Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915
Brochure Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915 at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915 The World Meets in San Francisco Begin the walk under the rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts. Stop 1: Come to the Fair In 1915, San Francisco welcomed nearly 19 million people from all over the world for a grand experience, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The dramatic and ornate “Jewel City” stretched for three miles along San Francisco’s northern coastline. Each day, throngs of people visited the exposition, strolling along wide boulevards and elegant gardens, visiting massive palaces and pavilions that displayed the world’s cultures, art, objects and advances in technologies. For 288 days, the International Exposition exhibited human ingenuity, determination and a more connected world. The cultural and technological influences of the Exposition would spread from a local to a worldwide stage. 1 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco The Panama-Pacific Exposition Company, led by ambitious San Francisco businessmen and politicians, created the fair in part to celebrate the 1914 United States completion of the Panama Canal, an engineering wonder that shortened travel between the east and west coasts of North America by 8,000 miles. In planning this event, the company faced almost insurmountable trials: the destructive San Francisco earthquake, huge fundraising challenges, the massive infrastructure required to create a world’s fair and the violent beginning of the Great War in Europe. In 1904, Reuben Hale and his group of San Francisco Merchant Associates were so confident of the city’s economic role in the United States that they proposed to host an exposition. Like the very popular Chicago and St. Louis World’s Fairs, this exposition would draw visitors to their beautiful city, create significant revenue National Park Service 2 and highlight the city’s income potential. However, in April 1906, a violent earthquake hit San Francisco. The earthquake and subsequent fire, declared one of America’s worst natural disasters, destroyed five hundred city blocks and displaced over half of the city’s population. Despite the loss of their businesses, the San Francisco merchants held fast to their grand idea and continued to encourage political support for the fair, even as they rebuilt their shattered city. San Francisco citizens threw themselves into the city’s campaign to be the official Panama Exposition location. Their tremendous congressional lobbying and aggressive fundraising efforts paid off. In 1911, President Howard Taft declared San Francisco the official winning site, beating out New Orleans, San Diego, Boston and Washington, D.C. With just over four years to opening, the exposition managers launched into frenzied planning to design and construct the most impressive fair city ever experienced by the world. Fair planners, committees and artistic directors designed and constructed buildings, sculptures, gardens and every imaginable amenity for expected visitors. Walk north towards the San Francisco Bay. Carefully cross Marina Boulevard/ Mason Street, turn left and walk west staying on the paved trail that runs along Mason Street towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Stop after crossing the exit for East Beach and when the row of white buildings to your left ends. Turn to your left and face south, towards the Presidio. Stop 2: Inviting the World Directly in front of you were located the Canadian, Chinese and Argentinian pavilions, along the Avenue of Nations that ran diagonally from here to Lombard Street. In 1911, President Taft issued an invitation to the world, encouraging nations to participate in the fair and display their resources, their industries and their progress. Exhibition event planners suggested grand international events such as an Around the World Flight and a parade of world 3 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco The pavilion of Siam (today’s Thailand) portrayed a royal Buddhist temple (left). The Canadian Pavilion (right) was a massive structure. Though the exposition buildings appeared to be huge and imposing, they were constructed with their temporary lifespan in mind.Most had wood or steel framing, but were covered with wire and plaster for speed of construction and ease of removal at the end of the fair. Images courtesy of the California State Library. naval fleets; however, they had to abandon these plans with the onset of the war in Europe. Exposition President Charles Moore made a quick response to the press reports of war and questions about its impact on the fair… “Tragic as the situation was it opened new possibilities and set a new purpose for the Exposition: to help keep the torch of civilization burning and the feeling of international amity alive, and to go forward might become an instrument in the restoration of peace. The world needed the Exposition and its opening would not be postponed.” National Park Service 3 4 Though the war affected the anticipated scope and level of foreign participation, ultimately thirty-one nations were represented at the fair. International architects constructed