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Houston World's Fair 1956

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Dr. Walter W. Kemmerer, founder of the University of Houston and executive director, announced plans for a 1956 World's Fair in Houston Texas in September 1953. The fair was to be centered on a 935 acre site ajoining the San Jacinto State Park on the Houston/Glaveston ship channel. He predicted it would grow to1400 acres and cost about $100,000,000. They hoped that many of the structures would be permanent and turned into museums. The project was discussed at the State Department with Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles with a favorable response. Many exhibits would deal with the native petroleum industry along with petro-chemical and agriculture. Other phases of international culture would not be ignored. They expected to break ground for an administration building by the end of the year. The idea was dropped in 1955 for lack of funds and interest. I have a collection of newspaper clippings on fairs that never came about, and from time to time I will be adding to this forum

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Please add those when you can, those would be great additions! I have seen a guide for a mid fifties exposition that took place on Chicago's Navy Pier, but I can't remember for the life of me what it was called. I love how the board now focuses on dropped and proposed Expositions! Ghost Expositions if you will.

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Sounds like Houston was trying to steal some of Tulsa's thunder.

Known as "The Oil Capital of the World" until the rich fields of the Middle East were discovered and developed-- Tulsa was one enormously lucrative pool of Black Gold for the first few decades of the 20th century. And periodically from 1923 until the oil bust of the 70's-- it played host to an enormous annual event known as THE INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM EXPOSITION. Calvin Coolidge even flipped a switch in the White House in 1927 that sent up a simulated gusher at the heart of the fairgrounds.


Spreading out for acres beneath the watchful eye of its 76 foot tall mascot known affectionately as "The Golden Driller," the I.P.E. was a World's Fair put on by the world's wealthiest oil companies (Phillips, Getty, Skelly, were all Tulsa residents at one time). There were all kinds of bizarre oil business related Pavilions. And at its peak-- the I.P.E. regularly welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors.






While the entire space has long since been reconfigured for use as the Tulsa State Fairgrounds-- The Golden Driller still leans on his derrick to this day (probably snickering under his breath over Houston's failed attempt at a fair). :D

The Golden Driller - Wikipedia

International Petroleum Exposition - OSU Library Site

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