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World's Columbian Exposition - Nebraska Day

Nebraska Day, June 8, at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, featured the formal dedication of Nebraska's state building. Also part of the day's festivities were an address by Governor Lorenzo Crounse and an appearance by William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and members of his Wild West. The Omaha World-Herald of June 9, 1893, described the event in which "Nebraska formally invited the world to accept the hospitality of her state building." Nebraska congressman William Jennings Bryan, also scheduled to speak, did not arrive in time to participate.

"From an early hour Nebraskans began to assemble and [Nebraska] Commissioner General [Joseph] Garneau [Jr.], Seth Mobley and Dave Cartan, who were all early on the ground, were busy men, welcoming visitors and answering questions. Governor Crounse came out at 10 o'clock and met hundreds of his friends. At 11 o'clock a band was heard, and in a few moments a parade, such as has never been seen in Jackson Park, filed past the Nebraska building. Colonel Cody rode a magnificent charger at the head of the United States cavalry which formed the governor's guard of honor, then came all the Indians in full war paint, several chiefs in carriages and the cowboys and cavalry of all nations.

"Commissioner General Garneau escorted Governor Crounse to the east porch and when the strains of 'Hail to the Chief' had died away, turned over the building to Governor Crounse. The governor accepted the gift and in turn dedicated it to the people of all nations. . . . [Ex-]Governor Furnas then spoke and the magnificent cavalry band from the German village alternated with Colonel Cody's band in pleasant selections.

"Mrs. Henry Fisk of Chicago, a strikingly handsome woman and a splendid elocutionist, then read a poem entitled 'Nebraska,' by Mrs. Kate M. Cleary of Hubbell, well known to World-Herald readers. The author was present on the platform and she and her poem were received with great applause.

"At the conclusion of the exercises a procession was formed and the governor was escorted through the grounds. When passing the Pennsylvania building, the liberty bell was rung in compliment to Nebraska."

(February 2005)



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