twenty-one international pavilions, which filled the area before you, with designs reflecting the country’s architectural styles or historic buildings; for example, France based its pavilion on its Legion of Honor. Some countries constructed whole compounds--Italy’s pavilion linked multiple buildings with fountains, courts and colonnades while Japan’s pavilion included a large garden with water features and formal Japanese architecture. The visiting international participants filled their pavilions with exhibits and demonstrations that featured the best of their country’s art and culture and created a learning environment for visitors by bringing new understanding among and between cultures. Continue walking on the paved trail west along Mason Street. Stop across from the parking lot to Building 610 and look south, you can see the tops of the Montgomery Street Barracks, the row of large brick buildings on the Presidio’s Main Parade Ground. Stop 3: Partnering with the Military The Exposition Company was greatly dependent on a cooperative partnership with the U.S. Army, and their 300 acres of waterfront property, to make the fair a success. The City of San Francisco already had a developing relationship with the Presidio and Fort Mason commanding officers as during the 1906 earthquake the city relied heavily on the military to provide public safety and emergency shelter. The military agreed to lease their land in part because the Exposition Company, which came with a great deal of funding and political sway, offered to pay for infrastructure improvements, like pipelines from the Presidio’s water sources. When the fair’s designs for the west end of the Presidio waterfront required the relocation of the U.S. Life-Saving Station, the well-funded Company paid for the move. 4 5 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco A military band marches in one of the frequent parades along the Esplanade, the main east-west thoroughfare of the Exposition along the waterfront. Image courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library. The partnership between the Exposition Company and the military continued during the fair’s daily operations. The Company used active-duty and honorably discharged soldiers to serve as security guards and veterinary staff; the soldiers also provided full military honors for many ceremonies, events and parades. In turn, the Company offered benefits to the servicemen: uniformed military men received free admission to the fair and enjoyed exclusive facilities such as the Enlisted Men’s Club. After the fair closed permanently, the army officially reoccupied the land. They retained many of the landscape changes, took ownership of the infrastructure improvements and reused some of the fair buildings for several years. Continue walking west along the paved trail until you arrive at the grassy area of Crissy Field and a gravel path veers right, curving towards the north and the Bay. National Park Service 5 6 Stop 4: Altering the Landscape As the Industrial Revolution set the tone for the early 20th century, civic leaders championed the constant need for building, development and manufacturing and paid little attention to nature and open space values. The Exposition Company declared that fairrelated landscape changes would lead to civic improvements that would serve as assets to the City of San Francisco and the military long after the fair was over. In 1911, the Exposition Company and the city considered three potential fair sites that were ripe for development; after much debate and competition, the Exposition directors selected Harbor View, the current Marina area, for its stunning bay views. The creation of the Exposition prompted the most dramatic landscape changes to these areas around you. The Exposition Company and the U.S. Army perceived the marshlands of Harbor View and the Presidio waterfront as money-making expansion opportunities, not as the balanced ecological system that it was originally. Between 1911 and 1914, construction workers filled in the marshy areas of Harbor View and constructed a seawall along the shoreline to prevent erosion. After the fair closed, the army transformed the Presidio’s infilled salt marsh into a new airfield, later naming it Crissy Army Airfield. In 1999, this area underwent another dramatic change when the National Park Service restored much of the wetlands and native habitat by returning portions of the former fairgrounds to the original tidal marshland. Hundreds of plant, bird and animal species again use Crissy Field marsh as a nursery and feeding ground. Take the curving gravel path north towards the water, stop when it joins the larger walkway (the Promenade) going east and west. Look towards the left at the expanse of Crissy Field. For three years mud and sand were pumped out of the bay to fill in 196 acres of land, leveling some areas in today’s Crissy Field that were previously 20 feet under water. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society. 