Chicago Tribune May 28, 1933
BY JAMES O’DONNELL BENNETT.
The seventh great World’s Fair in the history of the United States was brilliantly and auspiciously opened yesterday by happy throngs and with brilLant ceremonial that lasted from 10 o clock in the morning until midnight.
Unofficial estimates set the opening day s attendance at between 150,000 and 200,000.
The miraculous moment came at 9:15 o’clock last night when the subtle power of a beam of light which forty years ago started from the star Arcturus was caught up [as told In a neighboring column by Mr. Kinsley] and transmitted in vastly augmented volume to the delicate lighting mechanism in the tower of the Exposition’s Hall of Science.
Instantly upon that contact the grounds, the pavilions and the water-ways of the Falr were drenched with light. Thousands of awed beholders bad been standing In reverent expectancy of the miracle now broke into cheers.
A Flood of Music.
The jubilation blended into the harmon1cs of the national anthem.
Bands, bells, choruses, and a symphony orchestra filled plazas, promenades and palaces with music.
Far flung lights swayed over the multitude. Thunder of cannon, swish of rockets, and dipping of flags proclaimed the miracle.
Men and women looked Into one another’s eyes, and many an eye was dim with tears.
One of the great moments of a lifetime had been lived: one of the most audacious of the victories of science had been achieved.
Star had spoken unto star from the far reaches of infinity. Mortal man was standing with bared head to receive the benediction of another planet.
Thanksgiving for Miracle.
“What God bath wrought!” murmured George Craig Stewart, bishop of the Protestant Episcopal diocese of our city by the sea of sweet water. and he laid his hand upon the silver chain that crossed his breast.
It was his prayer of thanksgiving for the miracle, and the governmental dignitaries standing near him softly echoed his words.
Never before in the history of the race had such a thing happened. It was new history. It made history.
Blazing Banners in Sky.
In lights and In blazing banners and bouquets a sky note on this his- episode was written against the heavy clouds that overhung Chicago.
The pyrotechnicians on the lake shore bent to their batteries. Salvos not of sound alone but of radiant color swept through the darkness.
The electricians In the towers flung open all, their switches. What had been fountains of water in the became regal fountains of purple and gold. Fountains of color in the sky signaled back to them.
Streams of flame cut across the heavens. Pillars of fire climbed to the clouds.
Searchlights swung their long white arms afar and touched with unearthly beauty our summertime city of dreams come true.
And music caught up the and the miracle and cast over the scen)e the spell of another witchery.
Spirit of the Exposition.
From first to last the ever memorable day was crowded with resplendent pageantry. good speeches and eloquent prayer.
The bishop’s dedicatory prayer at noontime was, indeed, the best speech of the ceremonies.
The second of Its solemn phrases of thanksgiving conveyed in seventy-five words the whole spirit of a vast Exposition called A Century of Progress: and built to commemorate and illustrate Chicago’s advance in and contribution to art, science, industry and invention during the hundred years, since it received its town charter.
In full-bodied volume the words floated out to forty thousand people assembled at noon In Soldiers’ field, the stadium that overlooks the World’s Fair grounds:
And more especially do we thank Thee for Thy gifts of grace to the sons of men in the last one hundred years; for the mysteries of Thy divine power revealed to the seeking scientist; for the in- of Thy spirit vouchsafed to prophets, and painters, and poets; for the courage and skill upon explorers and ad- venturers by water, and land, and in the air, and for the new masteries bestowed upon industry.
Chicago Tribune, January 2, 1932
Official poster of Century of Progress, which was designed by George B. Petty, 2609 Coyle avenue. Miss Chicago, with the city’s motto, “I Will,” on her head, invites the world to the exposition. The indian recalls the Chicago of 1833.
“World’s Fair Weather.”
The day dawned in glorious sunrise and was touched with soft breezes: the kind of weather we veterans of the World’s Columbian Exposition of ’93 used to call “World’s Fair weather,” and that those who beheld Victoria’s jubilee of ’97 called “queen’s weather.”
