Today's temporary installations are the domain of artists and intellectuals. But, a century ago, temporary food installations represented America's emergence as the world's breadbasket while exhibiting the patriotic pride of a young, agriculturally expanding nation. At local harvest festivals, temporary installations would take the form of majestic grain palaces. At world's fairs—particularly in 1876 Philadelphia, 1893 Chicago, and 1904 St. Louis—individual states contributed novelty food displays that underscored a prime product, be it Minnesota butter, California oranges, or wheat from Ohio. And, at a time when vast tracts of fertile land lay undeveloped, temporary installations at all these venues were meant to attract new population, whether from among the visitors at crowded urban exhibitions or from the settlers stopping at land grant offices on their way West, by demonstrating what a bounty could be obtained by farming in one particular area.

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