Chicago World’s Fair – 1933

I know Lad, Ced and Arnold Gibson went to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. I expect that Dan was probably with them. The following are five postcards Lad sent to my grandfather telling him of their trip.

Chicago World's Fair, 1933

Chicago World’s Fair, 1933


Tuesday, August 29, ‘33

Dear Dad:

We arrived at Lake Winona about 2 PM today. We swam all afternoon, and will stay here for the night. We are about 125 miles from Chicago. We are going on tomorrow.

We drove last night from sunset to sunrise in three-hour shifts.                                                        Blog - Sept. 1, 1933 Post Card, Chicago World's Fair

The money and grub is holding out fine.

I will procure a suitable address in Chicago, and let you know as soon as possible.

Please give me the particulars of the Winnipesaukee trip.



September 1, ‘33

Dear Dad:

You may reach me % General Delivery, Detroit, Michigan, until Tuesday and in Niagara Falls, until Thursday morning. Dates are when we leave. We arrived in Chicago on schedule. All fine. Write.


September 3, ‘33

Dear Dad:

The fair during the daytime is just a commonplace thing, but at night, well it would take more than a poet to describe the beauty of the illuminated buildings. They were beautiful. By a new type of tube invented by the G.E. Co., different colored lights were played upon the buildings, changing from one color to another so gradually as to be nearly imperceptible.

We heard and saw some wonderful demonstrations.

Everything is fine.


Tuesday, September 5, ‘33

Dear Dad:

We had our first blowout Sunday. The tire is completely shot. We are on a beautiful little Lake just east of Jackson, Michigan. We stayed here all yesterday and did some washing. We hope to reach Detroit by tonight. That means covering about 225 miles today.

Everything is fine. Arnold is just getting our breakfast ready. We will start in about an hour. We hope to be home by September 14, 1933.



P.S. We ran out of ink.

Wednesday, September 6, ‘33

Dear Dad:

Well, we got some ink.

I received your letter today, and we have decided to try to make Lake Winnipesaukee by Saturday. If we come in late Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, don’t worry, we won’t wake you up.

If the tires hold up we will make it. If not no one knows when we will return. We have had altogether, three blowouts, two punctures, and 3 pinches, eight in all. Wish us luck, we’ll need it.



Can you imagine how these boys must have felt on this “Road Trip”? Lad and Arnold, the oldest, were 19, Dan was 18 and Ced was only 16 .  I think my grandfather allowed the older boys a lot more freedom than they would have had if their mother was still alive. I know that I would have had a problem letting them go off for two weeks by themselves, and to Chicago, no less. How would you feel?

Click Here     to go to my website.

 Judy Guion


23 thoughts on “Chicago World’s Fair – 1933

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Wonderful. Did you read “Devil in the White City,” by Erick Larson about this fair?

    • jaggh53163 says:

      No I haven’t, what is it all about? Did you see an earlier comment about how 3 people who are connected through blogs today had relatives who were all at this Fair? I think that is fascinating.

  2. Gallivanta says:

    What a grand adventure. I think we wouldn’t write so many letters these days because we wouldn’t be confident that the post would arrive home before we did. Even in 2 weeks.

  3. Rob Moses says:

    VERY COOL! I love old paintings like that.

    • jaggh53163 says:

      That is really a post card that I scanned, but it sure looks like a painting. The original may have been a painting, I don’t know. I just raised the contrast a little and the colors just popped. The amazing thing is that the post card is 80 years old !!!

  4. gpcox – I guess that confirms it — I really am a “newbie” and now the “world” knows it !!!

  5. thoughtsofanamericanwoman – Did you read the comment from Mrs. P. who had someone in her family working at G.E. and wrote a paper in 1931about the “new ultraviolet light” and wondered if this might be the same light my father was describing. Imagine, 80 years later, 3 random women find a possible connection on the World Wide Web going back to the same event in history…and all 3 men were probably from different parts of the country, just like we are. Absolutely amazing!!!

  6. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    It was interesting to read about the “new type of tube”. My dad worked at the worlds fair, he was not yet 15 – leaving home to find work to help support his mother and sisters. He worked there, and before that with Ringling Brothers circus and eventually the army later in 1934 when he lied about his age to join, he was 15 when he enlisted. I wish he had kept a journal or wished my grandmother kept his letters, that part of history is lost forever.

  7. Arla, You’ve got that right. When I see kids texting to each other sitting across the table, I am baffled. The Lord gave us a voice… we should use it more often. A quick phone call creates a connection that texting never can.

  8. Arla says:

    I’ve always felt the same way about some of the adventures the boys took…I suspect our Grandmother may not have been as willing to let them take off for so many parts unknown. Then again, they had some great times! As gp says, they WERE different times. Today, kids would be so busy texting, they’d probably miss a lot!!

  9. Mrs. P says:

    How wonderful to share in their great adventure…to the Chicago World’s Fair, no less. Really bad luck on the tires, though.

    Don’t know if there is any connection but Bentley in my family worked for GE Research Labs in Cleveland and in 1931 wrote an article called The Characteristics of a New Ultraviolet Light. I couldn’t see the article, you had to be a member of the geeks squad to view it. Wouldn’t that have been just neat if there had been a connection to the lights Lad referred to?

    • My educated guess is that they were probably one and the same. If G.E. had a new light “tube” (as my father described it) what better place to showcase it than at the World’s Fair? The whole point of the Fair is to showcase innovative products to the world for every country that is there. Very interesting indeed.

  10. gpcox says:

    Like you and I always say, ‘Those were different times.” Here they go away for A WHOLE 2 weeks – and they write home. Nowadays it’s – jeez dad it’s ONLY 2 weeks, why do I have to write home?

    Don’t you think? An entirely different train of thought between 2 generations.

    • Mrs. P says:

      Not only did they write home but they wrote five times!!

      • Mrs. P. – Writing was the major way of communicating back then. They even wrote letters to people on the other side of town – That’s probably why many Post Offices have a slot for local outgoing mail and another for everything else. The local mail didn’t go anywhere. Now that slot is a relic because all the mail goes to a major sorting “hub” and then comes back to the same town it was mailed in. More efficient, they say.

    • Yes, I’m afraid you’re probably right. The older boys were very responsible, because that’s the way Grandpa raised them and they were expected to help with the younger children, In my post on 11.13.2012, Trumbull – “Hey guys, we’re sinking”, It sounds like my grandfather left the boys and the boat while he went back to work and came back the following weekend to repair the boat and take the boys home. That shocked me, because Lad was probably about 14 or 15 and Ced was 3 years younger, with Dan in the middle. These boys were young but I guess my grandfather felt that they were responsible enough.

    • gpcox – I tried 4 times to leave your reply here, but it kept putting my reply after Mrs. P. ‘s comment, so you’ll have to scroll down to see your comment. I’m going to head each reply with the name to whom it is supposed to reply to !!!

  11. I spent many summers on Lake Winnepesaukee. It is nice to know that your family enjoyed this beautiful place as well.

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