of the Coca-Cola pavilion, published by Dexter Press*
The visitor to this exhibit samples five of the most spectacular
places in the world, from an Alpine peak to a tropical forest -
complete with sights, sounds, climate, and aromas. The scenes
are created in an eliptical building two stories high enclosing a large
court. In the center of the court is the Coca-Cola Tower, a
three-sided 120-foot spire containing the world's largest electronic
carillon, with 610 bells. It strikes the hours at the Fair
and is played in concerts by famous carillonneurs. Among the
other attractions are a special amateur radio center and a USO lounge
and information center for servicemen.
"World of Refreshment." During
a 15-minute stroll, visitors pass through the following re-creations of
bustling Hong Kong street filled
with colorful shops, ends at the shore of a Fragrant Harbor with its
view of Kowloon on the mainland of China in the distance.
A serene Indian garden, where
fountains softly play, has the beautiful Taj Mahal in the background.
A Bavarian ski lodge
is located in a mountain setting; through the windows can be seen the
A Cambodian forest echos
to the chatter of monkeys and contains the 12 Century temple at Angkor
Rio de Janeiro,
glittering at night, is viewed from a cruise shop anchored in the
harbor. The interior of the ship is reproduced with careful
authenticity. Salt spray is in the air.
Radio. Members of
the American Radio Relay League operate a superb three-position sending
and receiving station that is capable of reaching all the way around
the globe. The station is available for licensed operators to
Canteen. A lounge of the United Service
Organizations is linked by phone to the USO's Times Square Center.
Attendants help servicemen obtain tickets to attractions in
the New York area; in addition, they supply travel information.**
"World of Refreshment" walk-through attraction was a highly-detailed
series of scenes which allowed the visitor to experience exotic
destinations at their own pace. Several news outlets reported
as being one of the highlights of the Fair, citing Coca Cola's superb
attention to detail. Sights, sounds, and even smells were
re-created for the viewer's enjoyment. At the end of the
walk-through portion of the exhibit, visitors were introduced to Coca
Cola products sold around the world...much in the same way today's
"World of Coke" exhibit in Atlanta does.
During the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair's two seasons, the120 foot tall
Americana", was played by Official Carillonneur John Klein, who had
played at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair and was the Official
Carillonneur at the Seattle World's Fair just two years prior.
the time of the Fair, the 610 bell Coca-Cola carillon was the largest
in the world. It was also one of the first electronic
ever built. In order to accommodate such a large number of
in one instrument, the carillon used tiny "rods of traditional cast
bronze which produce pure bell tones when struck with miniature
hammers." All of these bronze rods were housed in large
which were controlled by electronic relays wired directly to a keyboard
at the base of the tower. From this keyboard, the
could select and play a variety of bell types, including
"Gothic", "Flemish" and more...each having a unique sound profile.
To deliver the sound from these bell rods (some the size of a
pencil) to the pavilion's visitors, some 60 speakers were mounted
inside the carillon's signature tower.
While the Coca-Cola
pavilion, with it's beautiful design, amazing walk-through attraction,
Ham Radio operation, and majestic bell tower weren't nearly as popular
or memorable as their competitor's attraction, it served a very large
number of World's Fair visitors and has a special place in many
conclusion of The Fair, the tower
and carillon were carefully dismantled and shipped to Stone Mountain
Park near Coca-Cola's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
There, the tower was redesigned slightly, a few extra bell
cabinets with additional bells were added, and the whole thing was
installed in a beautiful
forest setting. The Coca-Cola Company donated the now
732-bell carillon to
the park for all to enjoy.
Fair, the keyboard was displayed in a glass enclosure at the
base of the tower so everyone could watch the Carillonneur play.
