Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cure for the Shakes: The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition

(1915 PPIE Map courtesy of  the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco)

Santa Clara and Alameda Counties shared an exposition hall at the 1915 PPIE held in San Francisco, near what is now the Marina District. Sadly, an image or more information about the hall and its contents are very hard to locate, but the hall is mentioned in catalogs from the fair, although not in great detail. Television producer, Lee Mendelson, created a lovely video, The Innocent Fair, from 1915 Nitrate films he found in a Tiburon antique store.

In honor of the coming 100th anniversary of the PPIE, I have added some information about the PPIE of 1915 on a new resource Page on this site, since the exposition, it's planning, and it's world-wide advertising from the time the City won the fair location bid in 1911, brought an influx of new visitors and residents to Santa Clara Valley after the devastation of the 1906 Earthquake, which had discouraged investments, building and tourism in this region.

The PPIE celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal and new routes to join the East and West, without the long trip around South America.

The PPIE also demonstrated a new transcontinental telephone line when Alexander Graham Bell made the first bi-coastal telephone call from an exposition hall.

A lighted and sparkling "Tower of Jewels" enthralled exposition visitors and could be seen for miles from the waterfront and on the north end of the City. The "Novagems" from that tower are now a highly sought-after collectors item.

The true value of the PPIE of 1915 to our valley and to the City was demonstrating to the world that we had healed from the fires and devastation of 1906. The PPIE declared that we were once again a safe location for world tourism and investments.

Please see my new PPIE of 1915 resource Page to the right for more information and resources on this remarkable event.

(Small photos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. Alexander Graham Bell photo courtesy of ATT.)

---Catherine Alexander Bright,