the World's Fair
American Clipper at Treasure Island
24 Views of the Fair (PowerPoint)
World's Fair Set to Open
Cavalcade of Music at the Fair
Sculptures at the World's Fair
of San Francisco Airport
Rossi's Labor Day Speech at Treasure Island
View of Treasure Island - 1994
Island - Environmental Hazards - 1995
lights are down these November nights on Treasure Island. A month ahead
of time, to be sure. But whether the blackout is to be permanent, or whether
the group known as 1940 Exposition, Inc., will succeed in raising $1,650,000
of new, free money to guarantee a four-month encore of the fair next year
the fact remains that last October 29 at midnight a highly successful Western
exposition went into history. And not just the San Francisco Bay region
but the entire West, from Vancouver, B.C., to San Diego, and from Colorado
to the Pacific, benefited by its success.
will be some time before the Golden Gate International Exposition management
can know whether or not the underwriters will get their guarantees back
in full or in part. Yet if you were an underwriter whose business was drawn
mostly from the Western states, you could probably look right now at your
balance sheets and realize that in stimulation of the whole economy, your
exposition "risk" has paid splendid dividends and been more than justified
in a personalized way.
an educational, a cultural, and an entertainment agency the fair has accomplished
more than it set out to do. It would be difficult to find a corporal's
guard out of the ten and a half million attendance who left the island
with the conviction that the visit had not been one of mental and spirit-lifting
from opening up the horizons of people's viewpoints, the fair rolled up
indisputable facts and figures proving that it stimulated business tremendously.
of the State Department of Agriculture reveal that to date 21 per cent
more out-of-state cars have entered California in 1939 than for the
same period in 1938. Close to 100,000 out-of-state automobiles came
to Treasure Island. This was around 35 per cent of all "foreign" cars entering
the State during the fair period.
estimates give $100,000,000 as the amount of new money that was brought
into the Bay region.
did $367,000,000 more business for the first six months of 1939 than for
a similar period last year. San Francisco Bay district's share of this
gain was about $168,000,000. This was on top of the $35,000,000 for construction
before the fair opened.
of the tourists included southern California in their itineraries, the
All-Year club and other agencies report.
railway lines report an increase of 40 per cent in travel to the West,
while ticket validations in San Francisco alone showed an increase of 166
percent. In fact, the exposition helped materially in making 1939 one of
the greatest tourist seasons in history. Despite the inequality of distance
between the Middle West and Treasure Island, and the Middle West and the
New York fair, San Francisco led New York by three to two, travel from
Chicago to California having increased nearly 100 per cent over last year.
two-thirds of those who came to the exposition were visiting California
for the first time. Of this number, perhaps one-half may be expected to
come again with the next two years.
total of 1,710,511 vehicles crossed the Bay Bridge from the period of February
18 to September 30 (latest available figures), producing a total revenue
of $840,204, and speeding the day when the bridge toll may again be reduced.
System ferryboat operation profited to the extent of $150,481 between February
18 and September 30.
Park business gained materially, as witness: Yellowstone Park1938,
466,185 guests; 1939; 486,936 guests. Grand Canyon1938, 336,557;
1939; 395,940. Yosemite1938, 443,325; 1939,466,552. Lassen1938,
73,005; 1939, 100,880.
in San Francisco and Los Angeles hotels and restaurants went up 35 to 40
$2,500,000 was spent during 1939 by various promotional agencies of the
eleven Western states in advertising the fair, California, and the West.
A survey reveals that these agencies stand ready to increase their 1940
budgets by $500,000 if there is a 1940 fair. The additional travel potential,
due to war, is 300,000 Americans who ordinarily would go to Europe.
