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Bill Cotter

1968 heliport on the former USSR site

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When the USSR Pavilion was taken down and transported back to the Soviet Union it left a sizable hole in the Expo footprint. It appears that they couldn't get the place squared away for the 1968 season of "Man and His World", so part of the structure was still standing when the gates opened. The area was left derelict for the year, with helicopter tours based on the concrete structure. Here are a few looks at the area.

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Former USSR site seen from Man the Provider

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Helicopter approaching temporary heliport

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Bill, thanks for posting these photos. I didn't know Yugoslavia was removed for 1968 but it makes sense since the two other former Eastern Bloc countries vacated that same year.

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A bit of trivia on the Yugoslavia pavilion : The ship that was carrying the structure back to Yugoslavia caught a nasty storm near Newfoundland. It was the fishermans of Newfoundland that helped the ship and brought it safely into port. As a thank you gesture, the Yugoslavia government gave the building to Newfoundland. This is why it ended up there and it's still there today, has a seaman's museum. :

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Roger

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Amazing story. That building really is in a 1960's time warp.

PS: What is with the Soviets removing their pavilions and taking them home? They did it in 1937, 1939 and 1967 and maybe other times as well. I don't suspect they were just ahead of the recycling curve on this. I would guess it had much to do with keeping everything to themselves and not letting anybody else have a scrap of their resources or ideas. It would be a sort of cold war paranoia. I recall this site had some images of the 1967 pavilion as it now looks in Moscow and the locals refer to the building as "Montreal." In any event, it certainly did leave one big empty as the site was cleared. I still remember that great Expo magazine advertisement in 1966: "Look what the Soviets are building just fifty miles from the US border. As an American, you should look into it." And there it was in 1967, a massive Soviet pavilion squaring off against the huge US dome much as they stared down the German pavilion in 1937. What an incredible moment in time.

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Most of the old Russian pavilion, including the Montréal one are part of a huge trade center called the All Russian Exhibition Center, located in Moscow. From the beginning, it was planned to build the Expo 67 building for the trade center and has such, it was conceive to be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere. This way, cost could be kept down since the building was reused but it also meant that they were limited in the building design which sort of bug the architect of the pavilion.

The other pavilions were not all rebuilt - most are partial reconstruction. It has more to do with being cost effective than cold war issues - especially if you take in account that if they left the building in the host countries, it would have been good propaganda!

In this photo, you see in the background the 'Montreal' building and in front the sculpture that was located on top of the 1937 Paris pavilion :

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Roger

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Regarding former USSR pavilions being relocated after the fairs the were built for; I wonder what became of their pavilions from New York 1939-40, Brussels 1958 and Osaka Expo 70? I've seen a map of the All Russian Exhibition Center and I don't see any of them. The Brussels pavilion was a very non-descript rectangular glass hall so could easily blend in without being noticed but the towering Expo 70 pavilion that was designed to resemble an unfurling red flag would be hard to miss.

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One of my students spent last autumn in Moscow. I told him about the building known as Montreal and he found it. He told me that he found it rather amazing that he was standing in a building in which I had once stood although I had never been to Moscow.

And if the Brussel's and Osaka building are not in that park, it is even more curious what became of the 1939 Soviet pavilion. With that enormous tower and gigantic statue, it would be easy to identify.

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My guess is the NYWF 1939-40 pavilion was re-erected somewhere. It was dismantled between the 1939 and 1940 seasons and was a very substantial building.

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There's a good chance the steel in the 1939 building was melted down as part of the war effort. The Soviet Union had far greater worries right then than what to do with a used world's fair building.

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There are many photographs of it as it was dismantled. Basically, the Soviets were no longer welcome in NYC after signing the Non-Agression Pact with Germany in August of 1939 and then their invasion of Poland from the east in September and their invasion of Finland later that year. The USSR was expelled from the League of Nations in December of 1939.

I've often wondered what became of it.

Perhaps it was used for war purposes. It would have likely returned safely simply because they were not in full scale war until June of 1941 when Hitler invaded the USSR.

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