A World's Fair Phantom

Source: Artist's Rendering, courtesy Bill Cotter Collection

Artist's Rendering

A World's Fair PhantomWhat's a World's Fair Phantom? Merriam Webster says a phantom is something that exists in appearance only ... a representation of something abstract. In World's Fair parlance, a phantom is a pavilion or exhibit that was conceptualized, possibly even planned for and construction begun, but never came to fruition.

The Heartland States U.S.A. pavilion is a true World's Fair Phantom -- a concept pavilion and exhibit developed for the Heartland New York World's Fair Exhibit Commission for the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, by the IVEL Construction Company. Later in the planning stages, the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri were included in the concept and the pavilion became known as the Midwestern States Exhibit. It never advanced beyond the planning phase and only Minnesota and Missouri were eventually represented at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair with pavilions of their own.

Source: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, Progress Report 4, January 17, 1962

Proposed Heartland States Pavilion

Everyone wanted to be a part of the fabulous World's Fair that was to be held in New York in 1964 and 1965. The American states were no exception and the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation actively pursued the states as exhibitors. But exhibiting at the Fair was a difficult sell for most states. Legislative approval had to be gained and appropriations made from tax revenue to host a pavilion at the Fair. Some legislatures met for only a few months out of the year and lacked time to enact legislation. Many had to budget for participation and sell the idea of being a part of the Fair to constituents. If official state government sponsorship couldn't be gained, perhaps a trade or commerce organization within the state would sponsor a state's pavilion. Or perhaps not. By the time the Fair opened, roughly a quarter of the 50 states were represented at the Fair in pavilions and only six, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, combined successfully to host a multi-state pavilion known as the New England States exhibit.

Source: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation, Progress Report 4, January 17, 1962

News Clipping

The proposal developed by the IVEL Construction Company for the Heartland States U.S.A. pavilion was very detailed -- from envisioning a theme for the exhibit right down to estimates for attendance and revenue to be gained by charging admission to the featured attraction in the pavilion (a PANAVISION film of the Heartland States) and to traffic patterns, budgets and timelines. The presentation of this information serves as a useful study into the planning for an exhibit at a major World Exposition and is worth a read for that reason alone.

Source: New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation Transparency, courtesy Bill Cotter Collection

WF Corporation Transparency

To be sure, the Heartland States U.S.A. pavilion is not the only example of a New York World's Fair Phantom. In fact, nywf64.com has a whole section on them that you might want to visit. Perhaps the most famous of the Phantoms were the American Indian Exhibition and the World of Food. Both pavilions advanced well beyond the concept and planning stages. In the case of the World of Food, structural steel was even erected for the pavilion but, on opening day of the Fair, neither were to be found on the Fairgrounds.

Settle back and enjoy this featured presentation on a true World's Fair Phantom and read all about what wonders the states of North and South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska might have shown you at the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair. It promised to be quite an experience for the World's Fair visitor ... if only ...

Source: Concept Artwork, Unknown Artist, ourtesy Bill Cotter Collection

Concept Art

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