Friday, March 14, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (11)

Americans have always been going to the fairs or either talking about them. Here are the major fairs that have been celebrated in the United States.

In 1853 the "Crystal Palace,"was held in New York's Reservoir Square (now Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue at 42nd street). It covered an area of 13 acres, cost $640,000, and 1 1/4 million people attended.

Then there was Philadelphia's "Centennial Exposition," in 1876 celebrating the nation's 100th birthday. This Exposition had 167 buildings and 30,000 exhibits on 236 acres and cost almost $9 million, attracting 8 million people.

1893: Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition belatedly celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. The fair itself was called the "White City" because of its white, classical buildings and because its 686 acres of displays were electrically lighted at night.

In 1901 there was the Buffalo's "Pan-American Exposition" which attracted 9 million visitors to its "Landscaped City." This Exposition featured a 375-foot electric tower studded with lamps and searchlights and topped with its famous "goddess of light" statue, all power courtesy of Niagara Falls. Sadly, President McKinley was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz while attending a reception at the Fair's Temple of Music.

St. Louis' "Louisiana Purchase Exposition" took place in 1904. It was the 100th anniversary celebration of the Louisiana Purchase and cost $15 million. Its 1,240 acres was the largest of any World's fair. Its most attractive features were the gardens, promenades and fountains. There were almost 13 million visitors that were in awe about the 100 automobiles displayed and eating their first ice cream cone.

In 1915 there was San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition and San Diego's more regional Panama-California Exposition which celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal.

1933 was Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. This was Chicago's 100th anniversary. Here was the first demonstration of television as well as the buildings were air-conditioned.

Let's not forget New York World's Fair in 1939-1940, with its 728-foot, tapering Trylon and the 180-foot diameter "Perisphere," General Electric's "television Studio and many more.

In 1962 Seattle's Century 21 Exposition was symbolized by its 607-foot steel Space Needle with a revolving, glass restaurant on top. The monorail was popularized here.

As for the 1964-65 New York's World Fair,I highly, recommend these websites for some further information about the World's Fair. NYWF64 has a exhaustive description of almost every pavilion and Jeffrey Stanton also has an excellent site about it as well..


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