Shot by an unknown filmmaker, this color silent home movie shows close up views of the Chicago Railroad Fair circa 1949. The Chicago Railroad Fair was an event organized to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of railroad history west of Chicago, Illinois. In addition, the Fair highlighted important eras in American history and technological growth. It was held in 1948 and 1949 along the shore of Lake Michigan and is often referred to as "the last great railroad fair" with 39 railroad companies participating. A few short years later, many of these same companies had merged or gone bankrupt, and passenger service became endangered by the rise of the automobile and the airplane.
Opening: Chicago Railroad Fair of 1949. "Frontiers of Freedom" Pageant Entrance, highlighting the economic progress of our country, depicting transportation from 1815 to 1949. The presentation also covers 150+ years of American history.
The show begins with men and women dressed as Pilgrims, looking down from the high stage (:14-1:37). Actors dressed as Native Americans wait as a boat (the Mayflower) stops and people dressed as Europeans exit and greet them. Native Americans perform a dance. People dressed as settler from the Colonial era walk, some are in a horse & buggy (1:38-2:56). Spanish conquistadores on horses, holding flags. Soldiers march, holding rifles, Revolutionary period costumes. A man in the distance (probably depicting George Washington) as another salutes him. Horse & buggy (2:57-4:47). A man pedals a high wheel bicycle and waves at a woman. The Tom Thumb goes by (5:36). This was the first American-built steam locomotive to operate on a common-carrier railroad. It was designed and constructed by Peter Cooper in 1829. Bachmann 'Lafayette' locomotive goes by. (4:48-6:05). Women in dresses and men in suits pair off. "Atlantic" locomotive goes by. This was the name of a very early American steam locomotive built by inventor and foundry owner Phineas Davis for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). Men and women set up ladders and climb on board in comedic fashion (6:06-7:57). Pennsylvania Railroad engine pulls a train car, a Pioneer train goes by in the opposite direction. Horse drawn carriage slowly goes by. Pioneers with covered wagons and horses follow behind (7:58-10:19). Stagecoach goes by. Indian Wars segment: Native Americans charge, guns fired off. U.S. Calvary rushes from the opposite direction and pursue. Row of cavalry on horseback. Mood is somber as people stand. An actor depicting Abraham Lincoln slowly walks over and boards the back of a train(10:20-12:22). The locomotive Minnetonka goes by, the wood-burning Minnetonka was the first locomotive to see service for the Northern Pacific Railway. People dance in a circle, turn and wave and break off. St. Paul & Pacific Railcar goes by, The Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad was a shortline railroad in the state of Minnesota which existed from 1857 to 1879. Cowboys and settler costumes. Horse and buggies go by (12:23-14:09). At (12:47) steam powered tractors rumble on stage. Pony Express rider (13:48). Women in showgirl dresses dance, like the saloon girls of the late 1800s (15:00).. Men dressed as The Wright Brothers (15:15) stand before an early model of a Wright Flyer airplane. They push it. Balloons, children, a policeman, and a man cranking a music box. People walk, talk, and gather. Women hold umbrellas. Horse drawn carriages and a horse drawn trolley car from the Citizen Line (14:10-16:47). At (17:02) a herdic type carriage crosses stage. A man stands behind a horse drawn buggy as he leads the horse. Men and women in white costumes dance. Horse drawn, steam powered fire engine races by (16:48-17:55). People on different types of bicycles ride by. An early automobile rides by, followed by another. A police officer runs around, 'keystone cop-like.' Other cars go by: 1900 Locomobile Steamer, 1904 Cadillac, 1906 Maxwell, 1908 Reo (17:56-19:09). A man waves his hand for the cars to stop. A person pushes a car. A police officer tries to direct traffic. Women hold signs and march. The police officer jumps into the back of a Paddy Wagon. Policeman tries to get the women to stop. The Paddy Wagon drives off with a woman inside, the others chase after it. Finale of the show: a military plane (or mock-up) of an F-86 Sabre jet, is pushed out on stage. Modern cars drive by the men who line up in front of the plane and salute, and the most modern General Motors Electro-Motive Locomotives cross the stage (19:10-21:29).
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com