After the state legislature created the South Park Commission in 1869, the renowned designers of New York's Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, were hired to lay out the 1055-acre park. Known originally as South Park, the landscape had eastern and western divisions connected by a grand boulevard named the Midway Plaisance. The eastern division became known as Lake Park; however, in 1880 the commission asked the public to suggest official names for both the eastern and western Divisions. Jackson and Washington were proposed, and the following year, Lake Park was renamed Jackson Park to honor Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the seventh president of the United States.
In 1890, Chicago won the honor of hosting the World's Columbian Exposition, and Jackson Park was selected as its site. Olmsted and Chicago's famous architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham laid out the fairgrounds. The sandy area along Chicago’s lakeshore looked more like a deserted marsh than a site for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Frederick Law Olmsted, however, saw the area’s potential. As landscape architect for the project, he got the fair committee’s permission to use this site. His design called for lagoons and what Olmsted referred to as a wooded isle, but they had not been developed yet. The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, however, would give Olmsted the opportunity to create his vision. After the fair was over and the buildings torn down, a park would remain for Chicagoans to enjoy. Today this park is known as Jackson Park. A team of the nation's most significant architects and sculptors created the "White City" of plaster buildings and artworks. The monumental World's Fair opened to visitors on May 1, 1893. After it closed six months later, the site was transformed back into parkland. Jackson Park featured the first public golf course west of the Alleghenies, which opened in 1899. Today, two structures remain as impressive symbols of the World's Columbian Exposition. The "Golden Lady" sculpture is a smaller version of Daniel Chester French's Statue of the Republic which originally stood at the foot of the Court of Honor. The original Fine Arts Palace now houses Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.