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California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105


$5 General Admission
Free for CHS Members


Tuesday - Sunday: 11:00 - 5:00 PM
Closed Monday

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  • Good for Groups
  • Good for Kids
  • Near BART
  • Near MUNI
  • Indoors

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City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair

California Historical Society
Feb 21, 2015 to Jan 03, 2016

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and fires of 1906, a splendid walled city of domed palaces, palm-lined courts, and monumental statuary—the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition—emerged on 635 acres of San Francisco’s northern shore. Between February 20 and December 4, 1915, nearly nineteen million people—about twenty times the population of San Francisco at the time—were drawn to the spectacle. What accounts for the fair’s popularity, and what connections can we make with the present day?

Journey inside the PPIE to see what fairgoers encountered 100 years ago in the grand palaces, exotic foreign pavilions, and the amusement midway known as the Joy Zone.  Learn what distinguished this world’s fair through vintage photographs, souvenirs, and other artifacts—including the sterling silver shovel used by President William Howard Taft to break ground when construction began; Austrian cut glass “novagems” that hung from the Tower of Jewels (earning the fair the moniker The Jewel City); and architectural fragments from the Palace of Fine Arts, the fair’s most popular building.

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