1904 St. Louis World's Fair
THE PIKE:  Rides

1904 W.F. Society

On these Pike Pages, the 50+ Pike attractions and
concessions are divided into several groups:

The approximate opening date for each attraction is in Green.
Information about similar concessions at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair is in Blue.

1. United States Attractions

Hunting in the Ozarks
Old St. Louis
Deep Sea Divers
Cliff Dwellers
Boynton's Naval Exhibit
Hale's Fire Fighters
Galveston Flood

Battle Abbey
Old Plantation
Jim Key
Peanuts & Popcorn
Baby Incubators
Palais du Costume
Temple of Palmistry

Hagenbeck's Zoological Paradise
(Cummins') Wild West Indian Congress
Esquimau (Esquimaux) Village
Glass Weaving
Moving Pictures
Poultry Farm

2. Foreign Cultures

Tyrolean Alps
Irish Village
Streets of Seville
Ancient Rome
Great Siberian Railway
Boer War

Chinese Village
Streets of Cairo
Paris and French Village
Moorish Palace

Mysterious Asia
Fair Japan & Japanese Tea Gardens
Ostrich Farm

3. Rides (this page)

4. Other Notable Concessions

Miniature Railway
Intramural Railway
Bird Cage
Roller Chairs

Lincoln Museum
Grant's Cabin (Hardscrabble)
Great Anthracite Coal Mine

Launches and Gondolas
( . . . on the Grand Basin)
DeForest Wireless Telegraph Tower
( . . . Buffalo Tower),


The Observation Wheel (or Ferris Wheel) at the 1904 World's Fair

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Under and Over the Sea (opened by May 25)
-- 25˘
adult admission (saw 50˘ ticket)

  • Mechanical, scenic, and electrical illusion of submarine trip to Paris
    • 250 'passengers' per trip
    • Across the Atlantic and the Seine River
    • View coral reefs, fishes, 'monsters', and sunken shipwrecks through 5' by 7' porthole
  • In Paris, elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower (built for 1900 Paris World's Fair)
    • See views of Paris at night, buy Eiffel Tower souvenirs
  • Return was via airship, passing over Paris, London, the Atlantic, and New York
    • Encountered a terrific storm before returning to St. Louis at dawn over Ead's Bridge

"Creation" at the 1904 World's Fair

Creation (Opened by May 10)
-- 50˘
adult admission (25˘ children)

  • Designed by Henry Roltair, called "Roltair's Creation"
  • Full 'trip' could take two hours
  • Boat trip around the 'big blue' dome, illustrating the works of God
    • Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Yosemite, Alaska, then "backwards in time" through forests, volcanoes, to prehistoric time and primeval man
  • Disembark, and see various illusions: living heads without bodies, etc.
  • Another boat ride in labyrinth, to see ancient countries and cities: Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, Spain, France, England
  • Then disembark, ascend stairs to a platform, and see ... the climax of the display ...
  • ... In the great dome, the 6 days of the Creation of the World are presented
    • 1st day) The Earth is formed from the nebulous and chaotic into a ball of fire, volcanoes and lava, darkness until "Let there be Light"
    • 2nd Day) The Waters appear
    • 3rd Day) Dry Land, Trees, and Grass begin
    • 4th Day) Sun, Moon, and Stars are created
    • 5th Day) Life: Birds and Fish are seen
    • 6th Day) Eden: Man and Woman are created
    • 7th Day) God rested
    • Creation was reproduction of a Coney Island concession
    • Creation, Siberian Railway, and Deep Sea Divers all operated by same owners

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Magic Whirlpool
-- 15˘
adult admission (children 10˘)

  • Boat trip descending around a 60-foot fountain and 80-foot diameter cascades
  • Boat goes into submarine channel with tropical gardens - 500' boat trip
  • 50,000 gallons of water/minute (good description in Francis)
  • Building also housed a café/restaurant

Shoot the Chutes (Water Chutes, also called Fairyland)
-- 10˘ adult admission (some references say free admission, and concessionaires (and riders) 'paid' for the attraction)

  • Called Fairyland from the brilliancy of the electric lights (more than any 3 others)
    • Largest open-air concession, many merchants selling souvenirs
  • Ticket sellers were four Beautiful Women (selected most beautiful in St. Louis)
  • Had 'biograph' (moving pictures) of a prize fight to entice passers-by to go inside
  • Largest double chutes ever built: boats go down 350' chute into a 380' lake
    • Two restaurants on each side with 300' roof gardens