For the installation at Stone Mountain Park, the glass
enclosure was separated from the tower and placed on the side of a hill
with its own viewing area
overlooking a lush, lakeside setting.
cabinets, which were housed on the second floor of the
eliptical building during The Fair, were relocated to a climate
controlled room directly beneath the glass keyboard enclosure during
the Stone Mountain Park installation.
redesigned bell tower was installed on a small peninsular island at the
end of a narrow walkway. Surrounded by trees, the updated
design blends almost seemlessly with its new surroundings, thus adding
to the beauty of the park. Visitors can walk a path from the
keyboard enclosure to the tower and
stand under it should they wish to view the dedication plaque.
remainder of the pavilion, which included samples of Coca-Cola products
from other countries, lives on (in a way) at the company's "World of
Coke" exhibit in Atlanta, Georgia. The detailed scenes from
around the world which were part of the Coca-Cola pavilion's World's
Fair exhibit, however, have been lost to time and are no longer
remnant of the World's Fair is regularly maintained by the park's
operators and lovingly operated by the current Carillonneur.
visited the Coca Cola Carillon in early July of 2016. It was
trip during a visit with friends who lived in the nearby town of
Athens, Georgia. Being World's Fair fans, themselves, it
take much to talk them into going to visit the Carillon with me.
entering the park and driving along winding roads through the lush,
forested park, we arrived at the small parking area which serves the
Carillon concert viewing area. The viewing area is on the
road which encircles the park, but it is in an area where there is very
little else to see. In a way, it's one of the "hidden gems"
Stone Mountain Park... perhaps a little too hidden.
from one car in the "Reserved for Carillonneur" space, we were the only
car in the lot. We began
walking down the path
towards a trainquil, covered and stone-walled area.
contains terraced levels of natural stone and concrete which serves as
seating and wraps around a circular enclosure made of glass.
Inside, the Carillon's keyboard is clearly visible from any
seat in the area.
Looking out through an opneing in the trees onto the area beyond the
seating area is a serene lake and a peninsula. Poking out above the
trees in the distance at the end of the peninsula like something out of
The Lord of the Rings, is the Carillon's bell tower.
the enclosure immediately in front of us, the brown and beige Carillon
keyboard sits on Coca-Cola
red carpet. As we ogled
the space, we realized we were looking at a slice
the Fair with our own eyes...and two of us got a little teary at the
The ceiling in the room is an up-lit expanse of white, divided into
pizza-like slices by white supports which radiate out from a central
point to become the columns holding up the circular roof.
after our arrival, a spry little woman appeared
out of nowhere and proceeded to let herself into the keyboard
enclosure. We would later learn that this is Mabel Sansing
who has played for over 30 years and is only the third
Carillonneur to play the Coca Cola Carillon. She sat down
quietly at the keyboard and in moments, the air was filled with the
sounds of the bells. We looked out over the lake to the
where the tower peeks out over the tops of the trees like something out
of Lord of the Rings and listened as the music was carried to us on the
patirotic concert of American standards,
Mabel emerged from the enclosure and came over to chat with us.
We explained that we were World's Fair fans and her face lit
She asked us to wait, and proceeded to go fetch a very thick
three-ring binder from the enclosure. Inside were photos from
Fair, the time when it was installed at Stone Mountain Park, photos of
the bell cabinets (complete with an actual bell rod taped to the
page!), and some additional news clippings which featured the Carillon.
Each of the
Carillon's bells is a finely-tuned polished brass rod, roughly the same
width as a #2 pencil, connected to an electronic system which amplifies
the sound it makes when a tiny little hammer hits it.
The sound is then transmitted by wire to one of over 60 specialized
speakers in the bell tower. What we hear as observers is the
actual tone the rod makes, reproduced in the highest fidelity.
a lengthy discussion where she patiently answered all our questions and
told us a few of her favorite stories (did you know the Carillon is a
"she" and that she doesn't like stormy weather?), she invited us into
the enclosure for some up-close-and-personal time with the keyboard.
After telling us all about the various classifications of bells and the
different types of sounds they make, she invited me to play a few
I may have cried a little bit... I'm not going to lie.
