Century of Progress


A Century of Progress 1933-34

A Century of Progress was unique in that it was financed through sources other than government subsidies. (However, the federal government did appropriate $1,725,000 to erect its own building at the fair.) This is especially admirable considering that the fair was held during the depth of the Depression. In the early planning stages, $171,400 was raised by the sale of Founder and Sustaining Memberships, at $1,000 and $50, respectively. A further $637,754 was raised in the sale of Legion Memberships to the general public. For five dollars, one could purchase a certificate of membership, which could be exchanged for ten admissions once the fair opened. This program also had the valuable function of publicizing the upcoming fair.

Free beer day at the fair.

Free beer day at the fair.

A $10 million bond issue of Gold Notes was authorized by the Century of Progress Board of Trustees on October 28, 1929, the day before "Black Tuesday," the stock market crash that marked the beginning of the Depression. It is a tribute to the determination of those involved that subscriptions were received totaling $7,522,700 from guarantors and others. During the fair's construction, $2,581,400 worth of notes were taken by contractors and suppliers. November 11, 1933, the closing date of the first year of the fair, found half of these notes paid, and within a month of the fair's final closing on October 31, 1934, all remaining notes were retired.

A season ticket allowing Henry Denbufsky to visit the fair up to 50 times.

A season ticket allowing Henry Denbufsky
to visit the fair up to 50 times.
(CHS Century of Progress Collection)





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