Our City, Our History: 1968 World's Fair

(SBG San Antonio photo)

As we celebrate 300 years of San Antonio history, we want to give you a look at how other milestone birthdays were celebrated.

The 1968 World's Fair -- also known as "Hemisfair" -- was a way to celebrate the city's 250th birthday back in 1968.

In the late 1950s, Jerome K. Harris sparked a conversation at a San Antonio Chamber of Commerce meeting that would forever change San Antonio history. He suggested we celebrate the city's upcoming 250th anniversary, years down the road, by hosting the 1968 World's Fair.

He, along with an up and coming congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and then-governor John Connally, worked to make it all possible.It took private, state and federal funding.

"Connally will get on the phone and call his buddy, LBJ in the White House and it will go to the floors of congress. Henry B. Gonzalez and team would bring home the money to put on this World's Fair," said James Benavides with the Institute of Texas Cultures.

In preparation for the big event, several structures were built, including the Hilton Palacio del Rio, the Tower of the Americas and what's now the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

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