Mabel is an
absolute treasure trove of knowledge and
embodies the spirit of the Carillon. If you ever have the
opportunity to visit her or the Carillon at Stone Mountain Park, you
really must do so... and let her know "the guy with the World's Fair
bow tie" sent you!
our extremely rewarding and informative visit with Mabel, we took a
walk down the path to the bell tower.
It's a peaceful area, with benches along the walkway in case you'd like
to just stop and admire the natural setting. On either side,
the surrounding lake laps up against the stone retaining walls and a
fresh breeze crosses over from one side to the other. With no
other public areas in the immediate area, it's quiet... and the only
thing you'll hear are the sounds of birds until the next Carillon
At the end
of the walkway, you reach a small area on the tip of the peninsula
where the Carillon's bell tower and dedication plaque stand proud.
There are elements of the tower's original design still evident here.
The tall, vertical cedar slats, the tripod-style metal
columns (though now set up in a tiered setup) harken back to the
tower's original design at the Coca-Cola pavilion.
Under the tower, a brass dedication plaque is mounted to the stone base.
dedication plaque, a twin of which sits in a case near the keyboard
enclosure, reads "This 732 bell CARILLON AMERICANA, was originally
erected as a part of The Coca-Cola Company's exhibit at the New York
World's Fair of 1964/1965. It was presented to the State of
Georgia by The Coca-Cola Company as a symbol of friendship and as an
instrument for the enjoyment and edification of all visitors to the
Stone Mountain Memorial Park."
remnant of the New York World's Fair 1964/1965 is a living tribute to
the joy the Fair brought during its two-year run.
To experience it in person is something I wish for
everyone who considers themselves a fan!
this short video of Carillonneur Mabel Sansing Sharp performing during
my visit to the carillon in July 2016.
the area in the foreground gets dark, look off in the distance to the
left through the trees. Though the tower is way off in
the distance, the sound was loud and clear from our vantage point in
the viewing area. There are no additional speakers
installed there...the crisp, clear, and warm sound you are hearing is
coming from the
significance of this relic may be lost on the current operators of the
park, as they do not actively promote the carillon to park visitors in
any of their maps or pamphlets. Even their website has a relatively
blank page about this attraction. This means
visitors throughout the park can hear the carillon concerts, few people
know where the music comes from or that they may enjoy the concerts
(where they may watch the carillonneur) from the comfort of a beautiful
viewing area overviewing the lake and the island where the carillon now
the park, be sure to mention at the ticket booth that you are there to
the carillon. Should you be asked to take a survey during your visit,
be sure to specifically mention your interest in the carillon. When
posting photos to
social media, be sure to tag Stone Mountain Park so they will see your
post. You can also express your interest in the carillon by
contacting the park here.
you can do to draw positive attention to the carillon could result in
increased promotion, usage, or maintenance budget.
importantly, let the carillonneur know you are there to see this
still-operating attraction from the World's Fair. They will enjoy
knowing that their work to preserve and operate the carillon is
appreciated. If Mabel is there, she'll even break out the
history book and share a few amazing stories with you!
following individuals contributed towards making it possible for me to
visit and document this remnant of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.
I'd like to take a moment to personally thank them for
make my dream of personally visiting the remaining pavilions of the
World's Fair come true.
Sweet Little Baby Clementine
Mabel Sansing Sharp
This page is hereby dedicated to them.
*Postcard Image - Scanned from the personal collection of Jason "Tiki"
**Official Guidebook Information - Official
Guide New York World's Fair 1964/1965 (c.1964 Time Inc.)
is an unofficial New York World's Fair 1964/65 fan site and is in no
way affiliated with any single organization or group representing the
Some parts of this website may feature Copyrighted
material which belongs to others. In these cases, appropriate
recognition is given whenever possible. No
parts of this site are to be reproduced without permission.
Peace Through Understanding MADE IN THE U.S.A.