Century of Progress Exposition

The Century of Progress Exposition was held from May 27 to November 1, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois. It was the second World Fair to be held in Chicago, the first being the World`s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

The interest of a considerable part of the civilized world was focused upon 424 acres of land that lie along the shore of Lake Michigan, edging Chicago. The Fair ran for a second season, which was from May 26 to October 31, 1934. Total attendance at the 1934 fair was 16,304,906, compared with the 1933 attendance of 22,565,859. The attendance for the last day, Halloween, was a record 362,553 up to midnight.

The Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, with jagged edges and bold colors, invited visitors to take a peek at the future. Inspired by the skyscrapers of New York, the exposition buildings housed technology and machines that demonstrated what Americans could expect on the other side of the Great Depression. The Exposition proclaimed that life would be smooth and easy, and the technology to make it so would be accessible to everyone.

Not everyone was enthralled. Robert Morss Lovett drew comparisons with the ^Columbian Exposition" of 1893 and the undiluted boosterism in support of technology and mass entertainment. He wrote in the magazine Current History in 1934 that:

The enormous irony of the Century of Progress was to be appreciated in the unescapable [sic] contrast between the combination of natural beauty of lake, island, lagoons, with lavish architectural decoration and brilliant illumination, against the imposing skyline of the city`s facade and the sordid background of civic life in which official corruption was never more arrogant nor human misery more appalling.

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