Chicago Tribune May 28, 1933
CHICAGO’S FAIR IS RESULT OF 10 YEARS’ EFFORT
Centennial Celebration Suggested in 1923.
Ten years ago the first suggestion was made that Chicago celebrate its centennial in 1933 when Capt. Myron E. Adams, minister and social service worker suggested to the mayor, the late William E. Dever. that the city make some sort of official recognition of the hundredth anniversary of its birth. The date of this suggestion was Aug. 17. 1923. Capt. Adams died in 1930.
Admittedly the first step toward a World’s Fair, the Adams Plan, however, did not become A Century of Progress Exposition. Mayor Dever appointed a committee of citizens, and some slight progress was made in the succeeding four years, consisting mostly of of the project by civic organizations and the city council. But so lukewarm was the support that in August. 1927. the committee reported that no enthusiasm for a fair could be found.
Dawes Elected President.
For the next few months the plan languished. There was almost no zeal for any sort of celebration until on Dec. 13, 1927, Charles S. Peterson named chairman of a new World’s Fair committee. One week later this group met at the Chicago Athluic association. Rufus C. Dawes Was elected president of ‘Chicago’s Second World’s Fair Centennial Celebration,” and at last the wheels began to turn.
Mr. Peterson was elected president and Daniel H. Burnham secretary. On Jan. 3, 1928, application Was made for a charter from the state. Two days later the application was granted and on Jan. 9 the first meeting of the board of trustees was held
Still dissatisfied with the name of their project, the trustees changed it to “Chicago World’s Fair Centennial Celebration” and it remained this for almost a year and a half while more important matters. such as the building of a solid financial structure, were being cared for. On June 28, 1929. the name “A Century of Progress” became the official title.
A Job for Chicago Alone.
In the meantime, unlike other great expositions which preceded it, the World’s Fair was progressing purely as a task to which Chicago. and Chicago alone, had set itself. No outside heip was asked. This was the dec!slon of the trustees from the first—they would ask no subsidies from nation, state or city.
“In so far as an exposition of this kind is an expression of the pride of the city,” ran the reasoning, the citizens ought to pay for it; and in so far as the interests of industry are served, industry ought to pay for it.”
So. in April, 1928, the public was invited to join a legion of World’s Fair supporters, each subscribe to donate $5 to be exchanged for ten admissions of the Fair. Principal and Interest gathered from this appeal reached a total of $634,042.
The opportunity to become members at $1.000 each or sustaining at $50 each yielded another $272,200 from the public. Then came a $10,000,000 issue of gold notes backed first by 40 per cent of the gate receipts and second by the guaranty of a group of citizens who obligated themselves to the amount of their guaranties. These assurances placed $12,176,000 behind the $10,000,000 issue.
Since money was now on hand, the physical work could go ahead. About three years ago, on May 9, 1930, the first contract for a building—the Administration building—was let and soon its radical architecture contrasted with the classic lines of Its neighbor, the Field museum.
Next, a structure of equally vivid style, the Travel and Transport build-ing, began to rear its bulk a few miles to the south. Then came the stockade and rude log towers of Fort Dearborn, the spires and high planes of the Hall of Science, and the Electrical group.
FIVE DESIGNS FOR CHICAGO’S CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF 1933, by as many members of the architectural commission, setting forth the authors’ conceptions of the lines on which the general plan should be developed.
In the plan above, by Raymond M. Hood, diverse elements are arranged around two basins, with a dominant tower placed off center. It is a composition leading to intimate scale in the major elements and individuality in the buildings.
Varied formal elements grouped about a central tower opposite Twenty-third street from the pattern of this plan by Hubert Burnham of Chicago.
Highly organized arrangement about a central basin terminated by a great tower, which radiates structures like spokes of a giant wheel, characterizes this plan by Harvey Wiley Corbett of New York, chairman of the architectural commission.
A central element of water, expressed by a great basin, and a surrounding display of decorative elements; this plan, submitted by Edward H. Bennett of Chicago, is dominated by a tower on the main axis, rising from an island opposite Twenty-third street
Formal gardens frame the central basin of this composition by Arthur Brown Jr. of San Francisco. A great tower, as in all of the plans, predominates.