Chicago Railroad Fair, which lasted from 1948 to 1949, commemorated 100 years of railroading in Chicago.
Dozens of railroads and railroad equipment manufacturers participated in the fair, which featured exhibits, reenactments, rides, musical shows, parades, and more.
One exhibit was an entire “Indian Village” created by the Santa Fe Railroad.
The village included tipis, hogans, a pueblo, an arts and crafts building, a medicine lodge and a trading post. (Here’s a map.)
The Santa Fe Railroad even brought in Hopi Indians from a reservation in Oraibi, Arizona, to live in the village and perform for fairgoers.
On September 23, 1949, a baby was born to Hopi parents Clara and Robert Lucas — described as a “blanket embroiderer” and a “doll maker,” respectively — in their one-room dwelling in the pueblo. (Their two older daughters were living there as well.)
The baby girl was named Seeva Fair Lucas. The name Seeva was derived from the Hopi word for railroad (one source says the full word is sivavö) and the middle name Fair effectively makes her name “Railroad Fair” — after the Chicago Railroad Fair.
Seeva’s parents also noted that the initials “S.F.” were a nod to the Santa Fe Railroad.
After the fair ended, the Lucas family returned to Arizona. Several newspapers mention Seeva’s 10th birthday party in 1959, and she attended high school in Holbrook, Arizona, in the mid-1960s.
(And here’s a cool fact: The Chicago Railroad Fair was one of the things that inspired Walt Disney in 1948 to draw up plans for the “Mickey Mouse Park” that eventually became Disneyland!)
- Chicago Railroad Fair – Wikipedia
- Albert, Roy and David Leedom Shau. A Concise Hopi and English Lexicon. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co., 1985
- “Papoose Born at Fair Given Railroad Name.” Chicago Tribune 24 Sep. 1949: 12.