Bell System construction photos

Building the Bell System pavilion was truly a massive undertaking. The main structure was an elaborate weave of massive steel girders, as seen in this view from June 26, 1963, and required the expertise of a bridge building company to set it all in place. Even seemingly small tasks, such as erecting a microwave tower, were actually significant undertakings. The photos on this page show just some of the steps in that process.

View from Pool of Industry

Taken from the site of the Pool of Industry, this view captures the unfinished Travelers Insurance and Bell System pavilions on the day the microwave tower was put into place. (CD #TBD Set 754 #12)

View from Bell System

Things were quite chaotic throughout the Fair site. This view was taken from the Bell System pavilion and looks out across the very unfinished Pool of Industry. The IBM pavilion is taking shape under a mesh of scaffolding, but only a circular core marks the site of Du Pont near the center. Construction debris can be seen everywhere. (CD #TBD Set 754 #1)

General Electric

General Electric was one of the first pavilions to be constructed, and it looks substantially complete at this stage. The Tower of Light on the right looks like it has quite a ways to go. (CD #TBD Set 754 #3)


American Bridge, the company that built the Bell System framework, was also busy elsewhere on the site. Here the Unisphere is seen as it nears completion. The center mast that supported the pieces as they were assembled is still in place as workers toil on temporary platforms suspended from the longitudinal lines of the Unisphere itself. (CD #TBD Set 754 #15)

Microwave tower sections

A series of trucks added to the confusion when they hauled the pieces of the microwave tower to the site. (CD #TBD Set 754 #7)

Microwave tower section

This view shows how large the pre-fabricated steel sections were. Although the Fair would only be open for two years, the tower had to be able to withstand hurricane force winds. (CD #TBD Set 754 #10)

Crane lowering section

A giant crane was needed to lift the steel sections into place. Here the first section is moved towards the concrete base where a series of large bolts is ready to hold the tower. I bet everyone was quite worried about getting them aligned with the holes in the steel section! (CD #TBD Set 754 #11)

The pieces fit

Happily the tower did fit into place as planned. (CD #TBD Set 754 #6)

Work continues

With the first segment in place, the next one is moved up so the waiting crane can lift it up to continue the process. This continued until the tower was finally all put together, reaching a height of 140 feet. (CD #TBD Set 754 #13)

Fountain of Planets

The first section of the tower can also be seen in this view showing work underway on the Fountain of the Planets. (CD #TBD Set 754 #5)

Wiring frame

Much more work was needed to get the tower ready for use, including covering it in panels that concealed the steel tube, and a great deal of wiring. There was a lot of pressure to get this job done on time, as most of the Fair's telephone and video circuits needed it to connect to the outside world. The Bell System rose to the occasion and the facility went online as planned.

Two years later all of this was being ripped out. (CD #TBD Set 754 #18)

Bell System construction aerial photos

Industrial Area pavilions