Retracing one’s steps northward, the Illinois Building is reached directly opposite the California Building. It is built in the form of a Greek cross, of which one axis is four hundred and fifty feet long by one hundred and sixty feet wide, and the other two hundred and eighty feet long and ninety feet wide. In size and cost, as well as in magnificence, it is entitled to take rank with the departmental buildings of the Fair; but its architecture has shared the fate of that of the United States Government Building in failing to please the critics. At the intersection of the arms of the cross rises a dome with an internal diameter of seventy-five feet and an inside height of one hundred and fifty-two feet. The galleries encircle the dome, and above all rises a round lantern which extends two hundred and thirty-four feet above the ground.
The State has the largest and finest exhibit of all the States in the Union. The departments of display include model public school and kindergarten schools; exhibits of the public schools, the Normal schools, and the University of Illinois; the exhibit of the State Laboratory of Natural History; an exhibit of the fish commission, the railroad and warehouse commission, and the experimental station ; and exhibits of agriculture, geology, horticulture, and woman’s work. In the northern wing is a fire-proof room called Memorial Hall, which contains historical objects from the State capitol at Springfield. The general design of the building is very similar to that of the capitol.
©The World's Columbian Exposition 1893