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.
One error I see here refers to "a brick paved promenade lined by dozens of full grown oak trees". There were only a few large trees contained within the Crystal Palace - most of them being beneath the barrel-vaulted central transept. The entire floor of the Crystal Palace was constructed of wood planks, with narrow spaces between each of the boards so that the automatic sweeping machines could sweep dust and small debris to the ground below. Air was circulated throughout the building by the placement of louvered openings, as the individual glass-pane windows were stationary and did not open.
I find Bill Bryson to be a creative and elegant writer and I am presently reading At Home: A Short History of Private Life, a book Mr. Bryson wrote about ten years ago. It is a well researched and very creative history of the evolution of middle class life in the UK. Mr. Bryson has alternated his home between New England and Scotland for close to 40 years.
In any event, Chapter One is a must read for any world's fair enthusiast. Mr. Bryson focuses his attention like a laser beam on the 1851 Great Exhibition. The entire greenhouse concept was never envisioned by those planning the exhibition. With only two years to plan and construct the buildings, time had been wasted in angry and unproductive "committee" meetings. Enter Joseph Paxrton, a private gardener, a land owner and a Liberal M P representing Coventry. Recognizing that the Exhibition planners were in trouble and that too much time had already passed for the planners to have time to complete a suitable display building.
Paxton contacted the committee and proposed what amounted to a vastly enlarged version model of a smaller greenhouse he had built for his plants. His glass and iron design would be called The Great Conservatory. Paxton had created and developed a stronger prefabricated glass and he had developed techniques for construction with iron. He promised completion in twelve months and would build a conservatory that was 1,848 feet long, 408 feet wide and 108 feet tall. It required 4,500 tons of iron, 60,000 square feet of timber and 293.000 panes of glass. It took 2,000 men just eight months to complete what would become the largest indoor space on earth and it came in well under budget.
To prevent too much trapped heat, Paxton designed three foot panes of glass to open and close and encourage air flow. Vast ground level pools snd the largest fountain complex in the world, at that time, also helped to cool the temperatures in the building. In the center of the vast structure, there was a brick paved promenade lined by dozens of full grown oak trees. Twenty-five thousand plants and trees from across the globe were planted and on display.
Mr. Paxton saved the exhibition which was so well received that 6.5 million people paid for the thrill of exploring the inventions, machinery, artistry, food, clothing, music, dance, and science of over 60 participating nations.
Much like Seattle Century 21 planner, Edward Carlson, who sketched his concept of a tower (which became the Space Needle) on the back of a cocktail napkin while sitting in a skyline defining tower in Stuttgart, Joseph Paxton drew his plans for the mammoth Hyde Park building on an ink blotter. What amounted to a simple doodle became the largest single structure in the world and won the imagination and devotion nearly seven million visitors in six months.
Mr. Bryson continues his story with all sorts of additional statistics about the Crystal Palace and he describes its removal (led by Paxton) to Sydenham after the fair had ended. The fair had turned a profit and some of that money was used to pay for the preservation of the Crystal Palace. People loved it. I learned far more about the Great Exhibition and its spectacular Crystal Palace than I can relate here. I urge you to explore the first chapter. It 'is brilliant and endlessly fascinating. You'll become a Crystal Palace expert and you will be sorely tempted to read the entire book.
Thanks. I have a LAPD meeting I chair that night and don't think I can make it. Drat. I really would have liked to have seen it. If you hear of any other dates please let me know.
How's the leg doing???
I found something interesting while trying to locate the site of this go-cart ride.
I believe it was located near the Formica Pavilion (house?) in an area called "Enterprise Common". What is interesting is the fact that this area changes its physical shape from the 1964 Time-Life map to the 1964-1965 Time Life map. It seems to widen in the latter map. (Strange)
The question I have is why was this area paved in 1964 with nothing on the site?
There is also a paved (cement?) nearly circular area in the River Commons area (called a Bandshell) which I originally thought was the location.
Interestingly, the area does not show up in the 1964 Time-Life map, but does show up in the 1964-1965 Time-Life map as an area with two access roads.
(Changes from 1964 to 1965:
Bill: It seems an area in the River Commons area was paved for the 1965 season. Also, a larger area was paved in an area called "Parade Ground" behind the Pavilion of American Interiors. The Time-Life maps show the changes and I'm looking for some aerial shots to confirm. I'm not sure if you want to include this in your "Changes During the Fair" topic on your website).