The World's Columbian Exposition, or the Chicago World's Fair, commemorated the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas. Between May and October of 1893, Jackson Park became the White City, at once a carnival and an enchanting courtyard modeled on classical architecture. Since electric lights were a new development, power companies competed for the opportunity to light up the fairgrounds while showcasing their technology. Although General Electric (supported by Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan) put up a good fight, Westinghouse Electric outbid them with an offer to power up the fair using Nikola Tesla's alternating current technology. In addition to dazzling the fair's 26 million visitors and 46 participating nations with electrically-illuminated fountains, Tesla and Westinghouse demonstrated Tesla's creations, like his brand of fluorescent lamps, in an exhibit devoted to electricity.
Read the full story in "Electricity at the World's Fair"