Century of Progress


A Century of Progress 1933-34

Predecessors of the Thorne rooms (miniatures created by Narcissa Niblack Thorne) now on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago were exhibited at A Century of Progress. The Art Institute presented art exhibitions in conjunction with the fair. In 1933, an exhibition entitled A Century of Progress in American Collecting drew from works in private collections. In 1934, American Art exhibited American works borrowed from European collections. Three million visitors viewed the exhibitions.

Crowds in the exhibit area of the fair.

Crowds in the exhibit area of the fair.

Although three buildings were temporarily left intact after the fair's demolition (the Administration Building, the Fort Dearborn replica, and the golden Temple of Jehon), today, Balbo's Column is the only structure remaining on its original site. This column, a gift of the Italian government, was removed form the ruins of a Roman temple in Ostia. It commemorates General Balbo's trans-Atlantic flight to Chicago in 1933, and still stands, opposite Soldier Field at 1600 South Lake Shore Drive.

Wooden figure with movable legs.  An inscription on the back reads Wooden figure with movable legs. An inscription on the back reads "World's Fair/Chicago 1933/Czechoslovak Exhibit." (CHS 1984.274.2)

A Century of Progress took place in a "golden age" of world's fairs. The grand total of attendance for the two years was 48,769,227. In our time of instant communication, their popularity is waning. Chicago pulled out of a bid to host a world's fair in 1992, which would have marked the 100th anniversary of The Columbian Exposition--all the more reason to reflect on the marvel that was A Century of Progress.





Al Capone
Black Sox
Century of Progress
COP Photo Gallery
COP Artifacts
COP Bibliography
Chicago Fire
World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protests and Politics
The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn

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