Main Exhibition Hall
Philadelphia 1876 Centennial Exhibition
Joseph Miller Wilson (1838-1902)
Built 1874-1876

Images: Leslie, Frank, Historical Register of the United States Centennial Exposition. New York: Frank Leslie’s Publishing House, 1876.

After undergoing multiple design changes, the original of which was by George Radford and Calvert Vaux, the Main Exhibition Hall was eventually built by Joseph Miller Wilson (1838-1902) and was the largest building of its time, covering more than 21 acres. It took 3,000 workmen one year to construct, at a cost of $1,580,000. Made of modern materials including pipe, iron, and lumber, it featured commercial, industrial, and international exhibits. One exhibit, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, was, at the time, not thought to be a very significant invention.


For information about the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and sources/reference materials, see the Centennial overview.