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Fast Facts

POP Culture: 1890

ICONS: Ellis Island, Chicago World Columbian Exposition, USS Maine
Ellis Island Immigration Station Chicago World Columbian Exposition USS Maine

  • Photographer Jacob Riis publishes How the Other Half Lives, in 1890, documenting the horrible living conditions immigrants faced living in New York City's tenements.
  • Wyoming and Idaho are admitted as the 43rd and 44th states in July 1890.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducts the first performance at New York's Carnegie Hall on May 5, 1891.
  • The Ellis Island Immigration Station begins processing immigrants to the United States on January 1, 1892.
  • More than 25 million people visit the 1893 Chicago World Columbian Exposition between May 1 and October 30, 1893.
  • On September 20, 1893, the Duryea Brothers road-test the first-ever, American-made, gasoline-powered automobile in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • On August 28, 1894, Congress passes the first graduated income tax. The U.S. Supreme Court declares the "direct tax" unconstitutional the following year.
  • Ex-slave and civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass dies on February 20, 1895.
  • The first U.S. Golf Open is held in Newport, RI, on October 4, 1895.
  • The last great North American "Gold Rush" begins on April 6, 1896 when gold is discovered in the Yukon District of Canada.
  • William McKinley is inaugurated as the 25th President of the United States on March 4, 1897.
  • The battleship USS Maine explodes in Havana, Cuba's harbor on February 15, 1898.
  • Fighting erupts between the United States and Philippine revolutionary forces on February 4, 1899. The "Philippine Insurrection" would officially end on July 4, 1902.
  • The United States annexes Hawaii on July 7, 1898.

The 1890 Census


10 Largest Urban Places

U.S. Resident Population: 62,979,766 Rank Place Population
Population per square mile of land area: 17.8 1 New York City, NY 1,515,301
Percent increase of population from 1880 to 1890: 25.5 2 Chicago, IL 1,099,850
Official Enumeration Date: June 1 3 Philadelphia, PA 1,046,964
Number of States: 42 4 Brooklyn, NY 806,343
Cost: $11,547,000 5 St. Louis, MO 451,770
Cost per Capita (cents): 18.3 6 Boston, MA 448,477
Total Pages in Published Reports: 26,408 7 Baltimore, MD 434,439
Number of Enumerators: 46,408 8 San Francisco, CA 298,997
Census Bureau Director: Robert Percival Porter 9 Cincinnati, OH 296,908
Number of Questions Asked: 30 10 Cleveland, OH 261,353

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 05, 2022