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The Worlds Fair and Exposition
Information and Reference Guide

1936 Texas Centennial Exposition
1937 Greater Texas and Pan-American Exposition




  • 149 facts and trivia nuggets with 24 links to more resources.

  • The World's Fair and Exposition Information and Reference Guide is now on CD.
    11,216 facts and 1,362 web links covering 24 World's Fairs and Expositions.
    Further information can be found here.

  • To Convert Dollar Amounts to the Year 2003: divide the amount by .076



The following categories are on CD
 High Resolution Images (4)
More Facts and Trivia (41) More Fair Park (15)
Foods Building (14) Some Dallas, Texas History (25)
The Midway (12) Commemorative Half Dollar (12)
Bonus: Timeline 1936 (28) Bonus: Timeline 1937 (31)






  • Dates: June 06 - November 29, 1936 as the Texas Centennial Exposition.
              June 12 - October 31, 1937 as the Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition.

  • Location: Fair Park, Dallas, Texas.

  • Area: 180 acres.

  • Theme: "An Empire on Parade", 100th Anniversary of Texas Statehood.

  • Type of Exposition: Special Exhibition.

  • Symbol: none.

  • Cost: $25,000,000.

  • Revenue: unknown as of time of this writing.

  • Attendance: 6,345,385.

  • Projected Attendance: 10,000,000.

  • Daily Admission (unconfirmed): 50˘ for adults (12 and up), 25˘ for children (2-11).

  • Attraction Admission Fees: unknown as of time of this writing.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM. Exhibits: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, seven days a week.

  • Special Admission Day: Every Tuesday children under 12 were admitted for 5˘.

  • Mascot: None.

  • Official Guide Book: 112 pages, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 25˘.

  • Employment: 15,000.

  • Entrance Gates: 5.

  • Buildings: 50.

  • Transportation: Automobiles, Street Cars, Trains.

  • Participating Nations: China.

  • Permanent Facilities: Dallas Aquarium, Hall of State, Agriculture Complex, Civic Center, Magnolia Oil Company, Lone Star Gas, Continental Oil, Federal Building.

  • Legacies: Dallas Aquarium, Dallas Horticulture Center, Dallas Museum of Natural History, DAR Museum, Texas Discovery Gardens, Texas Hall of State, The Science Place and the Planetarium.

  • It was the first World's Fair held in the Southwest.


Facts and Trivia



  • The Texas Centennial Board of One Hundred established in Austin on February 12, 1924.

  • A temporary Texas Centennial Commission was appointed on December 28, 1931 And became permanent in June 1934.

  • The population of Dallas in 1936 was 330,000.

  • Dallas outbid San Antonio, Austin, and Houston with a bid of $7,791,000.

  • Major construction began in October 1935 with a workforce of 8,000. Construction is completed in eight months. Another source indicates construction took over 14 months.

  • The flag chosen to fly over the Texas Centennial Exposition was based on the banner which was carried by Cortez during the conquest of Mexico.

  • The idea for a Centennial celebration goes back to around 1900.

  • Texas Centennial Survey Committee was established on November 6, 1923 with the goal of advertising Texas to the world.

  • Additional information can be found in the Handbook of Texas Online.

  • On June 6 The Texas Centennial Exposition opens with a downtown parade viewed by 150,000 spectators and a gala "Ceremony of Flags" in the Cotton Bowl.

  • Six nations flags have flown over the state.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the exposition.

  • The Fair was credited with pulling Dallas out of the depression.

  • The livestock coliseieum was the first building converted for the Centennial Exposition. The New Hall of Administration building housed livestock by day, and hosted Opera at night.

  • Ironically, Dallas did not exist when the Republic of Texas was founded in 1836.

  • The Hall of Negro Life represented the first recognition of black culture at a world's fair.

  • Visiting celebrities included: Amelia Earhart, Gene Autry, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple and the Sons of the Pioneers.

  • Gene Autry made a movie, "The Big Show", on the Exposition grounds.

  • A rookie radio announcer named Art Linkletter Provided news coverage.

  • The Esplanade of State was 300 feet wide and 1000 feet long. It ran from the main entrance to the Texas State of Hall.

