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.
To answer Randy's April 5th question about the phone and TV conduits after the fair. All of the underground cabling not required for the post fair park was sold for salvage, but the horizontal portions of conduit were left in place. Having just spent the last 3 days at the New York Public Library pouring over thousands of pages of the demolition files of the Fair Corporation, contrary to popular belief fair officials did not just dig a big hole, dump everything in, cover it over and go home. You have to remember that many fair employees were former civil servants who took their jobs quite seriously. They also routinely relied on the opinions of outside consultants to assist them in determining what was salvageable and what its value was when disposing of these items. The records document how meticulous the Fair Corp's Engineering Department staff were in ensuring that the demolition and restoration of the park was carried out exactly as needed. This process started with the engineering staff issuing very detailed contract specs to demolition contractors during the bidding process which began while the fairs second season was in progress and then holding them accountable during the entire time they were on site after the fair closed. All of the Fair Corporations demolition contractors were required to post a performance bond and show proof of liability and workers compensation insurance as part of the contract process. The engineering staff also kept a close watch on the exhibitors demolition contractors as well. Oversight of all work was carried out by sending the engineering staff out on a regular basis to conduct inspections and file reports with the head of engineering for his review. The head of engineering in turn issued weekly summary reports to top fair officials on the progress of the demolition and restoration work and any major issues they ran into. If any contractors work was not performed according to their contract, the fair staff would write a letter to the contractor demanding they correct the noted deficiencies. If the deficiencies were not promptly corrected the fair staff would either hold up the contractors payments, file a claim for damages with their insurer or in some cases file suit through counsel. In fact, some of these insurance claims and lawsuits were the main reason the Fair Corporations business wasn't wound up until February of 1972. The fair staff and officials were also very mindful that their work was subject to Parks Department and City Council oversight. As such, they routinely consulted with city officials as questions arose to ensure that the work was being done according to government standards and in line with their expectations. Another surprising fact that I noted in my research is that the theft of salvage and new materials was a major problem after the fair. The Pinkerton security staff that patrolled the site was kept very busy keeping an eye on unauthorized persons stealing things off the job sites as well as the demo contractors theft of materials not covered under their contracts. In some cases this resulted in restoration work having to be redone a second time as it related to wiring and piping for the permanent improvements.
It was announced yesterday that President Obama has selected a site in Jackson Park in Chicago for his presidential library. It is estimated that construction will be completed by 2020. That parks's rich history just got even richer.