Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I have been reading about Steele Mackaye’s Spectatorium. It was built for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 to tell the story of Columbus.
Here are a few fun facts:
-The dome was 270’ tall
-Covers about 360,000 SF
-There are 25 stages, moving on 6 miles of railroad track, and weighing approximately 1,200 tons!
-The proscenium opening is 150’ x 70’, the stage is 180’ deep
-The furthest person to the stage will be viewing scenery from 400’ away.
-Uses about 1,600 horsepower to move scenery
-Cyclone Machinery alone uses 400 horse power, and is about the same for creating waves and current on the onstage water. The water was held in an 8’ deep tank, holding 750,000 cubic feet of water
-Had seating for 8,000 (some places estimate up to 12,000)
40 Patents were developed for the theatre
It was not built – due to cost overruns, time overruns, and lack of funding. A smaller building names the Scenitorium opened February 5, 1894.
Severeal patents are available online from Google Patent as well.
Objects of the Spectatorium, New York Times, March 20, 1893
The Spectatorium, New York Times, April 2, 1893
Steele MacKaye: Producer and Director by Wade Curry Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, Special American Theatre Issue (Oct., 1966), pp. 210-215
Appliance for Theatres Patent
Wave Maker Patent
Labels: Theatre History