This week in history: Century of Progress welcomes 7 millionth visitor

The town of Chicago was founded in August 1834. One hundred years later, the World’s Fair celebrating the centennial welcomed its seven millionth visitor.

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1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago

A crowd gathers at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago.

As reported in the Chicago Daily News, sister publication of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Most Chicagoans know that the city was founded in March 1837, but the town of Chicago, before its population exploded, was actually incorporated in August 1833, which is why Chicago’s second World’s Fair, the Century of Progress Exhibition, was held in 1933.

By August 1934, the exhibition had been going strong for over a year, and on Irish Day, Aug. 15, 1934, its seven millionth visitor entered the grounds.

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“The seven millionth visitor, appropriately, was an Irish maid, Elizabeth Carroll, 12 years old, of 3145 South Union Street,” a report that day from the Chicago Daily News said.

Officials of the exposition “showered” Carroll, accompanied by her father and sister, with gifts and made her “the guest of the exposition at the Irish day festivities throughout the day and evening,” according to the report.

Given the large Irish population living in Chicago, fair executives expected a massive turnout for Irish Day, the report said. Unfortunately, an afternoon downpour stopped the exposition from setting a new attendance record.

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