Later in the day the sky was heavily overcast. but there was no storm to dampen the gala spirit of the dedication.
The setting of the ceremonies that brought Postmaster General Farley, Gov. Horner, Mayor Kelly, and Rufus Dawes. president of the Fair, on the scene as spokesmen for the nation and for Chicago was the stadium’s ponderous Doric ramparts and colonnades on the east and the west; on the north the graceful Ionic of that treasure house of cosmos, the Field museum, and on the south the blue and white bell tower of the Exposition’s Hall of Science.
“A Congress of Nations.”
From 10:30 o clock until noon the stadium’s bowl of lawns and encircling driveway is filling with a congress of nations that marches in from Michigan avenue and the lake front to a roar of jubilation.
The clamor of welcome is a medley of cheers of the people, throb of drums, thudding of cannon on the ground and of holiday bombs dropped from airplanes far aloft, and, as they fall, exploding and then flinging out into the sunshine hundreds of flags.
They come, they come!-bronze men from the western plains of the United States in the wild beauty of ancient tribal costumes, and from the glamorous Levant come men in costumes of which the fashion was old when the western world was civilization s unborn child.
Men In Scotch kilts stride by the reviewing stand to the swirl of bagpipes.
Black-shirted Italian marchers give Furley and Horner and Kelly and Dawes and the bishop long armed Vasrcist salutes.
Inscrutable Ukrainians in tall Astra khan caps pass.
Swedish groups, Norwegian, Greek, Spanish, Belgian-but to name them all would make but a tedious catalog.
The point is that Chicago’s foreign born children and citizens turned out for Chicago’s glory with utmost good will and in delightful picturesqueness.
It is a point that ought early to be emphasized In the record of the day, for it signifies loyalties very precious to a community which, one hundred years ago, numbered about 250 Yankees, Indians. and and which today is a world metropolis with a population of 3½ millions drawn from the wide, wide world.
Troops Pour Into Field.
Now troops are pouring down the ramps that lead from the north into Soldiers’ field.
All branches of the service are coming; the cannoneers with high folded arms and eyes gazing straight ahead; cavalrymen who in soft but deep chested and with wrists of steel teach hysterical horses to mind their manners on parade—some of that impromptu taming did your heart good. so composed and alert were the men-and the operators of rumbling anti-aircraft guns, and ambulance corns, and infantrymen who marched with the precision of clocks, the strength of oxen and the lightness of acrobats.
It made one choke up. It meant so much. It meant the power, the splendor and the readiness of the republic.
Crowd Cheers the Flag.
The people cheer and stand up when the starry banners of their heart s allegiance sweep by, tossing and triumphing in the sunshine and the breeze of “World’s Fair weather.”
Great Lakes’ band, one of the best in the service, plays its way down the ramps and into the exultant picture. It is playing its farewell tune to Chicago because soon the naval station is to be closed as a federal economy measure.
The people learn this regretfully and wave a fond good-by to this fine band. It will be missed.
Behold now Chicagoland’s nestors and its youths. Here bent men of the Army of the Republic and yonder high stepping lads from military schools-Culver, Morgan Park, and St. Johns, and swarms of manly Boy Scouts.
The lads pass. Negro veterans pass and are heartily cheered. It is a proud, happy, cordial multitude, pleased and eager to bestow pleasure.
Cheer Greets the Queen.
A cheer different from all the other cheers goes up and, amid much hand clapping and handkerchief waving, It finally articulates the words:
“Here comes the queen!”
Five huge auto floats, richly draped and canopied with silks and velvets of strawberry red, glide down the ramps. They are as big as theater stages. On them, with all the composure of con- scious pulchritude, sit the queen of the Fair and her fifty ladies of honor, chosen In a competition conducted by The Chicago Tribune and fifteen affiliated American newspapers.
Be assured, brethren, these girls make as easy an eyeful as ever you took.
