Chicago World’s Fair: Century of progress

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

One of the highlights of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the Firestone Singing Color Fountain.

The description on the back of the card reads: “Beneath the misty fountain domes is a battery of colored lights. As the music fills the garden, the varying sound wave lengths come in contact with a delicate mechanism, which connects the colored lights. The result is an ever-changing array of beautiful color combinations, playing upon the fountains in perfect harmony with the music. The Firestone multi-color shadow sign is constructed of shadow planes behind which are thousands of incandescent bulbs, reflecting an ever-changing combination of beautiful pastel shades of blue, green, orange and yellow.”

The fair, entitled, “A Century of Progress” was designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chicago. The Firestone exhibit was just one of a number of huge, corporate exhibits that appealed to the public in general, often with miniaturized or replicated processes used in their giant factories.

Firestone was one such company with a huge exhibit that allowed patrons to see actual Firestone tires being made. Another was General Motors, whose 454-foot long show building was staffed by actual GM autoworkers who assembled real vehicles for the throngs of fairgoers who visited daily. The fair was held on roughly 400 acres of landfill on the Lake Michigan shore just south of downtown, between 12th Street and Pershing Road.

Today, Meigs Field and McCormick Place occupy this site. A Century of Progress officially opened on May 27, 1933 and closed on November 12th of that year. Although originally planned for the 1933-season only, it was held over for another year, reopening May 26, 1934, and closing on October 31st.

This extension was due in part to the fair’s public popularity, but mainly as an effort to earn sufficient income to retire its debts.

Comments are closed.

  • Sharp Building stood downtown

    May 15th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s postcard, published by the South West News Company of Kansas City, Mo., features a Real […]

    Swope Park – a home to exotic animals

    May 8th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “An idea to create the largest zoological garden in the United States. There will be nothing […]

    Remembering stock yards’ glory days

    May 1st, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News About two years after the opening of the “new” Hannibal Bridge over the Missouri River, Kansas […]

    The Golden Age of air travel

    April 24th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Providing the very finest in airline service between major cities from coast to coast, this newest […]

    The wild waters of pre-levee Kansas City

    April 17th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Published by the North American Postcard Company of Kansas City, Mo., this week’s card is a […]

  • The glory days of the Blue River

    April 10th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The North American Postcard Company of Kansas City, Mo., published this Real Photo postcard, showing the […]

    The original Kansas City Hummer vehicle

    April 3rd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When you think of a Hummer these days the first thing to come to mind is […]

    Pastoral scene belies bloody history

    March 27th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Mention the town Trading Post, Kan., and you’ll more than likely get blank stares from whoever […]

    The Old Watts Mill

    March 20th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News You might visit the area around 103rd Street and State Line Road if you were interested […]

    Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

    March 13th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News During the early days of the 20th century, Kansas City’s Black population enjoyed only limited access […]

  • What’s Happening

    Remember This? Petticoat Lane

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Downtown shoppers, hang on to your petticoats! At the turn of the 20th Century, when ladies […]


    New data takes deep-dive into state of KCPS and charter schools to improve educational ecosystem for all students

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Kansas City Public School District presented an analysis of the entire educational system in Kansas City, […]