1939 World’s Fair

 My parents’ generation saw the 1939 New York World’s Fair. I’ve never been to a World Fair but wouldn’t it be grand.

From my mother’s journal about their driving trip from Idaho to New York: In Wyoming there was a 1939 traffic jam. The roads in Idaho and Wyoming were still dirt and gravel back then.

She wrote: At Custer, South Dakota, we bought gas for $2.62, two quarts of oil for 60 cents, groceries and meat for 51 cents.

On August 12, 1939 we left at 6:15 AM.  Junior drove, our mileage was 38,325 miles.  It was the start of a concrete hiway!  Stopped at Plankton for 18 gallons of gas, and 2 quarts of oil $1.97.  We ran into a fog at Mt. Vernon, South Dakota at 7:45 AM.   

We pieced on cookies, bananas, and apple butter between La Crosse and Chicago, Illinois.  We rode down Michigan Boulevard to the Old Fair site, visited the beach.  Saw quite a sight:  they all looked like Jews.  Went to the Alder Planetarium, gaped at high buildings. When we hunted for lodgings, we got mixed up in the streets, sort of lost ourselves.  We finally found a hotel near the “Loop”. Two dollars a room; we took two rooms for $4.  

We spent three hours seeing Niagara Falls, spent 20 cents for pictures and post cards.  Lunch and groceries totaled 58 cents.  Mom got a hooked rug from Canada for $1.  We took pictures then crossed the Peace Bridge back to the United States at 1 PM, 35 miles per hour.    

My mother at the World’s Fair

When we got to the ticket man, my dad said to the man, “all my kids are under 12”. The ticket man took a good look at my mother sizing her up when her father said “we grow them big in Idaho.” Mom was so embarrassed but the ticket man let them go through a children’s prices.

 See through Dodge.


2 thoughts on “1939 World’s Fair

  1. Susan

    My Dad worked as a surveyor for the building of the '39 fair. And when I was a little girl I went to the '64 fair many times. We lived on Long Island and it was just a train ride away. That's where Disney premiered "It's a Small World". I couldn't get enough of that exhibit.Loved reading the journal entries. Oh, if only we could get 18 gallons of gas and 2 quarts of oil for $1.97!


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