California's world's fair was an outstanding success. So, with the blackout
in effect on Treasure Island, let's examine the men and policies behind
that success, and then consider the future.
in June of this year Charles H. Strub, former San Francisco sports promoter
(Seals baseball team) and more recently manager of the Santa Anita horse
racing park which he'd organized in 1934, was appointed Managing Director
to serve without salary. His personality and dynamic plans brought harmony
to the working staff, which quickly staged a "Summer Re-opening" and recaptured
the flagging interest in the fair. All through the summer and fall months,
big-name personalities of radio, screen, and entertainment worlds were
booked on Treasure Island and played before S.R.O. crowds. Attendance spurted
and the goose hung high.
man was more entitled to enjoy the feeling of "a job well done" when, on
midnight, October 29, taps were sounded by the Thirtieth Infantry and the
1939 span of the fair was ended.
Mr. Strub reviewed the work for "California's" reporter:
Golden Gate International Exposition merits the success which it has had
and of which it may be well proud," he said. "Early in June, when I was
solicited by the Board of Management to take over the duties of Managing
Director, I found Treasure Island truly a treasure islanda man-made
island of four hundred acres, beautifully landscaped, with artistic architecture,
with lighting effects which will undoubtedly result in Treasure Island's
taking its place in history as the most beautifully illuminated of all
world's fairs, with one of the most superb displays of fine arts ever assembled,
with exhibits that would be a credit any world's fair. I found Treasure
Island a fantasy of form and color excluding all suggestion of a workaday
why the original closing date of December 2 had been moved ahead to October
29, Mr. Strub declared that good showmanship forced recognition of the
possibility of inclement weather conditions during November, while it could
be expected that total attendance during October would boom if the public
were given concentrated entertainment features during the better weather.
The decision was one of wisdom. Record-making days followed, the week-end
of October 7 and 8 drawing 274,359, with Sunday, October 8, setting a new
one-day high at 187,730. Saturday, October 21, established a new week-day
record with 141,938, and closing day, October 29, hit 147,674.
convinced that a world's fair should present to the public the best in
the field of entertainment, we were successful in presenting as free attractions
innumerable great artists.
was an exacting job, perhaps, but a most interesting and gratifying one.
The exposition could not have met with success but for the whole-hearted
enthusiasm and coöperation of the entire personnel.
take the five 'Forgotten men'James B. Black, Colbert Coldwell, J.W.
Mailliard, Jr., Atholl McBean, and Philip Patchenwho so generously,
without compensation, gave up three years of their busy lives to the exposition,
and to Leland W. Cutler, who assumed the responsibilities of president
of the exposition, California and San Francisco in particular, owe a deep
debt of gratitude."
now what of Treasure Island's future? The island, created by state and
federal funds, was leased by the exposition from the City and County of
San Francisco. San Francisco also leased to Pan American Airways, for a
ten-year period, the building known as the Hall of Transportation, office
space on the third floor of the Administration Building, and docking privileges
in the lagoon for the clippers. Pan American will therefore take over more
space in the Administration Building and will continue to operate its trans-Pacific
flying service from Treasure Island, with sailings for China and (as soon
as the CAA permission is granted) New Zealand.
to the rest of the island, everything will be razed excepting the Administration,
Air Transportation, and Fine Arts building, the latter being ready for
remodeling as a permanent airport maintenance structure. Plans for the
conversion of the island into a close-in terminal airport, with departures
by all major air lines for north, south, and east, are now being pushed
by the Aviation Committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce in collaboration
with city officials.
travelers queried on the future use of the island regard the terminal airport
plan as a great improvement over the present connections. The Mills Field
airport would not be less important, for its heavy investment in maintenance
facilities will always be required, while its location, in conjunction
with that of Oakland Airport, will conquer the fog hazard in fulfilling
all-year departure schedules.
we've had a great fair great despite its wavering start, and greater
still in its accomplishments in the face of comparisons with the New York
fair, which was forced to curtail its staffs and reduce the scope of its
air transport industry reaps a fine benefit. No one has been the loser,
for the impact of the modern ideas spread by the fair will more than replay
the actual investments of those courageous businessmen underwriters who
not only backed the project in the first place but "saw it through" at
a time when less hardy individuals would have withdrawn support and been
content with a mediocre fair instead of a roundly successful one.
CaliforniaMagazine of the Pacific
by the California State Chamber of Commerce
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