6 7 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco National Park Service 7 8 Early automobiles speed around the backturn of the Exposition Racetrack. The U.S. Life-Saving Station behind the racers was moved by the Exposition Company to its present-day location to make way for the racetrack construction. Image courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library. Stop 5: Racing Times Early 20th century society experienced amazing advancements in technology. The Exposition strove to share the newest innovations with fair visitors, including automobiles. Two major auto races took place in the early months of the Fair: the 400-mile International Grand Prix and the 300-mile Vanderbilt Cup. Racing contestants from around the world navigated a four-mile route around the racetrack and through the fairgrounds 75-100 times. Dario Resta, an English driver, won both races with an average speed of 56 miles per hour. He went on to win the world racing championship in 1916. In addition to automobile racing, the race track and center field area hosted equestrian events, athletic contests, polo games, dog shows, livestock exhibitions, and sheep dog trials, as well as mounted military competitions. 8 9 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco Wide streets and intersections allowed fairgoers to stroll through the Exposition easily. This eastern view from the steps of the Massachusetts Pavilion at the intersection of the Esplanade and the Avenue of the Nations shows a glimpse of the eclectic architectural styles displayed by the state pavilions. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society. To the south once stood a huge wooden grandstand, built to seat over 25,000 people. Under the grandstand were training and athletic quarters, dressing and showering facilities, as well as a lounge and buffet for athletes. After the fair, the Army converted the racetrack area to one of the first Army airfields on the west coast. Take the Promenade east, towards Marina Green and Fort Mason. Stop before you cross the bridge spanning Crissy Field Marsh. Look east towards the Marina. Stop 6: Representing the United States This area featured twenty-five state buildings and one building for the City of New York. Hawaii was represented as a sovereign nation. Three more states and Puerto Rico were represented but did not construct buildings. Each state participant selected their own site and architectural design and held ground-breaking and dedication ceremonies. Many of the structures resembled statehouses or other iconic locations, such as a replica Mount Vernon for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Visitors flooded in to glimpse the famous Liberty Bell, loaned by the City of Philadelphia for the National Park Service 9 10 A large crowd gathers at the Fillmore Entrance to the fair on San Francisco Day at the Exposition. The eventful “thank you” drew nearly 70% of the city’s population and featured a Pageant of the Nations, sporting competitions, many speeches, and mock military maneuvers. Image courtesy of the California State Library. duration of the fair and housed in the Pennsylvania Pavilion that resembled Independence Hall. Oregon chose a different approach, constructing a replica of the Greek Parthenon featuring 42-foot tall Douglas Fir tree trunks as its supporting columns. The California Building, representing the host state, was especially magnificent. Built in the Mission architectural style, the California State building covered five acres. The complex consisted of a two-story central building and walled garden that housed reception rooms and galleries, as well as a huge county exhibit hall. Stop 7: Hosting the World The Exposition Company temporarily employed thousands of local residents in every occupation to support the fair. Citizens of San Francisco formed committees to encourage their home states and nations to participate in the International Exposition. These committees and the thousands of local residents hired to carry out their plans implemented massive upgrades and extensions in utilities, transportation and infrastructure so that fair visitors could enjoy all the modern conveniences. These state pavilions hosted exhibits of their products, as well as the arts and education of the states. Fair officials held many formal and informal receptions, banquets and events here. The pavilions also offered resting and meeting places for state residents and fair visitors. San Francisco proudly hosted the world on Opening Day, February 19, 1915. While visitors came from all over the globe, especially large numbers came from Canada and from Central and South America. Guide services were available in many different languages to assist international visitors. On November 2, 1915, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition thanked its host city by celebrating San Francisco Day to recognize the many local residents who supported the fair. The Governor of California declared it a legal holiday, encouraging stores and businesses to close for the day so that everyone could attend the fair. On that day, a record 348,472 people walked through the gates; only Closing Day surpassed that number Continue across the bridge, heading east along the Esplanade towards the Crissy Field Center. Carefully cross the parking lot and stop in the courtyard of the Crissy Field Center. 