While the notion of collecting spoons has pretty much been relegated to truck stops along the interstate, it use to be a lot more popular. Here are two silver spoons from the 1933 “A Century of Hope” World’s Fair in Chicago. The “I Will” is a motto of the city and the woman’s face was a logo for the fair. (In the bowl part of the spoon are different buildings from the fair.) The fair was so popular that it was extended through 1934 and was even paid off by the end of the exposition. Quite a feat when you think about the fact that the Great Depression was in full swing. (Check back for more from this fair and the 1892 Columbian Exposition.)
This is the program from the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. What strikes me as odd about this guide book (besides the fact that my family kept it) is that the font and style doesn’t match anything else I’ve seen from the fair. Other printed materials use a font that resembles the Bauhaus font and has a very stylish art deco look. This font, while still being a strong and now iconic 1930s style, is much more festive than the other official materials. I guess the corporate idea of branding hadn’t yet been fully realized. And speaking of corporations, it’s very nice to see the absence of advertising on the cover. Today we’d see some major company’s name and logo splashed across the top. How did fair goers know what to buy without advertising on everything they saw?!?
Oh how the times have changed.
This is a postcard of The Skyride, which was a big feature of the 1933 World’s Fair. It wasn’t a tram like you see at an amusement park but was an actual bridge that these cars traveled across (the technical name is a Transport Bridge and here is a view of the full thing). Two large towers were constructed, one located at the southeast corner of Soldier Field and the other directly east across the lagoon at the narrowest part. As a matter of fact you can partly see in this postcard the bridge that was also constructed there, and was later torn down as well. According to the Century of Progress guide at 628 feet the towers were the tallest structures in Chicago at that time. Each had an observation deck at the top that gave a panoramic view of the city. The double-decker “rocket cars” traveled the 1,850 feet on cables at 200+ feet above the ground. At night the towers were lit up and had “great searchlights that (would) sweep the sky.” There were five companies that were behind the creation of this ride including Otis Elevator and the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company, which I think it is safe to say were the designers of this bridge.
Sure wish I had a chance to see it.
Another postcard from the 1933 A Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. This card is of Fort Dearborn which was the original army outpost that was erected in 1803. The Fort itself has a rather ingloroius history. After war with Great Britain started in 1812 the inhabitants of the Fort and the neighboring civilians were told to march back towards Michigan. Soon after they left they met hostile Patowatomi Indians and most were killed. After that the Fort was looted and burned to the ground.
According to my guidebook from the Fair this replica of the fort was built to be exactly like the original. Inside there were various history related displays. I can’t say as to how accurate all of this was, but the list of contributors was pretty impressive. They included: The Chicago Historical Society, The Army & Navy, The Smithsonian, and West Point - Just to name a few.
My Grandma Alice told me a family story about how my ancestors owned a house (or cabin) on the site of where the fort stood. I’ve never been able to confirm that tale, but maybe that is the reason why she kept this postcard. The real fort was located at roughly the corner of Whacker & Michigan Avenue (across the river from the Wrigley Building). I was walking down there a year or two ago and noticed that there was a marker in the ground with an outline of the footprint of the fort. So if you’re ever walking down Michigan Avenue don’t forget to look down for the marker (but make sure you don’t blindly walk out into traffic).
The 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago offered visitors a chance to purchase a souvenir to remember every single aspect of their visit, including postcards of the shuttle buses that they rode. This isn’t an exaggeration on my part; the back of the card mentions only the shuttle bus and not the Hall of Science. The card notes that the shuttles “accommodate 15,000 to 20,000 passengers per hour” which does give some insight into just how many people attended the Fair. The postcard also shows exactly how much the movement of Art Deco was used throughout. It must have been otherworldly to enter and experience such a setting.