Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Black Forest Village - Century of Progress 1934

The postcard above has a panoramic drawing of the "Schwarzwald Dorf" which was a representation of  a German country village in the winter. The German Black Forest Village was one of the foreign villages at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. (Merrie England was one of the other villages and was featured in last week's Sepia Saturday post). Buildings had synthetic snow banked on roofs and artificial icicles hanging from eaves. There were a toboggan slide, a frozen mill pond, and air-conditioned buildings.

Here is how the Black Forest Village was described in the Official 1934 World's Fair Guidebook:
Ice skating exhibitions are given continuously on the mill pond. Surrounding the mill pond are picturesque village houses and shops in which are carried on German home industries. You see cuckoo clocks made, canes carved and a village blacksmith hammering out small useful articles. Home manufacture of Kirsch is one of the village activities. German orchestra and strolling musicians give the musical entertainment. The villagers are in the quaint German mountaineer costumes.
The postcards below show some of the Black Forest Village scenes published by Western Photogravure Co. of Chicago. Put on your walking shoes and join the fairgoers for a walking tour of the village.

Exterior View

North Gate

Street Scene

Old Watch Tower

The Promenade

Ice Pond

Visit Sepia Saturday
For More Vintage Images


  1. Those Century of Progress reproductions are amazing. The Black Forest Village looks very authentic, and for once I can say I'm speaking with some authority!

  2. An amazing visit! Such an impressive set of cards!

  3. I love the detail in the postcard.And the photographs have a wonderful haunting quality to them (especially The Street Scene one)
    An excellent set.

  4. What fun post cards. I love the last one with the ice skaters.

  5. Fake snow notwithstanding, it's chilling now to see that idealized Deutschland, considering what was happening in Europe at that time, soon to erupt into horror. This dangerous sort of romanticization... brr.

  6. I agree with Tony --- the photos have a haunting, breathtaking quality to them --- just downright visceral -- at least to me.

  7. You have revived my interest in postcards and I will have to look for my box.

  8. Another interesting set of cards. It does give you pause when you look at the idealized view given the date.

  9. I worked at Busch Gardens Williamsburg one summer where everything is a fantasyland like this. But the spectre of Hitler, who came to full power in the summer of 1934, looms over this village and makes it even colder. Chilling postcards.

  10. Wow. They put in a lot of effort for the expo but it looks like the attendances made it all worthwhile.

  11. Man would I love to stroll around in that neck of the woods today. Not so a few years ago. Great cards.

  12. I drove through the Black Forest some 20 years ago, and I'm afraid to report that none of the villages that I passed through looked quite as "twee" as your postcard pictures ... thank goodness. Interesting set of postcards.

  13. Wow, I don't think I ever quite got the scale of that huge Chicago exhibiton before

  14. It's amazing how bucolic things can look at the same time as horrors are unleased.

  15. The emphasis was on quaint, I see.
    The romantic notion we got from such places. Love the North Gate view.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...