7/11/36 - Great Lakes Expo by Former Saltsburger - #1 7/11/36 - Great Lakes Expo by Former Saltsburger - #1
2619 Eaton Rd., Cleveland, O., July 11, 1936

My Dear Saltsburg Friends:

This is an open invitation to come to Cleveland this summer, to visit the Great Lakes Exposition, and to see our beautiful city. Let me assure you that I am not a hired publicity writer; I am writing this of my own free will. My two great loves, municipally speaking, are Saltsburg and Cleveland, and it is my earnest desire to bring the two closer together. This summer is the auspicious time to make a beginning. I am a little late with my news about the Exposition, for some of you are already vacationing. But I hope you can slip away for a few days, to see a great show. Through Mr. Walker's kind intercession I was granted a free pass; and, like all amateurs, I am thrilled to pieces. The publicity department could furnish material that would give you a much more comprehensive view of the Expo, but I prefer to give you first-hand information; in other words, the Exposition as I see it. In the first place, be assured that you get your money's worth, several times over. The admission price is 50 cents (10 cents for children under twelve) with various concessions ranging in price from 10 cents to 50 cents. But there are many free exhibits, each a contribution of some company, state, or country. For instance, Florida's $250,000 exhibit, a magnificent thing, free to all comers, is worth the price of admission to the Expo.

The basic theme of our "Fair" is the "Romance of Iron and Steel," since that is the basis of the chief industry of the Great Lakes Region, but the Exposition has expanded to cover every phase of industrial, civic, and social life, with exhibits from all parts of the globe. With a lively imagination, the companion and guide of all true adventurers, you travel to Little America on Admiral Byrd's polar ship, the "City of New York," or glimpse far north via a real Eskimo and his "huskies". (I wonder how they like this weather - 97 deg. in the shade.) You may visit about forty countries in "Streets of the World". You may eat their native food and sip their special beverages. I can't begin to tell you all about it - this little city that has sprung up in 80 days, transforming an unsightly lake front into a thing of beauty. But I shall try to hit the high spots. I am determined not to miss a thing, not even a ride in the Blimp that floats gracefully overhead.

I took the boys down last Monday - children's day, admission half price. We saw a free show in the Marine Theater, a stage built out on the water, with a "lagoon" between stage and audience, where all kinds of fancy swimming and diving acts took place. We were fascinated with the graceful diving acts, the stunts of the dare-devil clowns, the life-saving demonstrations, the skillful deception of a magician, the prowess of an amazing young man, who can tear our thick telephone directory into sixteenths, drive eight-penny nails through a board with his hands, and break an iron chain. We heard our big Symphony Orchestra in the Sherwin-Williams Plaza; and a little farther on we heard lovely music emanating from the Firestone exhibit. I shall certainly take the boys to see that, for they have a real farmyard there. But we had certain things in mind for the first day. On our way to Byrd's ship, which Charlie had not seen, we passed a vender of turtles, or rather, we stopped, intrigued by the squirming little patches of red and turquoise blue, shipped from Florida to Chicago, where they were decorated for the Expo. "Amos n Andy" our living souvenirs, are doing nicely, thank you.

There is a real thrill in stepping on board the "City of New York," the ship of our intrepid explorers. It is good to know that the courage and fortitude of our forefathers has not died out, but is still seeking new worlds to conquer. This grand old ship, 52 years old, built to plow through ice jams, is of oak; the great beams and corner braces cut out of one solid piece, using the curving root and curving limb. The walls are 40 inches thick. At the top of the great center mast is the crow's nest, where the look-out man has sometimes been marooned for 24 hours, until the crew could cut away the coating of ice on the mast. In the lower part of the ship - or hold - is an interesting museum, containing paraphernalia used in the expedition, with two handsome guides to tell you all about it.

After a mere peep into the Hall of Progress, where we saw strange and intricate machinery, the most up-to-date printing press, huge airplanes, etc., we journeyed on with our precious baggage, the crated turtles, to see the huge python and boa constrictors, of which the boys had heard much. One of these monsters created a sensation here on Memorial Day by nearly killing its keeper. This would-be killer, curled up, in a separate compartment, looking very glum, is still nursing a sore jaw. On a carpeted floor, enclosed by a bamboo picket fence, lay stretched to their full length, a huge 30-foot python and two boa constrictors, one 27 feet long - and muzzled. The python lay so immobile that I questioned his being alive; so the keeper tickled his "ribs" to prove that he is very much alive - and ticklish. We found that we had walked a long way from our parking lot. Wearily we plodded back, stopping for a refreshing drink. Another time I shall take a Greyhound sightseeing bus, or if no one's on hand to give me the laugh, I'd like to try a shaded wheel chair, meant for gentle old ladies. The rick-shaws look most inviting, too.

Now for a final word of advice to all would-be visitors: Don't imagine that you can see the Expo in one day. You could easily spend a week there; but two days should be the least time spent, to see the main exhibits. If you have an eager mind and a love of beauty, you can have a grand time with a slim exchequer; but the amusement section guarantees to reduce the fattest purse, with its myriad attractions. I think you will find Cleveland friendly and hospitable, and the Exposition guides and officials most courteous and helpful. Virgil and I assure you that so long as we have an extra bed or cot, you need not worry about sleeping accomodations. With best wishes and a cordial welcome to Cleveland, I am,

Sincerely yours,
Florence B. Taylor (Mrs. V.J.)

P.S. - Next week I will tell you about the Florida exhibit, and perhaps a tour through the "Old World."

Great Lakes Expo #2

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