Agricultural History Series

 Missouri State University

 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair

Dairy Cattle Shows

The dairy cattle started arriving soon after the horses had left the fair.  Walkways and streets had been covered with cinders.  The horse stalls had been cut down to cattle height were bedded for some of the finest dairy cattle in the world.  Some of the dairy exhibits were particularly attractive, especially those of some of the "millionaire" cattle owners.

The dairy cattle shows were held from September 12 to the end of September.  About 2,400 head of beef and dairy cattle were exhibited. A  parade of cattle was held on the first day in the Livestock Forum. Although beef cattle led the parade, the dairy cattle were also included.  The Brown Swiss cattle wearing native Swiss cowbells attracted lots of attention.

St. Louis was offering $105,106 in total prize money.  It was noted that never before had so many cattle of the dairy breeds been brought together in the "West".  Visitors could not imagine that such a large show could ever be held again.

Although many outstanding and well-known dairy cows were exhibited, its is notable how many dairy bulls were brought to St. Louis for competition.  It appears that the herdsmen managed to control their dairy bulls, some of which have a reputation for being aggressive.

Shows were held for most  of the common breeds of the day.  Representives of some other minor breeds were mentinoned, but few, such as Dutch Belted, were actually exhibited.  Click on the links below to visit pages for each breed:

Jersey Holstein Guernsey
Ayrshire Brown Swiss  

The final event of the dairy show was a parade on September 24. First, cattle herds of one bull and four cows were paraded.  Representatives of each dairy and beef breed were included.  While they were lined up in the arena, Fair President David Francis addressed the audience.  W. A. McHenry of Dennison, Iowa then responded on behalf of the exhibitors. After the speeches were completed, the final parade was held when the other 2,300 head of cattle were led around the Livestock Forum.  A large crowd of spectators was present, but estimates of the number of people varied from 5,000 to 20,000.

References: Breeder's Gazette, September 21, 1904; Farmer and Stockman, September 29, 1904; St. Louis Republic, September 24, 1904.

Photos from Irwin Collection -

This page was designed and is maintained by Lyndon Irwin

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