Saturday, March 15, 2014

1939 New York World's Fair

Today I'm posting the last of my rare color slides from the 1939 New York World's Fair. The New Yorkiest Fair in the World! Until 1964.

The 1939 World's Fair seems to be mostly remembered for it's "Dawn of a New Day" theme (aka "The World of Tomorrow"). But it also corresponded with the 150th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration, which explains this enormous (60-foot tall) statue of the Nation's first President. Look at the tiny pipples around the base! The sculpture was by James Earle Fraser and John Quincy Ward, and it was made of plaster. It is beautifully done, but was destroyed at the end of the Fair.

This lovely photo looks across Fountain Lake toward the Florida pavilion - the largest of all the pavilions dedicated to a U.S. state. The souvenir guidebook said, "Florida's building, composed entirely of native materials, rises to a beautiful tower containing a carillon which rings out over the Fair grounds. In the evening the tower becomes a golden shaft surmounted by a crown of jewels with the word Florida in glowing letters". Zowie! There was also a huge talking statue of Ponce de Leon that invited you inside.

In the foreground we see a number of sculptures, including the sundial-styled "Time and Fates of Man" by Paul Manship (famous for his golden Prometheus at Rockefeller Center). Looming over all were the theme buildings - the 610-foot tall Trylon and 185-foot diameter Perisphere. You can see people entering (and exiting) the Perisphere, where they saw a huge model of "Democracity", a city of the future where more than a million people might someday live.

Just because I know you are curious, here's what it looked like inside the Perisphere! Pretty impressive. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the 1939 New York World's Fair!


Nanook said...


The stature of Our Prez #1 is most impressive. And the shot of the Florida pavilion is another beauty. Not to mention the sculptures and fountain. Heck - they're all images of great swellness.

Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

Great look inside the Perisphere! Excellent pics all around; the color and clarity are tremendous.

Melissa said...

Man, I miss the old future. These slides are heartbreakingly beautiful.

I desperately want to believe that that glorious Plaster Washington got into epic fistfights with Joe the Worker from the USSR Pavilion at night when all the guests went home. Sure, Joe had a good 19-foot advantage on the General, and stainless steel skin to boot, but you can't discount the home turf advantage.

Nanook said...

It's also kinda interesting the lack of crowds within the Perisphere. But those few brave souls who ventured within, are looking longingly into the future where men will no longer wear hats.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I wish I had lots more from this Fair!

Tom, I'm glad you liked these… just in case I didn't make it clear, the photo inside the Perisphere is a publicity picture, not one of mine.

Melissa, George could just wing one of his deadly silver dollars at Joe. Silver is like garlic or wolfsbane to Commies!

Nanook again, since that is a publicity shot, it might have been taken when the Fair wasn't officially open.

Chuck said...

Simply gorgeous! I wasn't aware New York had been colorized by 1939.

As always, thank you for sharing.