History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

10 June, 2012

"The America of 1960"

An incredible, 35,700 square foot model envisioning the United States in 1960 at the General Motors exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair. Called "Futurama" and designed by Norman Bel Geddes, it was the fair's hit attraction, full to capacity every day. Visitors rode on conveyor simulating an aerial journey over the model. More info is here, and a colour video is here. 

These photographs are by Alfred Eisenstaedt, turning his unsurpassed photographer's eye on the model for LIFE magazine. 

From the LIFE photo archives. 


Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Pedestrian streets over top of vehicle streets filled with modernistic cars. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

The model's Yosemite Valley. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

An airport of the future. Source





Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

An urban view. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

The Mississippi River area. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

The 60s have some very modernistic architecture. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A suspension bridge overpass. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A highway running atop a dam. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Suburban housing. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

An unfortunately unidentified section. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A floodlit mountain quarry. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Countryside. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A designer of the model. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A highway tunnel with modern cars. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A (not especially modern-looking) farm. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Office and apartment buildings forming sub-cities amidst 14 lane highways in an urban landscape. Source



Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

A mountain range. Source


Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

The crossing of two fourteen-lane expressways. Source

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool. Very interesting!

cliffjburns said...

Truly amazing scale models.

Thanks for sharing these amazing photos with nostalgia buffs.

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