10 11 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco National Park Service 11 12 Stop 8: Flying at Marina Green Surprisingly, Marina Green today looks much as it did during the fair, open and relatively free of landscaping. The open lawn framed the waterfront view of the magnificent fair buildings for visitors arriving by ferry or enjoying a boat excursion. This area was part of the fair’s landfill operation and covers what was originally a small water-filled cove. Aviator Art Smith stands atop his aeroplane before a crowd on Marina Green. Thousands of spectators gathered at the fair to witness the latest feats of technology. Image courtesy of the California State Library. in attendance. Today, the City of San Francisco and the National Park Service continue to host thousands of national and international visitors annually at Bay Area sights and landmarks, including the same grounds established for the Exposition in 1915. Walk to the south end of the Crissy Field Center and take the path angling south towards Marina Boulevard/Mason Street and the Palace of Fine Arts. When you reach Marina Boulevard, turn left and continue walking with the yacht harbor on your left. Cross Scott Street and turn left to walk along the west edge of Marina Green. Stop when you reach the corner of the Green. 12 13 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco The level ground served as a base for demonstrations of early aviation. The Exposition employed pilots to perform “stunts” for crowds who may have never even seen an aeroplane. Lincoln Beachey was a famous young daredevil who thrilled Exposition crowds with his flights. Tragically, his aircraft malfunctioned during one demonstration flight and he was killed when his plane plunged into the Bay. After Beachey’s death, aviators Art Smith, Charles Niles and Silvio Pettirossi continued the program of aerial feats for the audiences of the Exposition. The Marina Green area also served as a gathering place for Exposition spectators, as event space for athletic and cultural contests and performances, and as a restful place for fairgoers to view the waterfront and the beautiful lands to the north of the City. Today, the Marina Green is still used by youth sports teams, kite flyers, and crowds who watch boat races on the Bay. Continue along the north edge of Marina Green, walking east. Stop when you reach the end of the Green. Face west towards Fort Mason. National Park Service 13 14 Stop 9: Transporting the Visitors Transportation was critical to the success of any world’s fair. For several years prior to the fair’s opening, the Division of Exploitation, or today’s marketing department, encouraged the national railways to make San Francisco’s upcoming Exposition the leading feature of their advertising. An estimated 460,000 East Coast visitors arrived by rail, while many others arrived by boat via the newly-opened Panama Canal. Approximately 15,000 visitors came overland by automobile. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was the first world’s fair to offer automobile parking areas for visitor convenience. The Exposition Ferry Landing once stood to your left and delivered over 1.2 million visitors directly to the fair from all around the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Just beyond the ferry slip to the southeast is the railroad tunnel under Fort Mason which the army constructed in 1913 to link the Port of San Francisco with the fairgrounds via the State Belt Railroad. Trains transported millions of board feet of lumber, construction materials, and crates of exhibits through this area. Railroad tracks ran directly into each of the palaces to facilitate off-loading of exhibits. The rails extending into the far western reaches of the Presidio would later play a significant role in army mobilization efforts. The Fadgl train proceeds along the Avenue of Progress, providing visitors a short respite from walking at the fair. The open design and low profile made getting on and off an easy step and visitors had a grand view of the fair while riding. Image courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library. 14 15 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco Once at the fair, visitors traveled about by various methods, such as the Overfair Railroad, a miniature train on tracks offering rides between fair boundaries for 10 cents. The “Fadgl” trains (trolleys) transported passengers from place to place, offering sight-seeing excursions in open-air cars for foot-weary visitors. Visitors could also rent their own personal modes of transportation, including “Electriquettes,” popular battery-powered wicker chairs that could seat two to four people. National Park Service 15 16 and Panama Canal. The Zone also housed the many restaurants that served thousands of visitors daily, including the popular Ghirardelli chocolate parlor. The Zone was not, in the final analysis, considered a successful part of the fair. Zone concessionaires came and went, as unpopular or unprofitable attractions gave way to new ones. Vendors continually dropped prices, but many fair visitors were careful with their funds, due to national and international economic conditions, and chose not to spend their money at the attractions. View down The Joy Zone where the attractions were quite varied, both in style and appearance, and in their relative success. