Tuesday, April 2, 2019

HISTORY - Norway at 1893 World's Columbian Exposition - Chicago

The Norwegian Building.

Despeite their political connection, Norway and Sweden had separate buildings a the World's Fair, each a credit to its country.

The Norwegian building was situated near the lake front ans east of the North Pond, amid a group of trees familiar to those who have visited Jackson Park before an Exposition was thought of.

In size, the building was sixty by twenty-five feet, and was constructed almost entirely of Norway pine.

All the workmen employed and all the material used were Norwegian, the house being made at Dronheim, put together with screws to enable transportation, and then taken apart again and shipped to this country.

It had gables surmounted by conventional "dragons' head", such of those which appeared on the Viking Ships, and quaint oriel windows which gave a most picturesque effect.

No attempt at a display of products was made in this building, Norway being represented elsewhere, but a large map of Norway, a few banners and a picture of the Viking Ship were among the decorations of the interior.

The Viking Ship, with the great Norse discovery it suggested, was, in itself display enough for one nation, and the Scandinavians, as descendants of the daring race who first learned that America existed, had splendid recognition at the Fair.

In the Norwegian Building, the race who have been sea-rovers from time immemorial gathered and were as merry as were their ancestors returning after a raid along the southern coasts of Europe.

The Viking Ship.

I was well that the Columbian celebration honor should be paid to Leif Ericsson, undoubtly the first European to land upon the shores of America, though due advantage was not taken of his great discovery, and it was weel too, that the Viking Ship seen at the Fair should be a reproduction of one buried which its commander at about the time Leif Ericsson made his voyage.

That was not far from the year 1000. The "Viking", as the vessel was named, was seventy-six feet in length, was open, with the exception of a small deck for and aft, and was very simply rigged with one mast, which could be taken down, and with a single sail. Evidently the Norsemen depended much on their long oars.

The prow was adorned with a dragon's head, and the stern with a dragon's tail, both beinf finished in gilt. Outside the slender bulwarks were hung the embellished shields of the crew, and there were benches and apertures for sixteen rowers on a side.

The rudder, after the ancient custom, was placed on the right side, close to the stern. A canopy which could be erected at will made a shelter over the deck.

The fund for the reproduction of the "Viking" was raised in Norway by popular subscription and, under the command of Captain Magnus Andersen and a picked Norwegian crew, the vessel made the trip across the Atlantic Ocean and through the great lakes with ease, doing even more than the Norsemen did so long ago in a similar craft.

A splendid exhibit was the "Viking", and all honors were paid it and its country by America.

Personal archives. LeMog

No comments:

Post a Comment