Friday, May 18, 2007

A Contemporary Tower

Although I never got to experience the 1964-65 World's Fair in Flushing Meadow, it has always fascinated me. One of my favorite things that Disney created for the Fair was the Tower of the Four Winds.

Designed for the entrance to "it's a small world," it stood 120 feet high and weighed 200,000 pounds. It was a working mobile, and featured 52 parts that, when caught by the wind, moved over 100 elements, such as a carousel with animals native to countries around the world. It was designed by Rolly Crump, a man with a richly diverse history with the Disney Company.

The Tower was well-received by the Fair-goers. It became a famous meeting point for groups and families, and could be seen from all over. Unfortunately, when the Fair closed, the Tower was unceremoniously cut up for scrap and allegedly thrown into the river. At an estimated cost of $80,000, it was just deemed too expensive to move back to Disneyland with the rest of the attractions.

Although the Tower of the Four Winds is gone, its memory lives on in quite an unexpected place. Tucked in by the elevators on the Grand Canyon Concourse (fourth floor) of the Contemporary Resort is a wonderful model of the Tower. It is not the most glamorous location for such a piece of Disney history, but it is still a nice inclusion, especially with its close proximity to the large murals designed by Mary Blair.