March Song, 1914 Words and Music by S. and P.I. Jacoby | Published by P.I. Jacoby | California Historical Society

The Performing Arts at San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair

The fair brought the performing arts to millions of people. Every day was packed with music, song, and dance. Live music was heard throughout the fairgrounds—from symphonies to marches. Many visitors had their first taste of foreign culture observing dances from Norway, Ireland, Japan, China, Mexico, Hawai‘i, and many other countries. At the fair, the old met the new—from ethnic and folk dances to ballet and modern dance.

This photo essay gives a hint of the daily and special attractions that excited and enthralled more than 19 million visitors to San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair.

The Festival Hall was located in the South Gardens amidst gardens, fountains, pools, and paths. The hall’s main auditorium was home to the 7,000-pipe, 40-ton Exposition Organ, the most advanced pipe organ in the world, which was built especially for the fair. There were a total of 368 organ recitals during the nine months of the fair. ... Read More >

As it happened – December 4, 2015

December 4, 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of closing day at the  Panama-Pacific International Exposition. To mark this momentous occasion, Donna Huggins, the official Spokesperson for the Centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition arranged for a final ceremony at the San Francisco Ferry Building, which has been adorned with “1915 lights” to mark the Centennial. Read more about this event in the San Francisco Chronicle, and view a slideshow of photos from the event online. ... Read More >

Image credit: San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker is set right here in San Francisco in 1915, and featured many details inspired by the PPIE. This year’s Nutcracker is one of the final official events of the PPIE100 celebration, and the California Historical Society is partnering with SF Ballet to produce a mini-exhibition in the War Memorial Opera House, featuring the colorful performing arts at the PPIE. Read more about how the PPIE inspired the production on the SF Ballet blog.

Join the SF Ballet as the lights dim, music soars, history comes alive, and a little girl dreams about a whole new world in in a uniquely San Francisco Nutcracker!

Buy tickets today at

Image credit: San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson) ... Read More >

Year-long Citywide Centennial Celebration of 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) Officially Kicks Off February 21st with Free, Fun-Filled Community Day Festivities

San Francisco, Calif. (February 9, 2015) – Get Ready San Francisco Bay Area! The centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) officially kicks off the weekend of February 20th with three days filled with spectacular events, activities, exhibitions, historic light displays and entertainment for history buffs, innovators and families that will bring to life the spirit and innovation of the 1915 World’s Fair. ... Read More >