Omaha World’s Fair

A New Historical Novel About Omaha

Here is a link to Amazon’s page for The Swan Gondola, a new historical novel by Timothy Schaffert. It’s set during the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair, an event in the city’s history that I find endlessly fascinating and underwhelmingly discussed. Hopefully this will help Omahans become more interested in this fascinating exposition, especially since the beautiful plaster buildings have long since been demolished.

The last time I was in Omaha, I stopped by the Durham Museum’s photo archives and looked at their collection from the fair. I requested copies of a few images. (Secret admission: I framed one and keep it next to my bed.) Here are two: (I scanned them in from copier-quality copies so I apologize for the graininess.)

William Jennings Bryan was a strong supporter of the Spanish-American War and volunteered for duty. Here Col. Bryan is pictured on horseback (on the right), leading his regiment of Nebraska troops in parade out of the expo.

William Jennings Bryan was a strong supporter of the Spanish-American War and volunteered for duty. Here Col. Bryan is pictured on horseback (on the right), leading his regiment of Nebraska troops in parade out of the expo.

I love this picture because the pristine, motionless quality of the white buildings is interrupted by the clothes drying in the foreground. One can assume the workmen took a break to cool off in the artificial pool!

I love this picture because the pristine, motionless quality of the white buildings is interrupted by the clothes drying in the foreground. One can assume the workmen took a break to cool off in the artificial pool!