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.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Many teams played at Polo Grounds

    9 hours ago
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we continue our tour of baseball stadiums now long forgotten. The Polo Grounds was the […]


    Tiger Stadium in Detroit

    May 20th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher We continue our tour of iconic major league baseball stadiums that while not standing any longer, still […]


    Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY

    May 13th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, named for baseball’s founder Abner Doubleday, is our next stop as […]


    Barnstorming Baseballers play ball to benefit Mercy Hospital

    May 6th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher While there might not be live baseball due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at the House […]


    Ebbets Field in New York

    April 29th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Continuing our tour of old ballyards across the country— and the fact this is probably some of […]


  • Stars Park in St. Louis

    April 22nd, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we have a bit of a flashback in terms of long-forgotten ball yards.  We’re staying […]


    Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, MO

    April 15th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The description on the back of this chrome-style postcard reads, “Civic Center and Gateway Arch. Busch Memorial […]


    Catholic League Baseball

    April 8th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we visit the old Northeast ball yards just east of Montgomery Wards. Such was the […]


    Comiskey Park, Home of the White Sox

    March 31st, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Even though there are no baseball games being played right now, we’re continuing our tour of historic […]


    The Kansas City Aztecas

    March 25th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Mexican Immigrant and Mexican American Baseball Teams Grew Despite Racial Segregation. The 1940 Kansas City Azteca women’s […]


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.