Staged to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, and drawing over 19 million visitors in only nine months, the Pan-Pacific International Expo rose like a literal jewel from the ashes of San Francisco's 1906 Earthquake and Fire.
A Century of Progress International Exposition was held in Chicago, Illinois from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. Its motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms".
The 1939-40 New York World's Fair, located on the current site of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, was one of the largest world's fairs of all time. The fair ran for two seasons and over 44 million people attended.
The Golden Gate International Exposition was held in San Francisco, California to celebrate the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. The exposition's first season ran from February 18, 1939 through October 29, 1939 and its second season was from May 25, 1940 through September 29, 1940.
The 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair, located on the current site of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The fair ran for two seasons and took place without sanctioning from the Bureau of International Expositions.
Expo 67 was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It was considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with over 50 million visitors and 62 nations participating.
I visited the fair in 1965 when I was six years old.
Some of my most vivid earliest memories are of the fair, I distinctly remember IBM, Bell Tel, GM, US, GE, and of course Small World and eating at some restaurant in the Belgian Village.
These pictures are pretty much burned into my brain as one of the most amazing places and times I've experienced.
So I come here, like so many of us, to re-visit my past.
The fair was the single most formative experience in my life. Dad worked adjacent on the river in Flushing and would be aware of any new aspect of construction and take me for a drive around the highways that bisected and encircled. Week by week the steel girders formed unreal shapes.
Then the finished pavilions were lit and we started taking rides at night. Dad had been to the 1939 fair and wanted to make sure I fully experienced this one. Even the lamposts in that place were otherworldly! Don’t get me started on the monorail!!
For a solid two years I was a kid waking up Christmas Morning.
You know those geese that follow ultralights, or any animal that has a substitute parent imprinted on them during an impressionable phase in their development? Well, the fair had that kind of impact on me.
What was the question? Oh yeah.
It would take me a long time to explain my interest and then I am sure I could not express my feelings adequately. I feel like I’m grasping a handful of water; the tighter I squeeze the more it leaks away.
Like a quasar, the fair pulsates as one of those childhood memories shining just at the limits of comprehension and recollection. I joined PTU probably to learn more about Futurama specifically, but other members shared experiences awakened memories long forgotten.
Born in 1957, I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of Freedomland too.
So my interest is pure nostalgia for a happy period in my life when I became aware that people were devoting their lives to this thing called The Future. I won’t be authoring historical examinations on Moses or pursuing budget breakdowns, but if any hint of the fair is dangled before me I will happily waddle and flap my wings in pursuit.
Wayne, thanks for posting that Life magazine link.
I’m moving, and digging through ancient strata of belongings including magazines. I’ve always enjoyed old ads but was struck this time through by the ubiquity of reel to reel home tape machines. I believe it was a 1969 mag. Not only were there numerous ads for the players but they even appeared prominently in the cartoons. No 1969 home was complete apparently without the twin circles of a reel to reel sketched in background.
I remember feeling a combination of sadness and puzzlement. At 8 yrs old I could not understand why they had to take all those spectacular space age buildings down. They looked right out of the sci fi tv and movies I was watching. Close the Fair, sure, but destroy everything? Seemed almost spiteful.
What might’ve added insult to injury was leaving the sweeping entranceway intact. You could still take the train and get off at the elevated prospect and your eye follow the plaza ramps pictured down and delivering you to... nothing.