The dignitaries rise suavely and salute them. The whole assemblage rises and salutes.
The queen, golden haired, violet eyed Lillian Anderson of Racine, Wis., with disarming smiles; not routine smiles yet, but glad end girlish.
She is dressed in ivory satin with Elizabethan collar, and yards upon yards of purple velvet train. She holds a scepter glittering with pearls and rhinestones,
Court Costumed In Ivory Silk.
Her maids of honor wear costumes in Ivory silk and broad brimmed, latticed hats-broad as Gainsborough strawberry red that blends with the swaying draperies of the cars.
The picture they make is charming. “Well done, Tribune ” shouts the throng, and “Welcome, Queen!”
Yes, it was well done, and it gave a wholly unduplicated color and prettiness to the day.
Queen carries two gold Miledals. In an hour she is to deliver them to President Dawes, who, on behalf of the Exposition, will entrust them to Postmaster General Farley- one for Farley himself, who represents our busy Franklin Roosevelt, and one for the President himself as mementoes of the great day that one saw and one did not.
Notables Are Assembled.
Noon is near. The speakers’ platform at the north end of the field iS now crowded with the notables and with those who hope to be.
They are crowned with steaming high hats and cramped-most of them -with uneasy self.
See stalwart Parley-no self-consciousness about him-and smiling, substantial Henry Horner, not now be- traying the gubernatorial gloom that envelops him in Springfield when certain legislators go on the predatory rampage.
And curly haired Mayor Kelly with a pink carnation In his buttonhole and righteous battle in his soul, and lean, solIcitous, patient Rufus Dawes- Charlie’s ” My Brother Rufe “-who can wear a frock coat with more aplomb than any other notable in Chicagoland, is frequently glancing at his watch.
And intent Bishop Stewart of the velvet glove and the firm list a touch of the prelate’s purple below his white Roman collar.
The Speaking Begins.
Speaking begins. First the dedicatory prayer by Bishop Stewart. It rolls forth in the superb harmonies which he learned from that masterpiece of English style, the Book of Common Prayer.
The prelate s voice carries far in phrases at once stately and fervent.
To Thee we give hearty thanks for all those prophets and pioneers of the past who, scornful of loveliness and the contempt of men, have been the choice vessels of Thy grace and the lights of the world in their several generations and Into whose rich heritage we their sons and daughters have entered.
Bless this great city of our pride and love, and make It a worthy host to all our visitors. Deliver this city and all our cities from the cunning of selfish politicians. the rapacity of extortioners, from the vice that Is bred by poverty, and the crime that flour- ishes on greed.
And this for the toilers:
Bless this enterprise and all the workmen who have shared In its cre- ation, and all who shall serve within its walls.
Thousands Join in Prayer.
The consecration ended with the Lord’s Prayer, which was murmured by thousands amid a silence suddenly emptied of all worldly sounds. How the stage managers signaled silence- It they did-to In the air and on the ground I know not. But silence there was until the words came, “For thine Is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,” and-exquisite touch-they were accompanied by the music of chimes in the Exposition’s towers. Again you wanted to cry-It was so beautiful, so solemn, so worshipful.
Dawes Sounds Keynote.
Now Dawes is speaking-black lines of weariness under his eyes, but his voice strong.
“Rejoice!” he shouts.
“The day has come for which we have prepared so long. We could not let this year pass without recalling the problems and rejoicing over the victories of other days.”
That is his keynote-joy and thanksgiving for the past, joy and hope for the future.
“This we do,” he says, “to honor our fathers and to instruct our sons.”
Good, stalwart thoughts all the way through and the whole address tact- fully brief.
Mayor Kelly follows.
He calls Chicago “the welcoming haven of all the of the world,” and, turning to Dawes and his fellow of the Fair, he says:
You, sirs, have made it possible for Chicago, the infant the great cities of the world, to be, for the next five months, the educator and champion host of the world.
