Lincoln200™ is inspired in part by the Great Central Fair of 1864, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s final visit to Pennsylvania while he was alive.
Along with the president, hundreds of thousands of people attended the Great Central Fair, a 200,000-square-foot complex built in Philadelphia’s Logan Square. Visitors came to experience the best of the region, and to contribute funds to support Union soldiers. Approximately $1.5 million was raised, more than $19 million in today’s currency.
According to a report of the day, “The crowd was immense, pressing forward from both sides, and in front. The President was supported on the right and left, and an attempt was made to organize an advance guard of police, but the pressure was entirely too strong; there was no resisting that block of humanity. The President visited the various departments of the Fair; and although he expressed himself much pleased with all he saw, it was evident that he alone of all that vast throng, could not be allowed to examine the wonderful collection satisfactorily at his leisure.
Plans are underway for a 2014 Great Philadelphia Fair, to commemorate the success of the 1864 fair and to honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.