Chicago World’s Fair 1893 – why are we interested?

1.09pm, Thursday September 8th, Gate A17, Chicago Midway airport, Illinois

Howdy folks, and it was a top – although pretty warm at 96F or 36C – day here in Chicago yesterday, and we set of to have a look at The Museum of Science, located just back from the Lake Michigan shoreline, in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Chicago…..about six miles south of the city.


Now what would a wine family business be interested in The Museum of Science in Chicago? Because this building is pretty much the only complete structure that remains….in exactly the same place….as it was for the 1893 Worlds Fair. Still, why would that interest us at Yalumba? Because the World’s Fair was a six month exposition of all things wonderful, uniquely regional and cultural from all corners of the globe….and new – in mechanical, architectural, constructional, adventurous, sensuous, scandalous and entertaining directions! And…..because during the last week of the Fair’s run…..in October 1893, one of the Yalumba family – Fred Caley Smith, grandson of the founder Samuel Smith, and great uncle of the current owners Rober & Sam Hill Smith – our own ‘Indiana Jones horticulturalist’ was there. Fortunately for us, Fred sent home detailed letters of his travels abroad, and toured this very building, when it was The Palace Of Fine Arts during the World’s Fair run.


So yesterday was our opportunity to catch up with our truly fabulous friends from our distributor for the mighty working hard state of Illinois – Heritage Wine Cellars – and actually walk “in the footsteps” of Fred Caley Smith…..123 years down the track. You certainly don’t get to do that sort of thing every day, and it’s one of the special things about working for this family business with its great history, and we’re thrilled to bits that Fred Caley was such a prolific writer, detailing everything that he did and saw for the folks at home – fully intending to have his correspondence bound as a diary of his adventures and observations – many of them directly related to the wine, vine and fruit growing and preserving businesses that Yalumba was involved with at the time. Otherwise we wouldn’t have these opportunities to have a window back in time to these sorts of fabulous events that Fred Caley attended. Don’t get me started on how he found himself at the Press preview one day before the new Tower Bridge was opened in London! That’s a whole another story!

2 responses to “Chicago World’s Fair 1893 – why are we interested?

  1. Thanks Jane for educating me on Fred. I do enjoy it when you make these connections , safe travels Sam

    Sent from my iPhone

    • No worries at all Sam – I have more to add to that post, I just ran out of steam writing it up the other night. We actually tracked down the location of the boarding house where Fred stayed…….not the most glamorous part of town now, in fact, it’s what the locals call ‘sketchy’……which in Chicagoese means….”don’t be going there after dark!”

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