  • In the center of the Esplanade was a 70 foot wide and 700 foot long reflecting pool. At night it was illuminated by 24 brightly colored spotlights.

  • The Electrical Hall had exhibits from: Eastman Kodak, Elgin National Watch Company, IBM, Singer Sewing Machines, Western Union and Westinghouse.

  • The Elgin Exhibit featured 30 historical models of watches, a reproduction of an astronomical observatory and an actual working wrist watch - 10x actual size. The watch is  now in the Rosenwald Industrial Museum in Chicago.

  • The Western Union Exhibit featured: a Talking Clock, an Electric Eye, the Lumiline Lamp, Micarta wall panels, an oil well pumping rig, electric train models, electric kitchens, household appliances and, stock and news tickers. They also operated the Centennial Exposition Telegraph Service.

  • The Kodak display featured Kodachrome color motion picture film and an x-ray exhibit that displayed for the first time, two complete human body x-rays.



  • One of the exposition's most popular attractions was the "Cavalcade of Texas," a historical pageant depicting four centuries of Texas history.

  • In the Hall of Communications, the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company dedicated it's exhibit to the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. Long distance phone call demonstrations were conducted daily with a different town or location featured each day. Visitors used special telephone booths to communicate long distances with friends and relatives. A large relief map had lights indicating where in the country the calls were being placed, and they let you "eavesdrop" on conversations. Other exhibits including a hear your own voice demonstration and "speech scrambling" used in transoceanic telephony.

  • The Rock Island Railway celebrated it's 84th anniversary on October 10,1936. They had a display a special Pullman caboose.

  • Bethlehem Steel company displayed the new Bethanized Fence and Barbed Wire, and Bethlehem Galvanized Steel Sheets.

  • The Katy Railroad exhibit used colored slides on a Balopticon machine in describing their passenger and freight service.

  • The Burlington Railroad System had the Zephyr Theatre. The air conditioned theatre showed a sound film of the new Zephyr trains in Rocky Mountain National Park. The ramped entrance was flanked by a full scale replica of the Burlington's Diesel Zephyr engine on one side and a scale model replica of the rear car on the other. 

  • The Chyrsler Hall had a large silver star set in a deep blue tiled floor that blended into the walls, deep blue wall mirrors that blended into the ceiling, a large three-dimensional Texas Lone Star in the ceiling marking north and south, and was illuminated with opalescent lighting from all sides.

  • The Agrarian Center is first for World's Fairs. It contained the Agriculture Building, Poultry Pavilion and Livestock Pavilion.

  • The Poultry Pavilion cost $40,000 and was a permanent structure. It had two exhibit halls, one for an egg laying contest and the other was a coop for 2000 chickens. It also included a fully equipped veterinary hospital with a resident doctor.

  • Livestock Building I had stalls for 650 cattle and 350 horses, a milking parlor, quarters for 75 "herdsmen and grooms", and a judging arena that can hold up to 6000 people.

  • Livestock Building II was for sheep, goats and swine. It contained 196 swine pens, 126 sheep pens, 840 square feet of mohair by-products, a milking parlor, quarters for 65 people and an arena that could accommodate 500 people. 

  • The Gulf Radio Studio cost $50,000 and had two main working acoustical studios with an area that can hold 500 spectators. They could play 6 different programs over the PA system and produce two broadcasts at the same time. More than 80 live shows a week from 3 Dallas radio stations were produced. They had a library of over 3000 transcripts and could broadcast 12 programs at one time.

  • Gulf Oil Corporation furnished the $150,000 Radio and Public Address System. 26 amplifying units were needed to connect the 6 main circuits and 23 remote stations used to cover the Exposition grounds.

  • The Smithsonian Institute had on display a prehistoric fossilized skeleton.

  • The Coca-Cola exhibit in the Varied Industries Building contained a complete bottling plant. It produced 100 bottles of Coke a minute and supplied beverages to all the concession stands on the grounds. Coca-Cola also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1936.

  • The Ingersoll-Waterbury Company produced a special Texas Centennial watch model.

  • Many Texas heroes were born in Tennessee including: Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and William Barrett Travis.