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society. Turn right to walk along the east end of Marina Green, heading south. Stop when you reach the end of the Green, turn to the east and face Fort Mason. Stop 10: Walking the Zone The Joy Zone was placed on the Fort Mason army lands, set apart from the palaces and other fair operations. The Zone had a carnival-like atmosphere that offered a variety of concessions and amusement rides including a submarine trip, spiraling Bowls of Joy (which closed twice for safety concerns), and the Aeroscope, an aerial car on a steel beam that lifted visitors high over the fairgrounds and spun them around for a 360-degree view of the fair and the city. Other attractions included scale-model replicas of the Grand Canyon 16 17 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco Nestled among roller coaster rides and food stands, the Joy Zone revealed a darker side to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition where racial prejudices were on display. Exposition Company concessionaires bargained on sensationalism as a marketing tool, using other cultures to infer superiority. Exhibitions of native villages with occupants from Samoa, the Philippines, as well as Native American tribes were intended to show how “others” lived. Zone managers required “residents” to wear provocatively little clothing and routinely perform traditional ritualistic dances for visitors. News articles enticed visitors with descriptions of dusky native women seeking soldier husbands, and professed that the “queer” villages should not be missed. Another sensationalist booth was Underground Chinatown that focused on stereotypical depictions of Chinese culture, like an opium den, complete with wax figures and their pipes. This portrayal caused great uproar in the local Chinese population and the Chinese Commissioner-General pressed the Exposition to close the site. The concessionaire conceded an Exposition ruling by changing the name to Underground Slumming and he removed all Chinese characters from the display where little else changed in the spectacle. National Park Service 17 18 Turn right again and walk west along the south end of Marina Green. Stop at the flagpole after the 2nd intersection (Avila Street and Casa Way) and face the houses. Stop 11: Exhibiting in the Palaces The fair featured eleven grand palaces that represented the latest in technology, advancements and learning: Agriculture, Education, Fine Arts, Food Products, Horticulture, Liberal Arts, Machinery, Manufacture, Mines & Metallurgy, Transportation, and Varied Industries. In some of these palaces, visitors could experience educational and cultural opportunities. Fair visitors who had not traveled abroad could visit the Palace of Fine Arts and enjoy over 12,000 works of art, many from foreign nations. The Exposition Company also designed many of these palaces with commercial opportunities in mind. Exhibits, often filled with merchandise for sale, filled every bit of space. Similar product entries and companies were placed next to each other allowing large crowds of visitors traveling the extensive walkways, or “streets,” the chance to compare products and ideas. As part of a comprehensive marketing effort, the Exposition Company made automobiles and the newly emerging auto industry a centerpiece of the fair. The Machinery Palace, the fair’s largest structure, housed an actual, fully functioning Ford Automobile Assembly Line in an effort to introduce automobiles to a wider audience. The fair promoted many technological advances in a light and entertaining manner, though some were, in reality, quite dangerous and had cost thousands of American lives. In the Mines and Metallurgy building, visitors could visit the popular U.S. government’s mineshaft experience, which simulated the structures and activities of a coal or metals mine. Every afternoon, the mine would “explode” to convey the dangers of mining occupations, followed by a rescue demonstration. Scientific and technological products on display for all to experience would go on to become 18 19 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco The interior view of Machinery Hall. The building was tall enough to fly through. Image courtesy of the GGNRA Park Archives. National Park Service 19 20 household commodities like the telephone. Others, like radioactive water for the treatment of rheumatism and gout, should probably have been further developed and tested before being presented. Fair buildings also held exhibits and displays regarding the social concerns of the early 20th century like child welfare, labor, and hygiene. The highly decorated booth for the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage encouraged half a million visitors to sign the petition for women’s voting rights, an amendment that would pass five years later. The eleven themed exhibition halls held enough displays and booths to keep repeat fair visitors interested for weeks and months, encouraging people to explore the ideas and buy the products of the developing century. Continue walking west to the next intersection (Scott Street). Cross Marina Boulevard, then turn right and cross to the west side of Scott Street. Walk along Scott Street for two blocks until you reach Beach Street. Stop here. An unusual aerial view of the Exposition’s palace complex, taken from a tethered hot air balloon. