These tickets are from the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition held in San Francisco on Treasure Island. Treasure Island had always piqued my interest as I passed the exit while driving on the Oakland Bay Bridge. Turns out that the island is manmade and was created specifically for this fair. After the fair the island was to become the San Francisco airport and act as the hub for the Pan American China Clipper fleet along with being able to service other flying boats. This was to happen after the fair closed in 1940. The attack on Pearl Harbor changed all those plans and the island went to the Navy instead. In the 90s the Navy left the island and now it has some businesses, film studios, and housing of various sorts.
Anyway, the fair was held as a celebration of many things including the opening of the two most recent bridges, The Bay Bridge and of course The Golden Gate. If you look on the ticket you can see a statue on the left, which was Pacifica. She was over 80’ tall and was supposed to be moved after the fair. Like the airport idea, that changed with the war and she was demolished along with the other fair buildings. (There is a group currently hoping to rebuild Pacifica on Treasure Island, and there is also an 8’ tall replica on the College of San Francisco campus.) One of the only remnants of the fair is the old terminal building, which is now apartments and a small museum dedicated to the event. (The terminal is classic art deco and was used as a German airship terminal in the 3rd Indiana Jones film.) Even though the expo was competing against the World’s Fair in NYC it was hugely successful with many special travel packages and city wide events. There was even a special train route created, the Exposition Flyer, between Chicago and Oakland. According to the California Historical Society (via the Online Archive of California – an excellent resource) an estimated 17 million attended the expo and it was a huge economic boom to the region. If interested, a color home movie of the expo can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTSgyD-mWrM
With spring hope springs eternal. And if you’re a Cubs fan you know that a lot of springs have passed since there has been a World Series at Wrigley Field. These Cubs World Series tickets most likely belonged to my Grandpa George. He and his brother in-law, my Uncle Frank, were best pals and would attend sports events together. So it is a pretty safe assumption that this is how the tickets came into my possession. I also remember hearing about how my Great Grandparents also enjoyed baseball. This means my kid is the 5th generation of my family to catch a game at Wrigley.
Worth noting on these tickets is (as I often mention) the lack of corporate logos. Everything looks nicer when it doesn’t have some cheeseball branding campaign spewed across the front. The other item worth mentioning is the price. Now math has never been my strong suit but I think it is fair to say that the cost of a World Series ticket has pretty well outpaced the rate of inflation over the years. I suppose you can add that fact to the list of why that era is now known as baseball’s Golden Age.
Over the years I’ve overlooked these two little tickets because they looked like something you would get at a local festival. It wasn’t until very recently, while organizing all of this stuff, that I took a closer look and realized what exactly these stubs were for… The 1934 Stanley Cup Series
These tickets are a great example of the growth in popularity of hockey over the years. Back then hockey was the redheaded stepchild of the American sports world. Unlike World Series tickets from that era (see these Cubs World Series tickets) the Stanley Cup Final’s tickets were nothing special. Like their roots, this was the blue collar no thrills sport and the tickets reflected it. It was all about the game, so why bother making some fancy-pants souvenir. As a matter of fact, if my Grandfather hadn’t penciled in “1934” I would have had to guess when these were from. Also, check out that price, and remember that ticket price wasn’t for a normal season game.
That series also has some interesting history. It was the Blackhawks’ first time they brought home The Cup. In game one, which was played April 3rd (not June), Chicago beat the Red Wings 2 to 1 in double overtime. Chicago won the series 3-1, and the last game was also won in double OT with a score of 1 to nothing. The hero being their team Captain and goalie Chuck Gardiner (the only goalie Captain engraved on The Cup). Sadly, the Scottish born Gardiner didn’t get to enjoy the taste of victory for long and died of a brain hemorrhage only two months later. He was 29.
I really wish I had found these last year when the Blackhawks won The Cup. Better late than never, which could have easily happened if I hadn’t been paying attention and had tossed these into the trash. That would have been truly a loss.
