Welcome to the Fairs, part 1

Chicago’s A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-1934) was the first American world’s fair that intentionally turned its back on the nostalgia of earlier fairs, and resolutely looked to the future—both in its architecture and its theme.  Despite their Beaux-Arts training, many of the fair’s architects considered themselves modernists and realized designs that featured planar facades; embraced the novel skyscraper form; and experimented with new building materials and construction practices.

Statistics about A Century of Progress:

Avenue of Flags, Chicago

Avenue of Flags postcard, Chicago, c. 1933. National Building Museum purchase.

  • City: Chicago, Illinois
  • Dates:  May 17 – November 1, 1933; June 1 – November 1, 1934
  • Admission fee: adults 50 cents, children 25 cents
  • Size: 424 acres on the mainland and Northerly Island along the shore of Lake Michigan
  • Attendance: estimated between 39 million and 48.8 million
  • Theme: Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms

“You have been brought into contact with something altogether new….  If you are like most of us, you will wonder if the future is to look like this, and, if it does, what your place is to be in it.” 
Century of Progress Official Book of Views

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