In April 1904, during Governor Alexander Monroe Dockery Administration, St. Louis opened its doors to the world for what was officially called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World’s Fair. Millions of dollars had been spent to build the 1,200-acre fairground and its nearly 1,500 buildings—a huge scale that ended up delaying the opening by a year. During the eight months the fair stayed open, nearly 20 million people paid a visit. On display were marvels of technology, agriculture, art, and history, including the furniture set which is now located in the Governor’s Mansion.
At the closing of the St. Louis World’s Fair, a fire actually destroyed the Missouri Building which housed these now historical pieces. The furniture was divided up among various state buildings and it was at that time that the Mansion got the first of its gold-leaf furniture. Discolored by water and smoke, the delicate benches and chairs were later refinished and placed in the reception parlors where they remained through the years.
In the 1984 restoration of the Ballroom on the 3rd floor of the Mansion, the furniture was reupholstered in rich Victorian red and gold damask fabric and the gold-leaf was restored. Additional pieces were replicated at this time from the original design. In the beginning of 2020, local craftsman James Howard repaired the historic furniture, which now adorns the 2nd Floor Landing space pictured here.