A Guide to HemisFair '68 history and resources at UTSA Libraries

HemisFair Timeline, 1962-1968

HemisFair '68 postcard HemisFair '68 postcard


January 28, 1962

U.S. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez meets with William Sinkin, a leading local department store executive to discuss a "Fair of the Americas" to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of San Antonio.

February 15, 1962

Gonzalez and William R. Sinkin meet with 38 other leading civic leaders at the Grenada Hotel. A nine-man Planning Council is established and spends the remainder of the year collecting and analyzing data and meeting with, and lobbying, local business, political and commercial leaders.

December 29, 1962

San Antonio Fair, Inc., is granted a charter by the State of Texas. Incorporators for the organization are Sinkin, James M. Gaines (a broadcasting executive with WOAI radio and television stations), and H. B. (Pat) Zachry (industrialist, construction magnate and philanthropist).

January-March 1963

Economics Research Associates (ERA) of Los Angeles is commissioned by the San Antonio Fair, Inc., to conduct a preliminary economic feasibility study of a fair in San Antonio. Favorable results are released on April 3. ERA conducts a series of subsequent studies as well.

April 1963

Underwriting campaign under the direction of businessman Marshall T. Steves is officially launched. National Bank of Commerce makes the initial pledge of $100,000 on March 23.

April 11, 1963

The first Executive Committee of San Antonio Fair, Inc., is formed. Permanent officers are: Honorary Co-Chairmen of the Board, Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and Mayor Walter W. McAllister; Chairman of the Board, H.B. (Pat) Zachry; President, William Sinkin; Vice-Presidents, Marshall Steves and James M. Gaines; Secretary, John Daniels; and Treasurer, Bill Flannery.

October 9, 1963

The original underwriting goal of $6 million is surpassed. More than $7.5 million in pledges had been received by the end of September 1963.

December 23, 1963

Ewen C. Dingwall, former Vice-President and General Manager of Century 21, the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, is named Executive Vice-President.

January 23, 1964

The historic German-English School, built in 1868, is chosen as headquarters for HemisFair executive offices.

January 28, 1964

A seven-proposition $30 million bond issue, which includes provisions for a new civic center and the city's portion of the Urban Renewal land purchase price is overwhelmingly approved by local voters in every city precinct.

February 1, 1964

A 90-acre site in downtown San Antonio is selected and approved and site architects engineers begin correlating designs.

February 18, 1964

First annual meeting of Board of Directors.

March 11, 1964

Frank Manupelli is named General Manager.

April 1964

O'Neil Ford and Allison Peery are named as coordinating and site planning architects.

April-May 1964

Robert Benjamin, of InfoPlan, a Mexico City public relations firm, tour Central and South America and begin cultivating contacts for HemisFair.

June 29, 1964

HemisFair staff moves from temporary quarters to the newly renovated top floor of the north building of the German-English School.

August 1964

Promotional tours begin in major Mexican cities.

October 1, 1964

Formal discussions regarding federal participation begin at a seminar in Washington D.C. featuring keynote speaker Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Mann, President Lyndon Baines Johnson's top Latin American expert.

October 1, 1964

William W. Phillips of Paris, France, appoint HemisFair European Coordinator and official liaison to the Bureau of International Expositions (B.I.E.), the official governing body recognizing and regulating world's fairs.

October 28, 1964

Urban Renewal Agency allocates nearly $12.5 million for purchase of the fair site. By the end of October 1964, a total of nearly $50 million had been pledged to support HemisFair.

November 24, 1964

William Sinkin resigns as President due to business pressures. He remains as an advisor and is named an additional Honorary Co-Chairman and head of the Opening Events Coordinating Committee.

November 26, 1964

The initial land purchase of the fair site is made.

December 8, 1964

Marshall Steves is elected President to replace Sinkin. John H. White is elected First Vice-President. Seven other vice presidents are named in a radical realignment of the board structure.

January 1, 1965

Architectural offices open in HemisFair headquarters.

February 9, 1965

Texas Secretary of State Ben Barnes addresses the second annual Board of Directors meeting.

March 2, 1965

Formal application for U.S. participation and endorsement is submitted.

April 6, 1965

Official rules and regulations conforming to B.I.E. standards are adopted.

