The White City

February 3, 2011

Sophia Hayden Bennett (October 17, 1868 – February 3, 1953) was the first American woman to receive an architecture degree.

Bennett was born in Santiago, Chile.  She is best known for designing the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair, 1893, designing the building when she was just 21. She received $1,000 at the time for the design, when male architects earned ten times as much. Bennett died in 1953 in Winthrop, Massachusetts.

The Women's Building - Columbian Exposition, 1893

Further Reading: The Devil in the White City: murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America – Erik Larson

A Must Read is Soodie Beasley.blogspot – Women in Design: Sophia Hayden –

The Disney Connection

 Elias Disney told his son Walt about his experiences at the Fair, and Walt never forgot dreaming one day of building a Fair type amusement park that could be open all year. Disneyland was the culmination of that dream.

Image Credit: Idea-Sandbox

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