  • The LE Waterman Company had a microscope where you could compare the tip of your pen to a Waterman nib.

  • The General Electric "House of Magic" demonstration featured: a Stroboscope, the sodium vapor lamp, ultra-violet radiation, audible light, visible sound, an artificial fever machine, the versatile phototube (electric eye) and the inductotherm.



  • The Ford Building covered 55,000 square feet and was the largest single exhibit building. On display was Henry Ford's first car, one of the first Model A cars (1905) and one of the first Model T (1908) cars. And in the 36,000 square foot outdoor area, was a reproduction of 9 historic Southwest Roads: Butterfield Stage Road, Chisholm Trail, Fort Worth Pike, Magazine Street, Main Street in Dallas, Pan American Highway, San Antonio Road, Santa Fe Trail and Yuma Road.

  • The General Motors Auditorium was the remodeled State Fair Auditorium. The walls were leather (brown and three shades of blue) and the building was air conditioned by Delco-Frigidaire. On display were 16 motor cars. The small movie theatre had seating for 280 people. Chief Pontiac was a mechanical Indian that answered questions in the lobby

  • The National Cash Register Building was a large cash register on which hourly attendance figures were displayed. It was 65 feet tall and sat on a base 50 feet by 50 feet square. On display were various models of cash registers along with a display of the 7,857 parts that make up a cash register. These large "registers" were also at the 1933 Chicago and 1939 New York World's Fair.

  • The Sinclair Dinosaurs were at the Exposition including "Thunder Lizard". Thunder Lizard was a 21 foot high, 70 foot long Brontosaurus. He stood atop a large rock which was the exhibit hall. All the Sinclair Dinosaurs were mechanically operated and the two biggest monsters, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops would engage in combat. Each were about 30 feet tall. The Dinosaurs were also at the 1933 Chicago and 1939 New York World's Fair.

  • The Hall of Fine Arts cost $400,000 and became home to the Museum of Fine Arts after the Exposition.

  • The Old West section contained: log cabin Texas Ranger Headquarters, a replica of Judge Roy Bean's Saloon, a reproduction of the Alamo and a wilderness camp exhibit by the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

  • The Chinese Government sponsored The City of China. China was the only foreign government to participate in the Texas Centennial and it's exhibit cost $1,000,000.

  • Some of the exhibitors included: Agfa Ansco, American Telephone and Telegraph, Armour and Company, Beech-Nut, Bethlehem Steel, Brown Cracker and Candy Company, Champion Spark Plug, Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, Elgin Watch Company, Firestone, General Electric, Harley Davidson, IBM, King Kandy, The Praetorians, Singer Sewing Machine, Southern Pacific Lines, Western Electric and Winchester Repeating Arms Company.

  • John Sirigo was the Official Photographer and he had an outlet in the Electrical Hall.

  • The Dallas Exposition reopened on June 12, 1937, as the Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition. It closed on October 31, 1937.

  • In 1936 the official hostesses were known as "Rangerettes". In 1937 they were known as "Texanites".

  • Texas Centennial Rangerette, 16 year old Helen Ramsey, posed for Sculptor Lawrence Tenney Stevens' statue, 'Texas'. It was one of six major sculptors for the Esplanade of State. The 20 foot statue stands on an 11-foot pedestal.

  • In keeping with the Latin American theme of the 1937 Pan American Exposition, only brunette "Latin type" women were to be hired as official hostesses. However, after a strike led by Helen Ramsey, a blonde 16 year old 1936 hostess, the competition Judge McClelland Barclay was "instructed to include blondes in his choices for successors to ... famous Rangerettes" (Dallas Times Herald 2/16/37).

  • Hall of Administration building is now the new Women’s Museum.

  • Twenty-one of the fifty buildings were permanent.


Fair Park


  • Fair Park is also the site of the State Fair of Texas (Texas State Fair).

  • A group of Dallas business formed The Dallas State Fair and Exposition Association on January 30, 1886.

  • The original 80 acre site was purchased for $16,000 in 1886 and deeded to the Dallas State Fair and Exposition Association. The first fair was held on October 26, 1886.

