Groundbreaking


GROUNDBREAKING AT THE

NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965

Elton & Javits break ground
S. Robert Elton, chairman of the board of the Pavilion of American Interiors at the New York World's Fair 1964-1965, is joined by guest of honor, Mrs. Jacob K. Javits, wife of the senior Senator from New York, in the official groundbreaking ceremonies for the multiple-exhibit home furnishings building.


Excerpt of remarks by Thomas Bresnahan, member, Pavilion of American Interiors Advisory Board and consultant to management, at the Pavilion of American Interiors groundbreaking ceremonies, New York World's Fair, Tuesday, October 2, 1962.

I think I should start by quoting a remark made by one of our guests today as she viewed the diorama of the World's Fair. She said, "It's two years away and my feet are already hurting from just looking at this model."

One evening last week I attended a neighborhood supper party with about a dozen couples. It was a scene of American life such as Norman Rockwell might paint -- a typical group, representative of our consumer public. We chatted about the New York World's Fair and I displayed a copy of the latest Progress Report. I wish you could have seen and heard them. They were fascinated an plied me with questions. Their genuine interest suddenly revealed to me that these are the people we are aiming at. They represent the America that loves a Fair. These people and millions like them are coming -- in fact, they can hardly wait to get here and see the latest and best of everything.

World's Fairs have a way of reflecting life around us. You all remember the wonderful Fair of 25 years ago on these grounds. It's easy to recall its delight, its excitement, its amusements, but great as that Fair was, it lacked one big thing: there was no home furnishings building such as our Pavilion of American Interiors. There was no handsome showcase to present a brilliant cross-section of American products and ideas in the field of interior decoration to millions of people. There was no home furnishings exhibit at the 1939-1940 Fair, great as it was. However, this modern-as-tomorrow working edifice, the Pavilion of American Interiors, to be constructed for the greatest of all Fairs in 1964-1965, will be the last word in beauty, thanks to the imagination and perseverance of S. Robert Elton and to the loyal support of his Advisory Board, a Board which includes a score of the great names of this industry.

I repeat, at the last New York Fair home furnishings were conspicuous by their almost complete absence. Possibly, the public was not quite ready at that time. Home furnishings were only just beginning the rapid rise to the high place they now occupy in the hearts and minds of American consumers. The great speed-up of communications in the past quarter century has brought to the general public a consciousness of interior design. In 1939, TV had just been introduced. The miracle of high-speed color printing, which makes possible the impressive color pages of today's magazines, was in its infancy.

Source: NY World's Fair Corp. publication
Source: "Groundbreaking Pamphlet"

The women's pages of the newspapers had not reached their present degree of influence. Now, the stage is set, and the timing could not be better for the appearance of a Pavilion of American Interiors where all can see the results of an industry cooperating to put its best foot forward for a public ready and eager for a better home environment. Every segment of the home furnishings industry and the decorating profession will be here to implant indelibly, dependable brand names on the minds of Fair-going consumers, day after day, evening after evening, for two big years -- 1964 and 1965. I say big years, because the economists, the commentators and the journalists have been dinning into our ears the fact that the mid-sixties will be years of plenty for home furnishings. During the two six-month Fair operational periods this international exposition will attract a majority of the new generation of home owners which has exploded, as they say, since the start of World War II. The Pavilion of American Interiors will dramatically highlight the fantastic product advances of the past 25 years. Just to touch upon a few, we can now offer the variety and beauty of new furniture woods and finishes, style interest -- a primary merchandising force -- new dyes, new fibers, new fabrics from the world of chemistry, radically improved new vinyl floor coverings and sensationally successful tufted broadlooms which have made the carped home a way of life for the many instead of a luxury for the favored few. So for these two important years, 1964 and 1965, this Pavilion will prove to a waiting world that attractive home furnishings have become an accepted necessity of today's living. In the so-called service magazine world, I have witnessed the American woman's craving for better family living grow steadily during the past quarter century. These women -- your customers -- are reading and waiting for the Fair. This beautiful Pavilion, for which we break ground today, provides the assurance that the Fair will be ready for them.

S. Robert Elton (left), board chairman of the Pavilion of American Interiors, looks on as a contract for space is signed by John B. Stevens, vice president of The International Silver Company.

Internatonal Silver signs contract


The 4-story Pavilion of American Interiors where 125 manufacturers will exhibit furniture, floor coverings, lamps, draperies and other home furnishing in a series of tasteful displays. The Pavilion, which will cost more than $2,300,000 to build, will occupy a 38,110 sq. ft. lot with 68,000 sq. ft. of display space in the Fair's Industrial Area.

Source: The New York Times Advertising Supplement, April 12, 1964

Artist's rendering of Pavilion

 

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