Memories Found – San Francisco Panama-Pacific 1915 Int’l Exposition

Life has been really busy for me and my search for Worlds Fair items has slowly over the year gone somewhat dry. Not that I am attending fewer sales but it seems that what I used to find weekly is now becoming monthly or even many months apart.

Part of this is because I have quite a large collection and the common items have no interest for me. I do continue to look for different items and not necessarily from the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair (that I attended when 9 years old).

Before we go into the thrill of finding new items one loves to collect I want to share with you what few things I have from this World’s Fair that happened in San Francisco only a few years after the 1906 earthquake. It was a big deal for them and the West Coast of the USA. Here is an overview of what it looked like in relation to the rest of the city.

SF Pan-Pac 1915 overview of site

An envelope & stationary are the first items I found on the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Not surprising it was the Washington State Building.

Washington State Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

front of envelope WA state building -1915 Pan-Pac Expo

WA State Building Stationary – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Oh I can’t forget this little booklet of photos of the Exhibition that came my way over the years too.

Miniature View Book – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Yesterday a little dam broke and I found something very special. This house was full of high-end items but deep in a closet was a box of old paper scraps. A lot was travel brochures, tickets, maps and other debris. Some of this I buy in my quest to save quality ephemera from the trash bin and resell.  This supports my own collection and has opened a new world of history to me.

In this box I found a pile of older postcards. There is a difference you can visually see, the newer ones are often glossy and the older ones are softly colored on quality paper that stands out in a mixed postcard pile. Here is a card I already have of 1915 to show you what I mean.

Palace of Horticulture – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo – Postcard I found years earlier

To my delight I saw one with old style Worlds Fair buildings on it. It was from 100 years ago – the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco. In the end I found 10 postcards and a like-new brochure called “Souvenir Canadian Pavilion”. This is a great addition to the few things I already have  from 1915 San Francisco.

Here is a new postcard of the Palace of Fine Arts building I found yesterday. This is the feature photo of an 8″x 10″ print I found years ago. By the way this is the only building really left standing.  You might find this Now & Then article I found of interest by Rebecca O’Connell on Mental Floss

Palace of Fine Arts – the remaining building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

What is rather odd is only last weekend on November 11, 2018 we celebrated the 100 year date of World War I Armistice.  I had read an article about it that focused on barbed wire. How we are reeling out more of it on our border with Mexico along how it was the newest thing in warfare 100 years ago in the trenches of Europe.

This brought to me an emotional reaction that I don’t know how to explain. I was not alive then but I felt that anguish in my soul. Is it possible that my soul retains the memory of this while my brain that was born in 1953 does not. Could that be why I want to save the history I find? That is a deep thought for those of us that are drawn to things of the past, however, I am not going to dwell on this unknown today.

So, here we go with more postcards and the Canadian Brochure.

The brochure is in perfect condition for being 100 years old. It looks like it was put away by this person’s parents and not touched very often since then. The part I like the best is how it has pictures of the exhibition rooms. Usually we get stylized pictures that zero in on a specific piece of the exhibit area. This shows some more global views of how things were done 100 years ago.

Canadian Pavilion Brochure front cover – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Main Corridor with mineral exhibit -Canadian Exhibit interior – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

The first postcard that caught my attention was this one produced by Carnation Milk of the Exhibit Palace where they had the Carnation Milk Condensery. My research found this reference to Carnation ( California Historical Society )

 “The Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company kept a herd of 125 “contented” Holstein cows in the Fair’s livestock area. Milk from these cows was sent to a condensery near the Palace of Fine Arts, where Carnation produced 6,000 cans of evaporated milk daily.”

Exhibit Palace – Carnation Milk Condensery – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Back of Exhibit Palace – Carnation Milk Post Card

Then my eyes saw this interior shot of the New Jersey Building. Wonder if the family was from New Jersey and this was a big trip by train to see the Panama Pacific Exhibition.

Lobby of New Jersey Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

And of course the exterior shot was next to this interior one.  Check out how this temporary building is really a huge thing.

Exterior New Jersey Building – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Then a small pile of postcards all still together were in my grasp. Funny how they and the brochure were just put in a box and kind of forgotten till I found them. Their color is so sharp and they were never mailed. That they were never mailed actually makes them less valuable but they are much more pristine this way.  First I want you to see the back of all of them.

Back of Postcards from 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Isn’t this very Victorian looking? It is done in cursive style, has the logo and is compliments of the Palace Hotel.  Must be where our family stayed or they just visited that grand old dame of a hotel.  Here is a little history on this hotel from Wikipedia.

The Palace Hotel is a landmark historic hotel in San Francisco, California, located at the southwest corner of Market and New Montgomery streets. The hotel is also referred to as the “New” Palace Hotel to distinguish it from the original 1875 Palace Hotel, which had been demolished after being gutted by the fire caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

The present structure opened on December 19, 1909, on the same site as its predecessor. The hotel was closed from January 1989 to April 1991 to undergo a two-year renovation and seismic retrofit. Occupying most of a city block, the now century-old nine-story hotel stands immediately adjacent to both the BART Montgomery Street Station and the Monadnock Building, and across Market Street from Lotta’s Fountain.

The Palace Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The cards are numbered so in spirit of that I am displaying them in that order.  Enjoy!

South view of Court of Palms – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of the Sun & Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Spring – in the Court of the Four Seasons – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of Palms – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Court of the Sun and Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Arch of the Rising Sun – Court of Sun and Stars – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

Machinery Hall – North view – 1915 Pan-Pac Expo

One thought on “Memories Found – San Francisco Panama-Pacific 1915 Int’l Exposition

  1. […] Now this was a great happy find and my American Pickers euphoria was in full swing as I drove away.  Here is the link to that article  When World Was Fair Article […]


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