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society. 20 21 Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco National Park Service 21 22 This hand-colored photograph conveys how the fair glowed at night with strategically placed lights and shows the Tower of Jewels rising over the Exposition. Image courtesy of the GGNRA Park Archives. Stop 12: Towering Jewels and Lighting Wonders Here at the center of the Exposition stood the Tower of Jewels, a 435-foot high structure, equivalent to a 40-story building. The Tower was covered with 102,000 glass-faceted jewels or ‘novagems’ that reflected the sunlight as well as the fair’s extensive nighttime light displays. was in harmony with the rest of the fair’s unique color palette, created by designer Jules Guérin. The fair creators wanted to present a soft and lovely lighting experience for evening visitors. Fair lighting was a technological wonder as well as a work of art. The Bureau of Illumination placed over 370 searchlights around the fair to bring out the subtle colors and textures of the Exposition. Technicians sprayed lamp globes with lacquer, changing the color from white to travertine or ivory hues, so that their projected light Nighttime light shows were described as “aerial fireworks.” The Scintillator was a series of 48 searchlights placed on the seawall near the Yacht Harbor. Three times a week, a squad of Marines would manipulate the different colored lights across the sky and banks of steam or fog, creating an effect often referred to as ‘the Aurora Borealis.’ 54 searchlights lit the Tower of Jewels and its gems at night, allowing the tower to glow through the city’s frequent fog. 22 23 National Park Service Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco 23 24 Turn right onto Beach Street and walk west towards the Palace of Fine Arts. Continue for three blocks and cross Baker Street to stand before the Palace. Stop 13: The Legacy of the Fair The Panama-Pacific International Exposition, which closed on December 4, 1915, was considered a commercial success: the fair made a profit of over $1 million dollars and received almost 19 million visitors. Sadly, the world had changed since the fair’s opening. Europe was now embroiled in war and by 1917, it would be America’s war as well. Demolition of the fair began almost immediately. The Company auctioned off fair exhibits, sculptures, structural elements, even whole buildings, for a few dollars and removed them from the grounds. What items the Company could not sell, they tore down quickly. Admission to the grounds was still allowed during demolition, but the atmosphere of the fair was gone. As promised, the significantly altered fairgrounds were quickly made available for new uses. The fair’s important infrastructure elements supported new development for a growing city and army posts returned to their pre-fair operations. Ideas presented in the Exposition’s palaces and on the demonstration fields exhibited how quickly technology was accelerating in the world. Aeroplanes became significant in military tactics of the war and would broaden transportation throughout the world. Telephones, first displayed at the 1915 fair, soon made communication instant and direct. Automobiles would crowd the streets in every city. However, as war dominated the world, future expositions and world fairs fell to the background; the next great international fair would not take place until 1929 in Barcelona, Spain. After the fair, everything had to go and the lands had to be restored to their pre-fair appearance. Here the Ohio State Pavilion floats away on a barge, intended for re-use at another municipality. Image courtesy of the California Historical Society. Today, you can still see physical remains of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, including the Presidio’s Crissy Field, the Marina Green, the Stockton Street Tunnel and the decorative median strip along Van Ness Avenue. Perhaps the most distinctive remnant of the fair is the Palace of Fine Arts, deemed the most beautiful building of the Exposition. Even before the fair closed, citizens successfully petitioned the city for the preservation of the Palace of Fine Arts and Marina Green. Today the Palace of Fine Arts, rebuilt as a permanent structure in the 1960s, is a San Francisco icon and universally admired. 24 25 National Park Service Panama-Pacific International Exposition: The World Meets in San Francisco Printed on recycled paper with soybased inks. 25 26 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Fort Mason Golden Gate National Recreation Area San Francisco Bay N Marina h East Beac Green P ark Golden Gate National Recreation Area Crissy Field Presidio The Route Length: 3.1 miles (Trail loops from Palace of Fine Arts to Crissy Field around to Marina Green, then returns to the Palace) Number of Stops: 13 Time required: 2.5 hours Access: Most of the route is paved and accessible Palace of Fine Arts Marina District Parking: At the Palace of Fine Arts or at East Beach, Crissy Field Restrooms: Located at East Beach, Crissy Field For more information: www.nps.gov/goga/learn/ historyculture/ppie www.ppie100.org 6/2015