Century of Progress

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A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair 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" and its architectural symbol was the Sky Ride, a transporter bridge perpendicular to the shore on which one could ride from one side of the fair to the other.

Contents

History

A Century of Progress was organized as an Illinois nonprofit corporation in January, 1928 for the purpose of planning and hosting a World's Fair in Chicago in 1934. The site selected was new parkland being created along the Lake Michigan shoreline between 12th and 39th streets. Held on a 427 acre (1.7 km²) portion of Burnham Park the Century of Progress opened on May 27, 1933.[1] The fair was opened when the lights were automatically activated when light from the rays of the star Arcturus was detected. The star was chosen as its light had started its journey at about the time of the previous Chicago world's fair—the World's Columbian Exposition—in 1893.[2] The rays were focused on photo-electric cells in a series of astronomical observatories and then transformed into electrical energy which was transmitted to Chicago.

Exhibits

The fair buildings were multi-colored, to create a "Rainbow City" as opposed to the "White City" of the World's Columbian Exposition. The buildings generally had a Moderne design to them in contrast to the neoclassical themes used at the 1893 fair. One of the more famous aspects of the fair were the performances of fan dancer Sally Rand. Other popular exhibits were the various auto manufacturers, the Midway (filled with nightclubs such as the Old Morocco, where future stars Judy Garland, The Cook Family Singers, and The Andrews Sisters performed), and a recreation of important scenes from Chicago's history. The fair also contained exhibits that would seem shocking to modern audiences, including offensive portrayals of African-Americans, a "Midget City" complete with "sixty Lilliputians",[3] and an exhibition of incubators containing real babies,[4]

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