World War II and the Better Philadelphia Exhibition

World War II and the Better Philadelphia Exhibition

World War II and the Better Philadelphia Exhibition

Bacon left his job at the Housing Association in December of 1943 to enlist in the U.S. Navy in World War II. Coming from a strict pacifist Quaker heritage, he was the first in his family to serve in the military. By this time, he and Ruth had two children. The family traveled to various stationing locations, and then Bacon was sent to the South Pacific, where he served as Quartermaster Second Class aboard the U.S.S. Shoshone.

Back in Philadelphia, Bacon’s friend, architect Oskar Stonorov, and Robert Mitchell came up with the idea to develop a major exhibition to educate the public about what city planning is, and what it can achieve. Stonorov and Louis Kahn worked together at the time, and Kahn soon became part of the project. Stonorov invited Bacon to be co-designer, while still in the Navy. When Bacon was discharged and returned home in 1945, he joined the team to design the exhibition.