International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism
The International exhibition of hydropower and tourism (French: Exposition internationale de la houille blanche et du tourisme) was an exhibition which ran from May 21 to October 25, 1925 in the city of Grenoble in France, in order to dedicate the city, the capital of "white coal".
In 1925, Grenoble was the site of an international exhibition on hydroelectric power and tourism. This exhibition gave credit to the people of Grenoble, and the industrial Aristide Bergès in particular, for harnessing the driving force of water rushing down from the mountains. This was also an opportunity for Grenoble to celebrate the new industries of tomorrow. Suggested by Paul Mistral, the mayor of Grenoble, the project was backed immediately by the support of Léon Perrier, president of the General Council of the Isère. Hydroelectricity is at the origin of the Dauphiné capital's economic development.
Tourism began to develop in the Alps since the beginning of the twentieth century, with the first bus trips. Hydropower had been developing since the 1870s with the control of waterfalls in the mountains. Paper industry was growing well thanks to leaders like Aristide Berges, Felix Viallet and Joseph Bouchayer.
Close to the ancient town, land was acquired from the military, not without difficulty, and adapted in record time with lot of different buildings, as the Palais de la Houille Blanche.
The event was of utmost importance, the exhibition hosts over one million visitors in five months. "The victory of man over nature, the domination of the forces of the mountains by man", said Paul Mistral. He also inaugurated a new industrial and urban town development scheme.
The site has become a city park in 1926, called Parc Paul Mistral since the death of the mayor in 1932.
Today, the only building remaining of this exhibition in the park, is the Tour Perret, closed to the public since 1960.
- Exposition internationale de la houille blanche et du tourisme : Rapport général par Raoul Blanchard ; Grands établissements de l'imprimerie générale, Municipal library of Grenoble.
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