  • During the first year, conflicts arose between the directors over where to build the fairgrounds. This lead to the chartering of two Fairs in 1886, each with their own racetrack. The Dallas State Fair would be held in Fair Park and the Texas State Fair and Exposition would be held north of Dallas.

  • The Dallas State Fair was a bigger success but both Fair's lost money. Despite being $100,000 in debt, they merged in 1887 to become the Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition and purchased an additional 27 acres of land adjacent to Fair Park.

  • In 1899 the name was changed to the Texas State Fair.

  • Financial difficulties haunted the Fair at the turn of the century: a grandstand collapse in 1900, the burning of several exhibition buildings in 1902 and the eventual outlawing of race horse gambling in 1903. The Texas State Fair was forced to reorganize in 1904.

  • Turning down $125,000 from a real estate developer and in lieu of outstanding debts, the Texas State Fair turned over ownership of the Park to the City of Dallas in 1904. They continued to operate the annual Fair with a percentage going to the city.

  • At the turn of the century, John Philip Sousa played concerts at Fair Park.

  • 1905 - 300,000 people visited the State Fair.

  • 1909 - President William Howard Taft visited the fair.

  • 1911 - Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech.

  • 1916 - More than one million visitors.

  • 1918 - Fair was cancelled and the Park turned into a temporary army encampment.

  • 1921 - A 15,000 seat wooden football stadium is built south of the racetrack.

  • 1925 - Music Hall was completed.

  • 1926 - An above ground circular swimming pool is built near the auditorium.

  • 1929 - First Texas-Oklahoma football game is played.

  • 1930 - The racetrack is replaced with Fair Park Stadium. And with seating for 46,200, it becomes the largest stadium in the south.

  • 1934 - Horse betting is once again legalized and a new racetrack is built.

  • 1935 - Park is closed to prepare for the Texas Centennial Exposition. And an additional 26 acres at the soutwest end of the Park is acquired.

  • 1936 - Park was expanded to 180 acres and the Texas Centennial Exposition was held for six months.

  • 1936 - Fair Park Stadium renamed Cotton Bowl.

  • 1937 - Texas Centennial Exposition was renamed the Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition and held for another 142 days.

  • 1937 - TCU beats Marquette in the first Cotton Bowl before a crowd of 12,000.

  • 1938 - The first lighted softball field is completed.

  • 1942-1945 - Fair was cancelled for the duration of WWII.

  • 1947 - The New Automobile Building replaces the old building, which burned.

  • 1949 - Attendance surpasses the two million mark.

  • 1950s - Monorail system added as well as a fifty-two-foot cowboy figure named Big Tex.

  • 1966 - Single-day attendance record was set - 345,469.

  • 1968 - Over three million fairgoers visit.

  • 1979 and 1983 - Midway accidents lead to a ride safety program.

  • 1985-1986 - The Automobile Building restored.

  • 1986 - For 31 days the State Fair of Texas celebrated Texas' Sesquicentennial and the fair's 100th anniversary. And recorded the largest attendance recorded for an American State Fair - 3,959,058.

  • 1986 - Friends of Fair Park, a non-profit citizens’ group established.

  • 1987 through 1989 - Hall of State was cleaned and repaired.

  • 1990s - Length for the Fair was extended from seventeen to twenty-four days and routinely draws crowds of over 3 million people. Corporate sponsorship becomes commonplace.

  • The Centennial Buildings are one of the largest intact groupings of exposition buildings remaining in the United States. They were registered as National Landmarks in 1986.

  • Fair Park houses nine museums and six performance halls with the Smirnoff Music Centre hosting over 40 concerts a year. The Park receives over 7 million visitors annually.

  • The Texas State Fair is held every October.

  • Fair Park has also played host to the World Cup and the International Gold Cup Games.

  • Unofficial Guide to Historic Fair Park from the Watermelon-kid.

  • For more information, visit Fair Park Dallas.


Hall of Negro Life


  • Funded by the Federal Government at a total cost of $100,000. $50,000 for the building and another $50,000 for the exhibits.

  • Thirty-two States and the District of Columbia contributed to the exhibit.

