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Chicago Railroad Fair & Pageant

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Film Identifier: F.2005-01-0051
Run Time
0h 20m 50s
Date Produced
This educational film tells the history of carriage and locomotive transportation in the United States. The entire film is set outdoors near Chicago's lakefront and was shot during the 1948-1949 Chicago Railroad fair, which was organized to celebrate and commemorate 100 years of railroad history west of Chicago. A narrator provides facts while people in traditional costumes of Native Americans, settlers, and peasants act out the scenes of historical milestones. The film showcases antique trains, wagons, and carriages and explains their part in the development of the nation. Film is incomplete.
00:00 - people dressed as Native Americans and French voyagers led by Father Marquette and Joliet reenact the story of settlers reaching Lake Michigan near mouth of Chicago River in 1673, Native Americans on horseback and white settlers smoke peace pipe and part ways against a concrete background overlooking the lake that serves as a stage 01:18 - text says over the next century America was born, settlers push west and develop roads and railways for transportation, narrator gives background on inventions introduces SA var antique steam engine trains as they developed over time, examples are driven across screen, operated by men in historical dress, train stops to board passengers 03:51 - a race is proposed between horse and buggy and the Tom Thumb steam engine, the horse wins 04:42 - comically try to board a short woman into train car 05:58 - firemen wheel in wagons with water and hoses to fight a fire, realize it is smoke from The Pioneer locomotive, brought in wheat to Chicago, Chicago as a railroad center is born 06:50 - 1849 many families in covered wagons set off West to gold rush, hardship on the way, a young boy dies, family mourns 08:55 - 1859 Wells Fargo coach invented, large coach pulled by 4 horses rides into scene 09:11 - Pony Express, couriers quickly switch horses and take off in relay 09:23 - coach carrying gold gets robbed by cowboys 10:04 - 1861 Abraham Lincoln gives sad speech departing Springfield, IL to become President, rides off in wagon 12:55 - wounded Civil War soldiers walk across screen, train rolls in with freed African American men walking beside it 14:91 - 1856 first bridge build across Mississippi River, Native Americans on horseback shoot at settlers, run off by soldiers 14:58 - 1869 trains traveling from opposite coasts met at Promontory Point, name railroad that runs length of east to west the Union Pacific, people celebrate 16:19 - Santa Fe Engine stops to drop off passengers where they find food, culture, choir sings to onlookers 17:17 - men on horseback come shooting into scene, dance with the women in pretty dresses 18:01-19:27 - Minnetonka carries lumber, peasants come to farm in Mississippi valley, footage ends abruptly
Additional Credits
Conneely, Margaret (is contributor)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)