About this artwork
Beginning in 1929, the planning commission of the Century of Progress Exposition worked on developing a scheme for the fairgrounds, themes for major buildings, and a centerpiece of inspirational proportions. New York architect Ralph Walker, a member of the commission, proposed a Tower of Light and Water, which was a soaring skyscraper-scale sculpture set in a lagoon. Cascading water and the lavish use of artificial light were to add even more drama to the giant structure.
The Depression forced the commission to scale back its plans. A combination of financial doubts (the tower provided minimal rentable space) and technical uncertainties about the complex water feats forced the proposal’s demise. A structure called the Skyride was built in its place as the centerpiece of the Century of Progress. Visitors could ride the aerial gondola between the main fair ground and the Island, or climb one of the 600-ft. towers and have a spectacular view of the city.
Currently Off View
- Architecture and Design
- Voorhees, Gmelin and Walker (Architect)
- Tower of Water and Light, Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago, Illinois, Perspective
- Graphite on tracing paper
- 61 × 58.1 cm (24 × 22 7/8 in.)
- Restricted gift of Edward H. Bennett, Jr., Mrs. Michael Goodkin, Andrew McNally III, Mrs. C. Phillip Miller, Mrs. Roderick Webster, and James M. Wells in honor of Mrs. Eugene A. Davidson