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Cotton Palace attendance peaks


On this day in 1923, attendance hit a one-day record of 117,208 at the Waco Cotton Palace. By 1894 Waco had become one of the major inland cotton markets in the nation, and plans were laid for a fair and exposition center to be named the Texas Cotton Palace. A large main building was erected in Padgitt Park, where the first event, in November 1894, was highly successful. In January 1895 the building was destroyed by a spectacular fire, and the Cotton Palace was not reactivated until 1910. That year, with an elaborately expanded facility, the project was launched again. It continued uninterrupted for the following twenty-one years as one of the most successful such expositions in the nation. More than eight million people passed through its turnstiles. In addition to its spectacular opening-day parades, the exposition featured agricultural and livestock exhibits, competitions of many sorts, art shows, horse racing, athletic events, and operatic and concert attractions. In 1931, however, the palace became a casualty of the Great Depression.

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