Pamphlet: Groundbreaking

Schaefer Center at the New York World's Fair will consist of two domed buildings, housing a restaurant and an exhibition hall, and an old-fashioned beer garden. Architects are Eggers and Higgins and Walter Dorwin Teague Associates are the designers.

SOURCE: Groundbreaking Brochure, The Schaefer Center

Excerpts from transcription of remarks made by Schaefer and World's Fair officials at the groundbreaking ceremonies for Schaefer Center, New York World's Fair, Thursday, April 25, 1963.

WILLIAM BERNS [Vice President, Communications and Public Relations]: Members of the press, this is a happy occasion for us. Almost from the very outset we knew there was going to be fun at the Fair because Schaefer announced its participation early. Just the mention of the name is enough to indicate fun, because it is a familiar name. With the name goes a great deal of tradition: the 300th anniversary of the City of New York and the 122nd anniversary of the Schaefer Brewing Company. All of us at the Press Building know that there's going to be a great deal of activity connected with the fun in this building. We are delighted that Eggers and Higgins, an enthusiastic group, are architects and designers of the building. Incidentally, Eggers and Higgins also were architects for this Press Building. Designers for the interior of the Schaefer Center are Walter Dorwin Teague Associates, and George A. Fuller Company is in charge of construction.

I think most of us are familiar with the head of the Schaefer Company. He is known, among other things, for his great interest in sports activities, and consequently we feel that his interest will also be evident when the sporting events are held in connection with the U.S. Olympic Trials in New York City next year. We are delighted to present the chairman and president of The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company, Mr. Rudie Schaefer.

THEN AND NOW - R.J. Schaefer, president of The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co. watches as Robert Moses (seated), president of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, breaks ground for the Schaefer Center (photo right). Twenty-four years ago (left), R. J. Schaefer (standing), and 1939-1940 World's Fair President Grover Whalen, performed the same ceremony.
Groundbreaking Then and Now

MR. RUDIE SCHAEFER: Thank you. Mr. Moses, distinguished guests and friends. I am pleased to welcome all of you who have taken time to join us in the brief groundbreaking ceremony for the Schaefer Center, II. I say the second, because I can recall quite vividly a moment very similar to this in 1938, when I had the pleasure of breaking round for the first Center, with the help of the late Grover Whalen, president of the World's Fair at that time.

While faces and themes change with the passing of twenty-four years, the enthusiasm and expectations that accompany such a time and occasion are very much the same. As I look around today, I see the same panorama of activity, hear the same sounds of construction, and sense the same excitement of things to come. The equipment is modern and a little different, but it is still manned and operated by the same lauded and wonderful men who have always taken such great pride in their accomplishments.

I said at our site twenty-four years ago that I was thrilled by the anticipation of what lay ahead, and extremely proud of our participation. Today, my anticipation and my pride are even more abundant, more so because I know now what lies ahead: the magnificent structures that will soon blossom up all around us, the thrill of opening day, the millions of visitors from all over the world parading through the streets and exhibits, the spectacular displays and the education, the entertainment, the excellent food and, of course, the good beer.

Standing here, I can also recall the many predictions that so many of us made concerning the great prospects for the 1939-1940 World's Fair. As optimistic as I was at that time, I don't think anyone could ever have evaluated the success of that Fair beforehand, a success that was not necessarily measured by the number of people who passed through the gates, or even by the number of glasses of beer that were consumed. A success that was measured intangibly -- measured by the efforts of the masses of people who presented exciting ideas, and measured by the considerable amount of good will that was created.

Observing and hearing about the wonderful project now under way, I sincerely believe that the World's Fair of 1964-1965 will present to its millions of visitors some of the most memorable moments of their lives. We at Schaefer hope, intend and plan to be a part of this memory, just as we were back in 1939.

Even today, old friends of mine still recall our big 122-foot bar, and our Court of Fame, where many of the well-known personalities of the stage left their imprints in cement. For 1964, we plan to blend some of this atmosphere of the past with new concepts in structure and design. We will use plastic and Fiberglas combined with steel, wood, aluminum and glass. The unusual feature of floating roofs and the modern techniques of lighting will be among the more notable new concepts. These will be combined with a Restaurant of Tomorrow, featuring the finest in food and drink, an old-fashioned outdoor beer garden, and displays which will trace the 122-year-old history and growth in this country of America's oldest lager beer.

I am quite naturally excited about our plans, and consequently a little eager to get things rolling. One final thought though, about the role Schaefer will play in this Fair: we feel that we have a significant contribution to make to the theme of Peace through Understanding, and we intend to do so by providing the Fair guests with the real spark of friendship -- a glass of wonderful beer. I thank you, and I join you in all of the basic hopes and prayers for the future of mankind in which this Fair can play such a very important part. Thank you.

ROBERT MOSES: Mr. Berns, Mr. Schaefer and friends. I was delighted with the picture that Rudie showed me of Grover Whalen at the Schaefer grounbreaking for the 1939 Fair.

When we were starting work here at the Fair, I was talking to one of our friends about the theme -- the symbol, and we got down to what it really is that unites the world -- the cement, the thing that holds the world together, the thing that brings people into brotherhood and friendly relations. We concluded that probably it was beer; that was the one thing that brought all people together. I really mean that. I think there's a lot in it and I hope the frothing rivers of beer will flow as the result of this exhibit.

Real talent, enthusiasm, skill and ingenuity have gone into this design. I like the idea of fun; I like the idea of the Beer Garden; I like the idea of entertainment. And I think these will carry a better message than if you just had a bottling plant and nothing else.

Robert Moses, Fair president, presents the World's Fair medal to R. J. Schaefer, president of the F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co. Beside them is a model of the Schaefer Center.
Moses presents Medal

We are delighted to have this company here, and to have Rudie back again.

The difference in cost between a show and exhibit for the 1939 Fair and one for this Fair is not the only thing that you have to think about. The fact of the matter is, these shows that we are getting here -- these pavilions and exhibits -- are on a totally different scale. They represent much more ingenuity than those of the 1939 Fair.

The difference between the General Motors Futurama in 1939 and the Futurama of General Motors today is not measured by the difference between eight million dollars and the forty-plus million dollars which they've gone into. It's on a much more impressive basis, and it's designed for many more people to see.

Well again, thank you, and Rudie, we'll be here to take the froth off the first glass of beer.