The History of World Expositions

The Seattle World Exposition 1962 and the New York World Exposition 1964
Planning for the Future versus World Exposition Recycling

Year: 1962
City: Seattle
Country: USA
Duration: 21th April - 21th October 1962



Copyright: National Geographic. September 1962

In Seattle, several plots in a somewhat rundown area between the city centre and the port were bought and joined for the world exposition. The old opera house, a dilapidated stadium and the Armory, the old arsenal of the city stood on this site. The intensive considerations about post-exposition use of the area led to a new district for the city with numerous buildings for culture and sports.

In New York, the infrastructure of 1939/40 was mostly kept for the World’s Fair 1964/65. The Park area Flushing Meadows was hardly changed, only the pavilions were more loosely grouped. The Transportation Zone and the much reduced Amusement Area stayed on their former sites. Two zones switched places: the nation pavilions were situated around the Unisphere, all other sections of the World’s Fair 1939 were placed in the eastern half of the park as “Zone of Industry” where the pavilions were grouped around the “Pool of Industry”, the re-named former Lagoon of Nations.

On site transportation was provided by an electrical monorail train, installed on concrete supports, running on rubber tyres and taking only 96 seconds for the 2 kilometres distance. A cable railway above the pavilions offered magnificent views of the expo site and the town. The temporary exhibition buildings were often very modest in dimension, cafeterias and restaurants were often placed under colourful tents, quite a few foreign nations leased wooden pavilions similar to shacks.

The missing regulations for building led to a motley mix on the site. There was neither a colour scheme helping visitors to find their way around nor attention paid to the coordination of neighbouring buildings. Each pavilion vied for the attention of visitors with costly gimmicks and loud music, the exhibits tried to stand out as shrilly as possible.

EXPOSEEUM - The Museum of World Exhibitions, Hanover, Expo Plaza 11
Open every Sunday from 11 to 16