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I was at the fair . . .

Meehan"Shortly after my appointment the Pennsylvania Commission to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition asked me to prepare and take charge of an exhibit exemplifying the fisheries interests of the Commonwealth at the World's Fair in St. Louis.

"I notified the Commissioners of my willingness to take personal charge of the collection of material, the installation of the exhibit, and the care after being put in place. The Commission set aside ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for my use in the work. Application was made to the Exposition authorities for space in the Forestry, Fish and Game Palace, and nearly 4,000 square feet were allotted at the north end of the building.

"Space was provided for the thirty-five tanks for aquaria...over the top of each tank was a paper label neatly framed and fronted by glass, giving the common and the scientific name of the exhibit, together with a brief data of its value arranged in characteristics. On each side of the label a transparency of fishing streams were set in frames. When this was all completed the grotto, the transparencies, and living fish formed a scene of great beauty and attracted enormous crowds. Indeed at times it became necessary for guards to walk westwardly along the aquaria to the end and then eastwardly on the other side.

"The work of installing the exhibit began on the 15th of March, and, by hard work, despite many great difficulties, and extortionate prices made by labor, both skilled and unskilled, and unreasonable exactions by these people, on the morning of the 29th of April the work was concluded and ready for live fish. On the afternoon of the 29th the live fish arrived from Corry in the Department car "Susquehanna," in charge of Nathan R. Buller, Superintendent of the Wayne County Hatchery, with four assistants.

"From the opening to the closing day there was constantly a dense crowd of people in front of the aquaria and around the pool and the exhibit space was nearly always comfortably full. The judges of the Exposition awarded the exhibit one grand prize and four gold medals, or for everything which was distinctly classified, with the exception of the display of the confiscated nets. The prizes were as follows: Grand prize, for aquaria of live fish and accompaniments; Gold medal, for angling appliances of E. K. Tryon, Jr., & Co.; Gold medal, for mounted specimens of mammals, birds and reptiles which prey upon fish; Gold medal, display of photographs of wild animals by Hon. George Shiras, III; and Gold medal for Pennsylvania woods by Philadelphia Lumberman's Exchange.

"The Fair closed on the afternoon of December 1st, and within fifteen minutes the work of packing the exhibit for return to Pennsylvania was begun under my direction and by the 14th everything was completed and given into the hands of the freight companies for shipment.­Wm. Meehan's personal account, from Commission bound reports.

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November/December 1998 PA Angler & Boater


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