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Scenic Railway (Open on May 3)
-- 15˘
adult admission (saw 8 tickets for $1.00, 10˘ ticket, & 10˘ in guidebooks)

  • Double track roller coaster, extended outside the Pike over the RR tracks
  • Cars drawn up an incline, then go on a 3 mile trip in just a few minutes
    • Two round trips, ends with 3 fast dips and a gentle rise
    • Bridges, torrents, tunnels, past many beautiful sights of nature, all in absolute safety
    • Scenes of Glaciers, Everglades, Jerusalem, South Sea Islands, Iceland, Pompeii
  • Includes 500 seat restaurant

Golden Chariot

  • One of the most beautiful and gorgeously decorated Merry-Go-Rounds ever conceived
  • Designed by Parisian artists, $10,000 gold leaf with machinery/equipment worth $55,000
  • Sensations of a trip on the 'Ocean Wave', on an undulating circular track
  • Note: Perhaps the 'Circle Swing' was also near this attraction

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Hereafter (Opened by May 25)
-- 25˘
adult admission (children 15˘)

  • Vision of two worlds, Heaven and Hades (inspired by Dante's Inferno)
  • 'Spiritual' trip down through caves, skeletons, and the "Cafe of the Dead", with coffin tables, chandelier of bones, and illusions
    • Saw inhabitants of Hades who are being punished for their sins with fire and torture
    • Punishment methods by Satan portrayed include electrical & mechanical
  • Scenes from Dante's "Inferno" - cross River of Death in Charon's boat, skeletons dropping
  • Then through solid rock openings to see angels ascending to 'Heaven'
    • Masterpieces from Milton's "Paradise Lost"
  • Final tableaux (cost $10,000) shows the Star of Bethlehem, a glorious "The Burst of Dawn", and angels

Temple of Mirth (also called Crystal Maze, Foolish House, Fun Factory) (Opened by May 20)
-- 25˘ adult admission (one reference says 10˘ ticket)

  • Crystal mirror/glass labyrinth (a mirror maze) had over 150 French plate curved mirrors give absurd, grotesque reflections
  • Electrical dancers named for heavenly bodies (sun, moon, cloud, flower, star, storm, and fire)
  • Magnificent scenes and mysterious volcanic fires
  • Other features: collapsing chair trick (crowd watched), dark winding tunnel, Cave of the Winds (puffs of air from the floor), Hall of Laughter, Mystic Bottomless Well, Spring of Mirth, 3-story circular slide (called Helter Skelter)

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New York to the North Pole (Opened by June 1)
-- 25˘
adult admission (children 15˘, saw 50˘ ticket)

  • Trip on Atlantic liner "Discoverer", 200' long, 50' wide, surrounded by water
    • Fully appointed with costumed crew, gang plank pulled in, ship moved on the ocean
  • After a storm at sea, your ship is about to sink, but lifeboats are lowered, and you are 'rescued' by crews in rescue boats
  • Inside a theater, you travel through grinding ice bergs, see Aurora Borealis, feel cold air, and 'dash' to the North Pole, where the Stars and Stripes are raised
    • North Pole depicted as warm land with tropical vegetation, surrounded by ice
  • All in 20 minutes !

Observation Wheel (opened May 28)
-- 50˘
adult admission (25˘ children)

  • Originally built for 1893 Chicago World's Fair by George W. Ferris as the Ferris Wheel
    • At Chicago, carried 2 million people, taken down, re-erected, taken down
  • Ride was two revolutions, ~20 minutes each (some references say 4 revolutions, about 1 hour)
    • Marriages, banquets, some daredevils rode on top
  • 4,200 tons of steel were transported by 175 freight cars
  • Stood 264' high, wheel was 250' diameter, 825' circumference, 30 feet wide
    • Axle was 45 feet long, 32" in diameter, weighed 70 tons - largest single piece of forged iron in 1904
    • Towers were 140' tall, 40' by 50' at their bases.
    • Each of the 36 passenger cars was 26' by 13' by 9' high, held 60 people (with a guard)
    • Total capacity of 2,160
  • Dynamited on May 11, 1906, and sold for scrap for $1,800
    • Fate of 70-ton axle remains a mystery (no record of its movement or destruction)

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