Sunday, August 26, 2007

Photos: The Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield, Mass., September, 1936

In the Fall of 1917, at the dawn of America's involvement in the Great War, back when folks still used a covered wooden bridge to cross the Connecticut river between the urban-industrial clamor of Springfield and the farms and meadows on its verdant West Side, Joshua L. Brooks and 12 others began what has become known as "The Big E," the Eastern States Exposition, an event turned "New England's Autumn Tradition," held annually in the town of West Springfield, Massachusetts. The event's first year saw a total of 138,000 people visiting the 175-acre fairgrounds on Memorial Avenue, viewing exhibits extolling the latest man-made innovations and conveniences and attending agricultural shows of livestock and produce representing six States. Today, the Exposition draws over one million people annually during its 17-day run. Check out the Exposition's web site for more information at:

Here are some photographs of the September, 1936, Eastern States Exposition from the Library of Congress. The captions are from the LOC web site, with my corrections in italics. After all, the Exposition is in West Springfield, not Springfield. Let's give credit where credit is due - and the townspeople of West Springfield certainly deserve a boatload of credit for helping stage an annual event that brings back fond memories for so many of us, and promises to create many more warm reminiscences for generations to come.

Interesting in these photos is the fact that most of the men are dressed in suit coat, shirt and tie, and the majority of them wear hats, which almost certainly were doffed at the proper times, ie. upon initially meeting a lady, or when entering a building. Of course, the women are also dressed to impress in their hats and fine dresses. Even an agricultural fair didn't lend an excuse for the poor manners of sloppy attire back in the day.

"Scrubbing saddle at Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Cattle judging contest at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Cattle experts at the stock show, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Practical exhibition of farm equipment always finds the interested, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Trailer display at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"The trailer finds an important place at the 1936 fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts"

"The dynamometer used in the horse-pulling contest, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Spectators at the horse-pulling contest, Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

"Stable man at the Eastern States Fair, West Springfield, Massachusetts."

Here are links to a couple of related EWM posts: The Captain John Potter House, Storrowtown Village, West Springfield, Massachusetts and The Little Red Schoolhouse, Storrowtown Village, West Springfield, Mass.

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care!

More Fairs and Festivals in Western Massachusetts

Photograph Sources:
(Top left) "Carousel Horse," Big E web site.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection; Carl Mydans, Photographer; Sept., 1936; Digital IDs: Photo 1: fsa 8a02763, 2: fsa 8a02784, 3: fsa 8a02778, 4: fsa 8a02766, 5: fsa 8a02770, 6: fsa 8a02769, 7: fsa 8a02793, 8: fsa 8a02798, 9: fsa 8a02786.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for this historical trip to the Big E. I enjoyed New England's largest fair with my Dad yesterday. (smile) said...

i certainly would have picked up a brochure for that York trailer. Looks pretty sweet.