Sunday, November 7, 2010

Key to City of Chicago, 1934, Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress

Today's random item plucked from the obscurity of my attic is a cast iron key painted gold from the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair: "A Century of Progress".

Key to Chicago, 1934, Chicago's World's Fair: A Century of Progress

I presume my great-grandparent's picked it up while strolling around the fair grounds which were sprawled out across a new parkland created along the Lake Michigan shoreline between 12th and 39th streets, on a 427 acre portion of Burnham Park.  The Century of Progress opened on May 27, 1933 and the fair was kicked off when the lights were automatically activated from the rays of the star Arcturus.  This is sounding like science fiction and you are thinking that Whitny, waxing nostalgic is just making things up,  but actually the star was chosen as itt had started its journey at about the time of the previous Chicago world's fair—the World's Columbian Exposition—in 1893. 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, thus illuminating the exposition.

I found these cool posters from the exposition on-line that sort of give you an idea of what the fair itself was meant to look like...

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