Skip to contents
Downtown

Amazing Videos From 1933 World’s Fair Shows What Chicago Looked Like More Than 80 Years Ago

The Sky Ride, skyline, fireworks and more are featured in the decades-old videos.

A video shows Chicago as it looked during the 1933-1934 World's Fair, the Century of Progress.
MIRC
  • Credibility:

DOWNTOWN — Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1933 focused on the newest technology from around the globe — and it was documented by videos that show the city.

The videos, which come from the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collection, show Chicago as it looked during the 1933-1934 Century of Progress World’s Fair. There’s glimpses of the skyline, of freckled kids participating in a contest, of fireworks and of men dangling outside windows as they wash the Sky Ride.

The fair had the motto of “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts” and was held at Northerly Island. It focused on technical innovations, featuring robots, new cars and the Sky Ride, among other things.

The Sky Ride — a symbol and main attraction of the fair — was used to transport attendees over the lagoon that sit in the middle of the fair. Riders would step into gondolas that dangled more than 200 feet above the city as part of the attraction.

The Sky Ride proved popular, with millions of riders over the span of the fair, but was demolished at the end of the event.

Moving Image Research Collections seeks to preserve films made outside the feature film industry. It holds 11 million feet of fragile silent and sound films that document news and global events from the 1920s to 1940s that were produced by Fox Movietone.

The Fox library was given to the university by the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation in 1980 and the university works to restore them and make them available to the public.

Watch the videos: