Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Ford Rotunda

I know its a little early for Christmas, but these Leon Reed 1955 Slides of the Ford Rotunda picture an era of automobile marketing, long since gone.

Ford Motor Company originally built the Rotunda, designed by Albert Kahn, for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. After the fair closed, Ford had the Rotunda disassembled and moved to Dearborn, Michigan, where it took 18 months to rebuild on a site directly across from Ford Motor Company's Central Office Building.

Constructed of a steel framework, over which Indiana Limestone was attached, the building resembled a stack of four gears, each decreasing in size toward the top. The Rotunda was opened to the public in Dearborn on May 14, 1936, and immediately became a top attraction.

The annual Christmas Fantasy held during the Holiday season was partially responsible for the Rotunda's popularity, with nearly a half million people visiting during 1953, the very first year it was held.

A giant Christmas tree was always a spectacular thing to see, and the Christmas Fantasy became more spectacular each year. In all, nearly 6 million people visited the Christmas Fantasy during the nine years it was held at the Rotunda.

Read more about the ultimate demise of the Ford Rotunda at Automotive Mileposts. To see some great automobile pics at the Rotunda check out the Stuff From the Park Blog. These slides are from the Leon Reed photostream on Flickr.

4 comments:

Major Pepperidge said...

I have a single (but nice!) exterior photo of the Rotunda, but these interiors are awesome! So sad that it burned down. I've always thought that the Ford building at the '64 World's Fair was built to intentionally resemble the original rotunda.

TokyoMagic! said...

Am I seeing correctly....none of those ornaments are actually ON the tree, right? It looks like they are all suspended by wire AROUND the tree.

ryan said...

your blog is awesome man! i added a link to you. i also posted a bunch more old motel postcards if you are interested in checking them out =)

Jim Dross said...

Ford hired my dad's company Detroit Popcorn Co. Every year my dad set up his Popcorn Machines and gave away Popcorn to everybody there during the employee Christmas party. Ford gave all of us kids a model car, candy, ice cream and my dads Popcorn. When I got old enough to operate a Popcorn Machine dad put me to work. It was a sad time in our lives when the disaster struck.