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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 12, 1909

Grand Central Palace Automobile Show
Trellis Garden, Electrical Marble Fountain, Porte Cochere and Other Novel Features to be Used for Tenth Annual International Exhibition—Furniture and Surroundings to Harmonize With Color Scheme and Decorative Effect.

The managers of the American Motor Car Manufacturers' Association have perfected plans for the decoration of the interior of Grand Central Palace for their tenth International Automobile Show, which opens New Year's Eve.  The decorations, while beautiful and harmonious, are secondary to the cars, and will form a framework to bring out the perfection of line and details of coach work of the machines themselves.

Recognizing the fact that the motor car is essentially an outdoor vehicle, the decorators have parked the cars in a huge trellis garden or gigantic arbor which is entwined with climbing plants, beautiful flowers, singing birds, and plashing palms.

As many of the cars exhibited are made abroad, an effort has been made to make some of the decorations really international in character, and Italy, France, and Germany have been searched for little floral novelties that are in a way symbolical of the countries the cars represent.

Outside of the trellis garden idea, the decorative scheme involves a lattice and landscape effect, with the whole set forth by tens of thousands of glittering lights and huge chandeliers of electric balls of fire which will throw the pictorial scenes and the cars themselves into high relief.

One of the most spectacular features of the decorative scheme will be a huge electric marble fountain stationed at the end of the main hall where last year's statue of "Age Instructing Youth" was erected.  The base of this fountain will measure sixteen feet, and it will be over fourteen feet in height.  Back of the fountain will be a plate-glass mirror, and surrounding the two will be a peristyle of green trellis work forty feet in length by twenty-five feet in width.  At the base of the fountain and surrounding the peristyle will be planted low-growing trees, shrubbery, potted plants, and flowers.  The fountain itself, which involves some novel mechanical ideas, will be operated by a rotary pump, and the electrical effects will be produced by a combination of colored mirrors and electricity, which it is expected will excel anything of its kind ever seen in this country.

Another striking effect which will greet the visitors before they enter the building will be a beautiful porte cochere of green trellis work and frosted glass, which will be illuminated at night by hundreds of parti-colored electric lights, and the whole surmounted by a reproduction of "Miss Liberty at the Wheel," which is also outlined in electric lights.

Briefly, the color scheme and decorative effect for this year's show will be nile green lattice work on a soft caen stone background, while the roof will simulate a large trellis arbor hung with grape vines, through which the blue sky is faintly seen, and the whole is softly illuminated by scores of immense electric alabaster globes of light, which are hung by chains from the roof of the arbor.

The floor covering, which will also be of a soft green tone, is composed of a woven fabric, while specially designed garden furniture of the early English period will be used in all of the booths, and will harmonize with the whole general color scheme.

The signs, too, have been specially designed, and the names of the various exhibitors will appear in raised gilt Egyptian letters on a green ground surrounded by the usual lattice framework.  This idea will be followed all through the main floor, and the two upper galleries, except in the central court on the main exhibition floor, where trellis standards, surmounted by illuminated alabaster signs, will be employed.

The trellis garden scheme wills also be employed on the first and second galleries, with the arbor idea carried along the side walls, combined with a terraced garden effect on the west walls of the building.  Here soft-toned panels of formal gardens, interspersed with lattice work, will lend an air of breadth and spaciousness to the whole building.

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