Centennial Conservation Expo 1913-2013


Indya Kincannon
[email protected]
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Conservation ExpoThe City of Knoxville presented the Centennial Conservation Expo on October 12th, 2013 at Chilhowee Park. The daylong Expo marked the 100th anniversary of the 1913 National Conservation Exposition (also held in Chilhowee Park) and celebrated a century of conservation efforts in East Tennessee.

With historical displays, photographs and films, hands-on demonstrations and exhibits, children's activities, live entertainment, athletic competitions, multimedia presentations, and events throughout the grounds of Chilhowee Park, the Expo showcased Knoxville's heritage and ongoing commitment to conservation.

About the 1913 National Conservation Exposition 

1913 Conservation ExpoThe National Conservation Exposition opened in Chilhowee Park on Sept. 1, 1913, with a parade from downtown Knoxville and a congratulatory telegram from President Woodrow Wilson. During the next two months, the Exposition reportedly drew more than a million visitors - especially impressive when you consider that the population of the City of Knoxville at the time was just over 35,000. 

It was a showcase for the burgeoning conservation movement, highlighting issues like flooding and erosion, natural resource scarcity, modern farming techniques and preservation of wildlife. But it also featured extravagant entertainment, including elephants, fortune tellers and a zip line across the Chilhowee Park lake. Among those who attended were Helen Keller, Booker T. Washington and William Jennings Bryan. Many of the notable Knoxvillians involved with planning and organizing the Exposition went on to be involved in the movement to found the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Photos from the 1913 Exposition

The Calvin  M. McClung Historical Collection consists of several photos from the 1913 Exposition. Most of the photos are part of the Columbus Alexander (C.A.) Wayland Stereograph Collection. Mr. Wayland (1868-1950) was a photographer who lived in South Knoxville but his main occupation was that of a specialty carpenter who created staircases in homes for his employer, the D.M. Rose Lumber Company.

Click here to view the photos