  • The Negro Advisory Committee planned the exhibit. Eugene K. Jones was the Chairman and Jesse O Thomas was the General Manager.

  • Construction began on March 9, 1936 and was completed June 12, 1936 - 95 days. And was formally dedicated on June 19, 1936.

  • It contained four exhibition halls, each 26 feet wide and 100 feet long.

  • The main building was in the shape of an L and designed by George L. Dahl.

  • The concrete stage was outside in the bend of the L, and had open-air seats that could handle 2000 people.

  • A large sculpted plaster seal hung over the entrance. It was10 feet in diameter and portrayed Negro life in America (that's what it says in the official guidebook).

  • Altogether there were six exhibit groups: agriculture, art, business and industry, education, mechanic arts and progress in curtailing diseases among African Americans.

  • Aaron Douglas painted the four murals depicting black history in Texas that were displayed in the lobby.

  • The Hall contained: A 2,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, restaurant, dining room and dance hall.

  • The building was razed after the Exposition.

  • For more information, see this page from the Handbook of Texas Online.


Hall of State


  • Cost: $1,250,000 - $1,000,000 to build and another $250,000 to furnish.

  • Designer: Donald Bartheleme. Altogether, eleven Texas architects played a role.

  • Erected in 1936 and was the most expensive per foot construction project in Texas at the time.

  • The building was in the shape of an inverted "T" and was 360 feet long by 180 feet deep by 88 feet high.

  • The building was constructed using "bas-relief", an Art Deco style of carving that is used to create three-dimensional murals, and shows six soldiers marching around the columns.

  • A carved Frieze encircled the building and contained the names of historical figures and Texas flora.

  • The building is actually a monument with a group of rooms: The great Hall of Texas, The Hall of Heroes, four regional rooms representing East, West, North, and South Texas, and a lecture room.

  • The semi-circular opening had a roof supported by six eighty-foot columns and was surrounded by three wings extending to the left, right and rear of the structure.

  • Five bronze doors between the columns served as entrances to the Hall of Heroes.

  • The front wing encloses the Hall of Heroes and the four regional rooms representing East, West, North, and South Texas. Each room is decorated with murals reflecting the history of its area.

  • The Hall of Heroes was decorated in colored marble, aluminum and inset with six life sized bronze statues of: Stephen F Austin, Sam Houston, Mirabeau B Lamar, Thopmas J Rusk, Colonel JW Fannin and William Barrett Travis. It was 20 feet wide, 140 feet long and was the center or hub of the three wings. The rear wing was 160 feet deep.

  • The central portion of the building was called The Niche of Heroes and contained, amongst other notables, an eight foot decorated statue of an Indian.

  • Sculptures in front of the Centennial building were designed by Lawrence Tenney Stevens. 

  • A 70 foot wide and 700 foot long reflecting pool divides the sculptures and buildings.

  • The Great Hall of Texas (aka the Hall of the Six Flags) occupied the entire central wing. It was 66 feet wide by 90 feet long with a forty-five foot ceiling. In contrast, the ceilings of the other wings were 22 feet high.

  • At the far end of the Great Hall was a 24 foot bronze disc weighing several tons that was suspended from the ceiling. It represented Texas and its colorful history.

  • Built-in skylights illuminate the murals.

  • Eugene Savage of New York painted the murals on the north and south walls. He was assisted by two local men, Reveau Basset and James Buchanan Winn, Jr. They are 
    30 feet tall by 80 feet long.

  • The Lecture Room was in the basement. It had a marble stair entrance, a lecture stage and seating for 800 people.

  • The materials used in building the monument came entirely from Texas - cement, granite, limestone, marble and timber. The only exception being the steel framework.

  • The state of Texas leased the Hall of State to the city of Dallas after the Exposition.

  • The lower level of the museum, the lecture room, contains a library and archive of rare Texas books and manuscripts.

  • The Hall of State is now home to the Dallas Historical Society.

  • Images of the Hall of State, Fair Park, Dallas from Bluffton College in Ohio.


Links, Resources, Sources



Books, Printed Material


  • Official Souvenir Guide. Texas Centennial Exposition, Dallas. Texas Centennial Central Exposition. John Sirigo. 1936.



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