This past weekend I spent some time scrapbooking some treasured family photos, and discovered a part of my family’s history that is worth sharing.
This photo of Harry and Bessie Firmiss was taken in 1934. The back of the photo reads: “Harry and Bessie, Starrie Rock” I assumed that the significance of the photo was the location at which it was taken. Boy was I wrong. While trying to determine the location of Starrie Rock, I googled “1934 : A Century of Progress” and discovered that this photo was taken at the 1933-1934 World’s Fair in Chicago.
The 1933-1934 World’s Fair celebrated the Centennial History of Chicago. It’s theme was technological innovation, which means that Harry and Bessie possibly witnessed the “Homes of Tomorrow Exhibit” or the “dream cars” that the American automobile manufacturers presented.
For Harry and Bessie, the exhibits may have seen far-fetched or unbelievable. Yet Bessie herself witnessed many of those innovations come to life. One can only imagine how she felt the first time her daughter’s microwave was put to use during Thanksgiving dinner!
Don’t Harry and Bessie look young in this photo? In fact Harry is 40 years old, and Bessie 38. Which means they weren’t alive when the famous 1893 World’s Fair was in Chicago. Harry’s parents were still out East in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, but Bessie’s parents, Henry and Stella Beauchamp, were in fact living in Chicago, or the White City, as written about in Erik Larson’s book Devil in the White City. Did they attend the 1893 World’s Fair? Were they able to afford a ride on the original Ferris wheel? Did they have their picture taken at the Fair?
Maybe someday another treasured family photo will lead me to discover that and more…