The College All-Star Game was a preseason game between the NFL champions and a team made up of college All Stars including recent graduates. The game was the brain child of Arch Ward a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune. (He is also credited with getting the baseball All Star game going.) The first College All-Star match was held in 1934, so this ticket stub of my Grandpa’s was from the second hosting of the game. These games continued all the way up to 1976, which was when it was finally canceled. There were a few reasons for the game being terminated. One was that teams weren’t exactly too keen to the idea of possibly losing a new draftee to injuries suffered in a meaningless preseason game. Another reason was professional football players had become bigger over the years and were pretty much impossible for a college team to handle. For example, the Steelers played that last game in 76 and their team included the likes of Franco Harris, Bradshaw, and Mean Joe Greene. It frankly sounds like it became a bit unfair.
The Bears played in that 1935 game, which was held at Soldier Field on August 29 (and apparently cost 55 cents more than a World Series ticket and 90 cents more than a Stanley Cup game). I found a UPI story about the game from the next day and overall it sounded rather miserable. It poured rain, turned into a defensive battle, the Bears managed to lose over 112 yards in penalties, and the end score was Bears 5, All-Stars 0. One interesting note to this game was the All-Star’s center. He was the MVP from the University of Michigan and I believe this was his last time on the grid iron… Gerald Ford. Yep, President Ford played in that game, which with that rain may have reinforced his decision to not accept the offers to go pro.
Not sure why my Grandfather kept this ticket stub. I can’t find any reason other than Notre Dame was a favorite but got blanked 20 to nothing by Northwestern. Maybe that was reason enough to keep it. Though most likely he just had a good time and kept it as a souvenir. Whatever the reason the art used has that classic old college football look, which is enough reason right there to keep it.
One thing of interest is that the price of this ticket seems pretty high. Even my 1945 Cubs World Series ticket was less than half of this one. Maybe these were particularly good seats.
As for the stadium it sill exists in Evanston, though it has been renamed Ryan Field. When it was built in the mid 1920s it was considered one of the best college stadiums around. The Bears even considered making it their home (after the NFL told them to move out of Wrigley) but the citizens of Evanston petitioned against it and the Bears ended up at Soldier Field. Besides, Evanston is a dry town, and can you imagine professional football playing at a dry stadium? Hm, that wouldn’t have lasted long.
The Rainbo Arena was located on N. Clark Street in Chicago where the Rainbo Village condos currently are, right across from St. Boniface Cemetery, which just so happens to be the final resting place for many of my ancestors. This would include my Grandpa George, who kept this old ticket stub. I couldn’t find any information about this particular event, but what I did find is an interesting history about the Rainbo.
It was founded by a WWI veteran of the famous Rainbow Division, hence the name. Originally it was a music venue called the Moulin Rouge Gardens, and was supposedly modeled after the famous French Club. That name didn’t last long and it became the Rainbo Room. Many famous vaudeville acts performed there and supposedly it was the largest nightclub in America during the 1920s. While being dry because of prohibition, ho ho, it was a hangout for various gangsters including John Dillinger.
After the 1920s the club appears to have changed hands a few times. During the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair it was the French Casino. After that it became a theatre café, and then an arena. In the 1950s it was converted to an ice rink and was even a practice spot for the Blackhawks. In the ‘60s & ‘70s it became a roller rink and also a music hall called the Kinetic Playground. Bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin even played there. At some point it became the Rainbo Roller Center, which was the name it had when it finally closed for good in 2003.
But the story doesn’t end there… Soon after it closed demolition began, and soon after that human bones were found buried in the basement. At first it appeared to be just one individual, but then it became more. I couldn’t find a number of how many people they found, but one report had the police removing over 20 bags of human remains. Weirdly, I can’t find any information after that! So yet another mystery.
I don’t have any background on this ticket stub. What I can tell you is that this is from the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. They appear to be known more for golf than tennis, but at least back in the 1930s they held some international matches. My Grandpa George was a sports nut, so finding a ticket stub for a tennis match between the U.S. & Germany isn’t that surprising. I wonder if there was any tension at this game because of the rise of Nazi Germany? That could have added an interesting twist to things.