1939 New York World's Fair: The World of Tomorrow

I've gone down the rabbit hole. Current obsession: the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. 

It all began when I happened upon an image of the General Motors exhibit. 

The Futurama was one vision of what 1960 would look like.  People stood in line for hours to view this 35,000 square foot exhibit sponsored by General Motors and designed by Norman Bell Geddes.

 Visitors had the opportunity to ride past small realistic landscapes, complete with sophisticated 7 lane highways filled with radio controlled cars. After the Great Depression, people welcomed this grand vision of the future. There is some interesting social commentary within the film To New Horizons: "On all express city thoroughfares, the rights of way have been so routed as to displace outmoded business sections and undesirable slum areas whenever possible. Man continually strives to replace the old with the new..."  Watch the full video here, or an abbreviated video here.

Salvador Dali's "Dream of Venus".

Alvar Aalto's Finnish Pavilion.

Food building Number Three.

Irish Pavilion - shaped like a shamrock.

 Communications building.

WPA/New Deal represented at the 1939 World's Fair.

Oh what a magical place it must have been!

Craving more? There are tons of pavilion images here.


The Smiling Christ

A couple of months ago, Mr. Cheese and I happened upon one of those uber-rare and slightly odd pieces at a privately hosted estate sale. The item in question was an artist-signed print of a smiling Jesus, dated 1955. Mr. Cheese and I became obsessed with the story behind this piece, and spent hours researching it.
Google search results presented links to a few archived newspaper articles about the artist when he was using the moniker "Old Timer" and press photos of the artist just before his death, at which point he revealed his true identity to be Ralph D. Pekor. Research points out that the first known smiling Christ artwork was done by Pekor.
Pekor was an accomplished commercial/cartoon artist, but spent the majority of his life in prison for crimes that ranged from bad check writing (apparently only while intoxicated) to manslaughter.

According to the artist, it was in a dream that he first saw the image of a smiling Christ. While creating his Christ paintings in prison, Pekor desired to remain anonymous and would not accept money for his religious paintings. His smiling Christ paintings were highly sought after by churches across the United States. The artist knew actress Lilian Roth in the 1930's. Roth came to visit Pekor in prison when he had only completed eight smiling Christ paintings, and she chose to take painting #3 home with her. Roth later wrote the old timer "I keep the painting near me always. If I become weary and a bit cross I have only to look at His Smile to get the spiritual lift I need."  

Even while imprisoned during WWII, Pekor was churning out propaganda illustrations for the U.S. government, as shown in this press photo for Folsom Prison.

Pekor's mark was left on Folson prison in the form of 12 murals that he painted in the former Officer's dining room. The images below of "The Last Supper" are from the Folsom County Prison Museum.

In his mural "The Last Supper", it is rumored that Pekor painted the warden as Jesus, the inmates on condemned row as the disciples, and included himself (tucked away under the table). Other accounts say that Pekor painted himself as Jesus, and it was an image of the Devil under the table.
Pekor was released from Folsom County Prison around 1941, but was soon arrested for another crime...

During his imprisonment in Florida in the mid-1950's, the prison's warden sympathized with Pekor, knowing that the outstanding warrant for his 4th offense in New Mexico would mean that he would spend the rest of his life in prison. When he was released from the Florida prison, Pekor did indeed have to return to New Mexico for imprisonment. Shortly after, upon his cancer diagnosis, the New Mexico governor granted his release from prison. Pekor died 18 days later, in 1956.

Sources: folsom prison museum, miami daily news archives, lewis wayne gallery, seattle_washington_archive 


Early Prefab: The Venturo House

Although more well-known for his earlier design of the Futuro House, In 1971,  Finnish architect Matti Suuronen designed the awesome mod pod that is the Venturo CF-45The 45 square-meter design was marketed for a number of purposes, including recreational. 
 The Venturo was extolled as "maintenance free" because it's exterior materials were fiberglass, anodized aluminum and glass. The low-weight, pre-fabricated module allowed for installation without much interference to the surrounding landscape, because heavy earthmoving equipment was not required.

 Despite is't great mod design and small-house luxury features (anyone care for a steam?), only 19 Venturo homes were sold, and production was quickly shut-down.
But wait - what about this large collection of Futuros and Venturos, located on the northern coast of Taiwan?
Mystery surrounds the later Taiwanese Venturos, which are located in a mostly-deserted Taiwanese resort park that is thought to have been built around 1979. Who was manufacturing the later Venturo homes? A couple of the homes have residents, and have been maintained. 

Sadly, most of them look like this.

A random Venturo sighting, this one was located on the highway between Kyoto and Osaka. The home was reportedly removed by the landowner in 2008, it's current location is unknown (sadly, I suspect it no longer exists).
This restored Venturo is now a cafeteria/information center at the Kivik Art Centre in Sweden.

Sources: treehugger, judit bellostes, s_p_o_c, akaaokiiro, wanli


End-of-Summer Blooms

My garden is a bit confused this year. Native daylilies and frilly iris are blooming again, along with a few stray azalea and rose of sharon blossoms.

The dogwoods began turning two weeks ago.

Autumn has come to the South early this year. This makes me a happy girl.


Forgive me...

for my absence. I've been working on some exciting posts and will be back to regular posting next week. Until then....


Rebecca's Charming Pink Trailer

Tiny House Blog recently posted a story about a woman named Rebecca, who - during a difficult transitional period in her life - created a new home out of a run down vintage pink trailer. Rebecca shares her story of making over the ("hideous") 1958 single-wide trailer into a home for she and her beloved dog Cassi, her struggles with the stigma of living in trailer park, and the silver lining of starting this new chapter in her life. Take a look at Rebecca's super-cute renovated trailer, and visit Tiny House Blog to read her inspiring story

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

pink 1950's 50's trailer renovation

Visit Rebecca's blog Trailerchic for more trailer love.