May 4, 1965

Ewen C. Dingwall resigns as Executive Vice-President over a difference of opinion on policies with the Executive Committe. Dingwall remains actively involved with the fair, becoming a Washington consultant and publishing a weekly newsletter for HemisFair executives regarding federal participation.

May 12, 1965

William Phillips gives preliminary presentation to B.I.E. in Paris. Texas State Senate passes HemisFair Bill appropriating $7.5 million.

May 27-28, 1965

Texas State House of Representatives passes bill of $4.5 million at request of Governor John Connally.

June 21, 1965

Companion Bills are introduced in U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and the U.S. Senate by Senate Ralph Yarborough requesting funding for a study of federal participation in HemisFair.

August 2, 1965

Fair dates (April 6 through October 6, 1968) are set by Executive Committee.

August 12, 1965

James Gaines is named Executive Vice-President.

September 14, 1965

Governor John Connally accepts appointment as Commissioner General of Fair.

September 28, 1965

Senate Passage of HemisFair bill. HemisFair symbol is developed and officially adopted.

October 1965

Marshall Steves, Paul Howell and Carlos Freymann tour 13 European capitols lobbying for B.I.E. support.

October 6, 1965

HemisFair bill passes unanimously by House.

October 21, 1965

Favorable review of HemisFair application by B.I.E. classification committee.

October 22, 1965

House and Senate agree on HemisFair bill. President Johnson signs the bill officially recognizing the HemisFair and appropriating $125,000 for a preliminary study and architectural fees.

November 11, 1965

President Johnson signs a proclamation authorizing Secretary of State Dean Rusk to invite foreign countries to participate in the HemisFair and also recognizing Governor Connally as Commissioner General of the Fair.

November 17, 1965

Official approval by the Bureau of International Expositions.

December 29, 1965

Secretary of State Rusk sends invitations to 114 countries to participate in HemisFair.

January, 1966

Urban Renewal Agency turns site over to the city.

January 15, 1966

Governor Connally unveils plans for Institute of Texan Cultures (Texas State Pavilion) at press conference.

January 28, 1966

Pearl Brewing Co. becomes the first of 19 industrial exhibitors to announce participation.

March 1966

HemisFair medal is signed into law by President Johnson.

April 1, 1966

Lady Bird Johnson visits fair site.

April 7, 1966

Mexico becomes the first of 23 foreign governments to announce participation.

July 24-August 1, 1966

Governor Connally leaves for a Latin American good will tour. He signs Panama on July 26. On August 1, he has to cut his trip short because of the Charles Whitman sniper shootings at the University of Texas at Austin.

August 9, 1966

Agreement is reached on preservation of 20 historic homes on fair site. Tower of the Americas construction let to H.A. Lott, Inc. and Darragh & Lyda, Inc. ("Lyda-Lott").

September 1, 1966

House passes $10 Million HemisFair bill.

September 14, 1966

James Gaines resigns.

September 15, 1966

Official visiting B.I.E. delegation arrives.

October 6-7, 1966

Senate and House pass $7.5 million HemisFair bill.

October 8, 1966

Final home on site is turned over to the fair.

October 16, 1966

President Johnson signs HemisFair bill.

October 21, 1966

Senate-House Committee vote $6.75 million appropriation for federal participation.

October 26, 1966

President Johnson signs appropriation bill.

November 16, 1966

Frank Manupelli named Executive Vice-President, replacing Gaines.

December 3, 1966

Bonds for Tower of the Americas construction is approved 2-1 by voters.

December 6, 1966

Mural by Carlos Merida is commissioned.

February 15, 1967

Pearl Pavilion groundbreaking

February 20, 1967

Institute of Texan Cultures groundbreaking

February 28, 1967

James Gaines recalled (he would later resign again).

March 2, 1967

New York Press Conference

March-April 1967

Latin American Ambassadors Visit

April 8, 1967

Federal Pavilion groundbreaking

September 19, 1967

Texas International Trade Center is announced.

September 26, 1967

Woman's Pavilion is announced.

April 6, 1968

HemisFair '68 opens.

October 6, 1968

HemisFair '68 closes.

Images: HemisFair '68 postcards, San Antonio Fair, Inc. records, UTSA Libraries Special Collections.