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HHA meeting explores link between Ellsworth and 1893 World's Fair

Published: April 5, 2017 12:00 AM
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Local historian and archivist Tom Vince will describe the role Hudson's James Ellsworth played in shaping the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago when he speaks to members and guests of Hudson Heritage Association April 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Barlow Community Center.

The program will describe Ellsworth's work to engage famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed New York's Central Park, and architect Daniel Burnham, noted for developing master plans for a number of cities including downtown Cleveland, to design the fairgrounds and buildings for the "white city" that the Exposition became.

A native of Hudson who went on to make his fortune in the coal industry, Ellsworth served on the board of the Colombian Exposition and was commissioned by U.S. Secretary of State James G. Blaine to serve as a special delegate to Europe, where he worked to convince the countries there to exhibit at the fair. Eventually, almost all the countries of Europe and many in Asia were participants in the Exposition, conceived as a way to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America. During its six-month run, the fair attracted 26 million visitors and was pivotal to Chicago's reemergence following the fire of 1871.

Western Reserve Academy has a large collection of items from the Exposition that originally were kept at Ellsworth's Hudson estate, Evamere Farm. Mr. Vince will have a number of souvenirs and personal items from the event to share with those who attend the program.

Known for his vast and detailed knowledge of Western Reserve history, Vince speaks often about Hudson's past, the individuals who shaped its early days and the events that influenced its development. He has served as Archivist and Historian at Western Reserve Academy since 1996 and earlier headed the Hudson Library and Historical Society. He is a past president of Hudson Heritage Association, the Rotary Club of Hudson and the Cuyahoga Valley Civil War Round Table. He was named Citizen of the Year by the Hudson Chamber of Commerce in 2009. He has done segments devoted to local history on Hudson Cable television for the past 20 years and received an award from the David Hudson Chapter DAR for his work.

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