California Invites the World: 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were the golden age for the great world’s fair expositions. The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was no exception. Before there was Disneyland, there was an earlier “magic kingdom.” The San Francisco exposition was known by many names: “The Dream City,” “The City of Domes,” and “The Jewel City.” It celebrated not only the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914, but the rebirth of San Francisco after the devastating 1906 earthquake.

Between February 20 and December 4, 1915, over 19 million people flocked from all over the world to the marvels it contained. The 650-acre world’s fair was constructed to stand for less than a year, and today, all that remains is the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District.

Visitors to the State Capitol Museum had the opportunity to view rarely displayed items from the fair that come from the special collections of the California State Library.

These included hundreds of never-before-seen photographs. A copy of a sculpture that graced the Exposition, Adolph Weinman’s “Night Descending” will also be on display, courtesy of Hearst Castle. There was numerous charming and delightful pieces on loan from private collections as well. One of the three exhibit rooms at the State Capitol Museum featured seldom seen period films and photographic slide shows. For more information, call (916) 324-2088.

Collage of Exhibit