh Ballot,  Miller "    21      Hanscom "    15
Twelfth Ballot,  Miller "    21      Hanscom "    14
Thirteenth Ballot,  Miller "    20      Hanscom "    15
Fourteenth Ballot,  Miller "    23      Hanscom "    13
Fifteenth Ballot,  Miller "    23      Hanscom "    13
Sixteenth Ballot,  Miller "    21      Hanscom "    12
Seventeenth Ballot,  Miller "    23      Hanscom "    12

Moved to adjourn until to-morrow evening, February 10th at 8 o'clock P.M. and
that secretary get expression from every Director absent, and that on to-morrow
evening the written reply of those absent be permitted vote, as if present. 
Agreed to.  Adjourned.
_____________

February 10th, 1897.  36 Directors present on rollcall.  
After some preliminary skirmishing, a ballot was proceeded with, resulting as
follows:

18th Ballot, MILLER PARK,-- Babcock, Bidwell, Brown, Bruce, 
Creighton, Hibbard, Hussie, Jardine, Kilpatrick,
Kountz, Lee, Lyman, Markel, Metz, Millard, 
Murphy, Paxton, Rector, Saunders, Wattles,
Webster, Weller, Wells, Wharton, Wilcox, 
Wilhelm, Yost, Youngs,
Total,--28.
HANSCOM PARK,-- Brandeis, Carpenter, Dickenson,
Evans, Farrell, Hitchcock, Holdrege, Johnson,
Kimball, Kirkendall, Korty, Lindsey, Manderson,
Montgomery, Noyes, Payne, Price, Reed, 
Rosewater, Smith, (Arthur C.) Smith (Dudley)
Thompson,
Total,--22.
The following Directors were voted on letters and telegrams received by the
secretary.
Bidwell, Babcock, Dickenson, Evans, Kirkendall, Korty,
Lee, Markel, Paxton, Rosewater, Smith (Dudley), Thompson,
Wilcox, Wells.

Mr. Manderson moved that Miller Park be the unanimous choice of the Directors
for the location of the Exposition.  Carried unanimously by a standing vote.

Mr. Connell moved three cheers for Miller Park and the Trans-Mississippi and
International Exposition.  And thus did the location seem to be finally
chosen,- but such was not the fact.

Mr. Kirkendall, as Manager of Department of Buildings and Grounds, had visited
the Miller Park site frequently, and was much impressed with the feeling that
the location was too far from the city, (something more than four miles) and
feared the distance would tend to minimize the city attendance, an important
factor in Exposition attendance.  He quietly sought to ascertain if a nearer
site could not be so arranged for, as to be available, and being successful in
this, he advised with the Executive Committee concerning it, resulting, at
Director's meeting of March 13th, in appointment of a committee under the
following:

"Whereas, a public demand has risen for the location of the Exposition at point
at near as possible to the business center of the city, therefore,

Resolved, That it is the sense of this Board that, if proper arrangements can
be made, the old Fair Grounds site should be selected as the location of the
Exposition.  For action upon this matter the President is hereby authorized to
appoint a special committee of three, consisting of the President, Mr.
Kirkendall and Mr. Wharton, to consider the details of a proposition to locate
at the old Fair Grounds site.

This Committee shall report in full at an adjourned session of this meeting of
the Board of Directors, to be held at 4 o'clock P.M., Wednesday, March 17th,
1897."

At said meeting the Committee reported at length and in detail, in effect,that
sufficient ground could be secured for the purposes of the Exposition, lying
between 24th Street east to the river bluff east of Sherman Avenue, and from
Pinckney Street, north to Ames Avenue, and at an expense, practically, of the
taxes for the years 1897 and 1898.  Mr. Herman Kountz generously offered, not
only the use of what was called the Kountz tract, but offered to sell to the
Exposition 11 acres of said tract for $15,000.00, of which amount he would
donate $5,000.  The said tract to be deeded to the city of Omaha and to be
forever kept maintained by the city as a Park, and to be known and called
Kountz Park.  The opportunity being so favorable it was,-

"Resolved, That the action of this Board, locating the Exposition at the Miller
Park site, be reconsidered, and if so reconsidered, the vote thereafter shall
be taken upon a  relocation at Miller Park site from the Old Fair Grounds site;
and that no other site be considered, and that voting by proxy, either by
letter or wire, be received as to such relocation."

