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In 1923 William E. Dever, the mayor of Chicago, received several suggestions from inhabitants of the city for a centenary celebration of the incorporation of Chicago in 1833. Members of the city council and chamber of commerce picked up these ideas and popularized them. On 8 April 1926 the city council held a meeting to discuss the planning of the celebrations and set up an organizational committee consisting of 100 members. In the meantime the idea had been launched of organizing a World's Fair on the occasion of this anniversary. At the same time the long-standing City Beautiful plan that had been developed by Daniel H. Burnham, the architect in chief of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, was due to be implemented in full at last and ensure major improvements in city planning. Daniel H. Burnham Jr. backed his father's ideas publicly in the press.

When the new mayor of Chicago, William H. Thompson, wanted to accede to protests from financial circles about this large-scale project in 1927 it turned out to be impossible to change the public's mind. Thompson therefore let the preparations go ahead and appointed Rufus C. Dawes, the manager of a Chicago building firm and brother of the American Vice-President, as president of the exposition and Lenox R. Lohr as its general manager in January 1928. Shortly afterwards subcommittees were formed for various tasks, for instance an architecture commission in which the key architects of Chicago were represented.

The theme of the Fair was developed in meetings between Dawes and the National Research Council (NRC), an organization that had been promoting cooperation between science and industry since 1916. Together with the people in charge of the fair, the NRC established the Science Advisory Committee (SAC) which was made up of 32 scientists and engineers and entrusted with drawing up concepts for the scientific/technical section of the fair. "The exposition dramatizes the achievements of mankind, made possible through the application of science to industry". These were the words with which Rufus C. Dawes characterized the key idea behind the fair which was officially named "A Century of Progress" as of June 1929. On 5 February 1929 President Hoover was authorized by the American Congress to invite the nations of the world to take part in the fair on behalf of the USA as soon as the exposition company had acquired capital of $5 million. One year later Hoover was able to invite the nations of the world to Chicago through diplomatic channels.

The Wall Street Crash followed by the Great Depression from October 1930 on seriously threatened the financing of the project but, on the other hand, this situation made it possible to draw upon cheap labour and lower material prices for the exposition and thus helped to boost the economy. The economic slump meant that new financing methods had to be found. Through bonds for erecting the large exhibition halls, rental and sale of space to countries, organizations and companies, and the issue of licenses it finally became possible to carry out the project largely without state subsidies. At the end of 1930 a delegation of the fair's organizers travelled to Europe in order to encourage countries to take part. In January 1931 the B.I.E. recommended its member states to take part in the exposition.

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1933 | 1937 | 1939 | 1958 | 1962 | 1967 | 1970 | 1992 | 1998 | 2000
The Chicago World Exposition 1933 & 1934
Centenary celebrations and the depression - the run-up
Year: 1933City: ChicagoCountry: USA
Duration: 27th May - 12th November 1933 und 25th M



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