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AT THE MUSEUM

On the top of the trailer are the words, "Century of Progress, Chicago 1933, Greyhound Lines."
Century of Progress World's Fair, 1933-1934 Collection. Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago Library.

Artifact of the Month

GMC/Greyhound Lines Toy

This cast iron toy from the Grace Nelson Collection is a souvenir of the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.  It was made by Arcade Manufacturing of Freeport, Illinois, in 1933.  The toy was based off the Greyhound Lines sightseeing tour coaches used to transport people throughout the world’s fair. 

 

The Century of Progress International Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair) opened along the shores of Lake Michigan at Northerly Island on May 27, 1933 and closed on October 31, 1934.  The fair’s theme was technological innovation and its motto was “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts.”  Thirty-nine million visitors came to the fair.  Despite 1933 being the height of the Great Depression, the fair’s organizers made a profit.  The fair provided visitors with a glimpse into happier times, driven by innovations in science and technology.

 

Built by General Motors and operated by Greyhound Lines, the futuristic truck and trailer coaches provided visitors with a trip around the fairgrounds.  Visitors were encouraged to take the one-hour sightseeing tour for fifty cents.  The trailers had outward facing seats, providing unobstructed views of the buildings, exhibits, and amusements.  While traveling at five miles per hour, highly trained tour guides provided visitors with information about the fair’s buildings and attractions.  After the fair, Bowen Bus Lines of Texas purchased the trailer coaches and they were scrapped during World War II. 

 

To learn more about the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition, you can view this video produced by the Chicago Tribune: https://youtu.be/QcRRsHJFPy0

Description of Collections

The San Joaquin County Historical Museum maintains a collection of objects representative of the history of San Joaquin County.  These objects include:
  • Furnishings and household goods from the family of Capt. Charles M. Weber
  • Furnishings and household goods of William and Julia Micke
  • Textiles, quilts, clothing, and Chinese theatrical costumes
  • Native Peoples baskets and objects
  • Toys and recreational equipment
  • Tractors and agricultural equipment
  • Tools, wagons, and motor vehicles
 

The San Joaquin County Historical Society accepts donations of artifacts, photographs, and documents on behalf of the County of San Joaquin.  Donations to the collection are accepted based on their relevance to the social, political, agricultural, industrial, technological, economic, and cultural heritage of San Joaquin County.

For more information about donating artifacts contact Julie Blood, Collections and Exhibits Manager at julieblood@sanjoaquinhistory.org.  

 

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