The vote on the proposition was then taken, resulting in 37 votes in favor of
the resolution and no votes against. 

The details in connection with the leasing and purchase of the required
properties, was by vote, referred to the Executive Committee, who completed
alldetails, secured all needed lands, executed the leases and arranged with Mr.
Herman Kountz for lease of what was termed the "Kountz Tract": and arranged
with him also for purchase of 11 acres to comprise what should be called
KountzPark.  Which agreement was prepared and presented to the Board of
Directors at meeting July 9th, 1897.  Resolutions approving the agreement and
authorizing its execution, were adopted as follows:

"Resolved, That the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition accepts the
proposition of the United Real Estate and Trust Company with reference to the
donation by said company of tract of number one (1) to the city of Omaha for
park purposes and the purchase from said company of tract number two (2) by
said Exposition to be by said Exposition donated to said city for park
purposes, which proposition is contained and said tracts described in a written
contract and lease entered into on the 17th day of April, 1897, by and between
said Exposition and said company, and that, in full compliance  with, and
absolute discharge of, all of its obligations arising or existing by virtue of
said proposition and with reference to said tracts, said company be, and is
hereby authorized and directed to execute a good and sufficient deed, conveying
to the city of Omaha, both of said tracts, subject to the following conditions: 
first,- That said tracts of land shall forever be conjointly used and
maintained as a public park, with the right of the city of Omaha to erect and
maintain on either or both thereof, any park or other buildings suitable and
proper to be erected and maintained on park grounds; second That said tracts of
land shall forever be conjointly designated and known as Kountz Park; third,-
That during the years 1897, 1898 and 1899, no curbing,  paving or macadamizing
shall be placed or laid on Twentieth Street in said city, from Locust to
Pinckney Street, at the cost of the owners of the property abutting upon said
portion of Twentieth Street; fourth,- That one or more drive-ways and walks
shall be constructed and forever maintained through both of said tracts from
east to west, which shall be kept open at all times, for public use, and
subject to such reasonable limitations, rules and regulations as may be
prescribed by the Board of Park Commissioners or by the Mayor and Council of
said city; fifth,- That during the year 1897 the sum of, at least, five
thousand dollars ($5,000) shall be expended by said city through its Board of
Park Commissioners, in making improvements upon said tracts; sixth,- That the
Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, a corporation organized and
existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Nebraska, for the
purpose of holding an exposition in said city, shall have the right to use both
of said tracts for exposition purposes, during the years 1897, 1898 and, if
required by the said Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, during 
the year 1899.  And said United Real Estate and Trust Company be, and is hereby
further authorized and directed to execute a deed, conveying to said city, for
street purposes, and as a public street for the use and benefit of the property
abutting thereon, and of the public, the strip of land lying between said
tracts; that both of said  conveyances shall be subject to the taxes upon the
lands described therein, which may be levied and those which may become
delinquent during the year 1897, and of the right to the use and occupation in
and to said lands of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition; that
the secretary of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition be, and is
hereby authorized and directed to deliver to the First National Bank of Omaha,
Nebraska, a certified check of said Exposition, in the sum of fifteen thousand
dollars ($15,000) in payment of said tract number two (2), in accordance with
said proposition, and with directions to said bank to deliver said check to
said United Real Estate and Trust Company only upon the delivery of said deeds
by said city, and upon the  delivery to said Trans-Mississippi and
International Exposition of the certified check of said United Real Estate and
Trust Company in the sum of five thousand  dollars ($5,000) which shall be in
full of the donation agreed to be made to said Exposition by said company in
said written contract."

The site as secured and used, and the properties comprising same are
specifically designated on the following plat of grounds.  Thus was the
location finally determined upon, secured and used, and great credit must be
given to Manager Kirkendall for discovering and his discretion in practically
securing this location.  For without this change of location, it is certain
that the financial success which came to the Exposition, would not have been
realized, for nothing seems to be more certainly proven that, an Exposition to
be successful, must be located as near the center of population as is possible,
that easy, quick and comfortable access thereto may be had.


 
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