Cheers for that.
Horner Traces City’s Progress.
Then Gov. Horner, voice clear as a bell In the delivery of an oration that is largely a vivid historical survey from the time of our first visitor, whom he apostrophizes as “the gentle and saintly Marquette,” to this hour of Chicago’s second World’s Fair.
‘Tis a spacious speech that culminates on this daring rhetorical flight.
“Forty years ago the shimmering glory of the Court of Honor dragged down the angels to witness it in envy. A Century of Progress Exposition will reveal to all of us how mortals, by their own imagination, mechanical and artistic, have been lifted to the skies.”
Farley Speaks for President.
Burly Farley rises to speak for the President of the United States.
“No mere municipal affair.” says he, “is this Exposition. but typical of a century of progress of the nation.”
Prolonged hand clapping and cheering.
And later these keynotes:
“As a business man, as well as a politician—for in my survey of the business of government I assume that a politician is a freshman in the college of statesmanship-I welcome our visitors with their goods and the examples of their accomplishments in science, art, and trade.
“If they can do anything better than we can do It. more power to them, It we can surpass them in any field, we are proud of that superiority and hope it will lead to a larger im- portation of the better product by the national customers who are here to learn where we can teach them and to teach where we can profit by their lessons.
Plea for Understanding.
“The better peoples are acquainted the less likely are they to fall out of friendship.
“In short, A Century of Progress celebration tends to substitute healthy rivalry among nations for destructive jealousy.”
The postmaster general makes tender and fitting reference to “the martyred mayor” whom Franklin Roosevelt loved and trusted, and, explaining the President’s absence, he calls him “the busiest man on earth.”
He fires an epigram with “Good customers are good neighbors,” and closes by delivering the President’s message to city, nation, and Exposition, which Is printed in full elsewhere in this issue of The Tribune.
Pageantry and MusIc Again.
The speaking ends. Pageantry and music resume.
Massed bands and multitude are led in the national anthem by James Petrillo, president of the Chicago Federation of Musicians, Mme. Cyrena Van Gordon superbly releasing the solo flights.
Daughter Lillian of Racine and two of her maids of honor-Lorraine Nevens of Evanston and Ruth Hardie of Chicago-deliver to Dawes those two gold medals which Farley is to carry to Washington, and the assemblage scatters to view pleasures and palaces.
Long, broad vistas of crimson and yellow banners extending from the Shedd aquarium to the Hall of Sci. ence receive them. Flags flaunting like gigantic bouquets that have burst from their vases envelop them. Co- statues in white and in color sentinel them.
More Wonders of Fair.
A banana plantation that was set out over night captivates them. The effigy of “the Transparent Man” In the Hall of Science shows them the workings of their tired insides. Silver domes on lofty towers, catching the fitful play of sunlight and of cloud, revolve for them.
Long white, open buses, gliding like yachts through the grounds, and slim gondolas floating under red sashed man power on sparkling lagoons, and chairs pushed by men for a dollar an hour are at their command. Exposi. tion police, looking like British grenadiers in their scarlet tunics and white helmets, direct their weary but persistent footsteps, the revolvers on the left hip scaring nobody.
It’s s Great Spectacle.
People looking down on the gay and gracious scene from the towers of the Sky Ride, 628 feet aloft, pronounce it all good-good-good; great-great- great.
It has been an entrancing day of tossing plumes, of flashing sabers, of the hot glitter of steel helmets, of bemedaled soldiery, of a city with flags, of stately but not tedious ceremonial, of plashing fountains, of cannon pounding the sky, of moving smoothly, and of happy throngs.
“But. O, so tired,” the people sigh -“so tired!”
And home to bed beneath a sky still aglow with the glory of a hundred years of the onward, upward march of man.
The Black Horse troop of Culver Military academy in the parade yesterday which opened the Fair. The troop acted as official escort for Miss Lillian Anderson, the queen, and members of her court of honor, who rode on decorated floats.