The many new visitors to the Exposition
did enjoy seeing the local sights.
The Tourist Association of Central California
published a number of books and maps to promote travel to California and the Exposition of 1915. At the
time, train travel, trolleys, boats and the new "motor coach" were a
common way to get around California. Major roads, freeways and
air were still in the future. The
"Train, Trolley and Boat Trips" guide was published to tell visitors
how to get to the various tourist sites. This 56 page guide is
a fun look at the transit choices of 1915.
this travel guide
in PDF form.
Over 18 million visitors came to visit the Exposition in a time
when the population of the United States was around 100 million. A
large number came by train since the national road system was very
limited and automobile travel was still in its infancy. Many of those
were first time visitors to California and the fair helped promote
California as a destination for tourist as well as new residents.
The first national highway, the
was completed in 1915. Some travelers chose to come by automobile.
As fair promoters had hoped, once there, visitors could travel to other
nearby areas of California by auto or train transportation. For
those brave enough to try the California road systems, they may have
used early travel guides and maps like
Detail from above map showing the Exposition
in the Marina District - 1915
Click for larger view
1915 Map of San Francisco including the Exposition
From the Scenic Limited train on the Missouri
Pacific, Denver & Rio Grande, Western Pacific railroad
Click for larger view
available here on Zazzle.com
an article from
1915 about the Exposition;
From World's Works magazine,
July, 1915 issue by
Click here for PDF
Americans began their fascination
with Fairs in 1876 when Philadelphia celebrated the nation's 100's
anniversary with an exposition. Since then, there have been US Worlds
Fairs in New Orleans, Saint Louis, Buffalo, Chicago, Seattle and many other
The Exposition of 1915 came at an interesting time in
history. The first world war had started the year before and by the
end of that decade, much of the world would be forever changed. Most
significantly, technology was changing everything from warfare,
transportation, manufacturing and how electricity would remake the American
The Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco celebrated many historic
technical achievements beyond the opening of the Panama Canal. Fair
visitors were presented with exhibits halls full of the wonders of the day
including machinery, the latest developments in electrical devices and
transportation. The fair saw the first transcontinental phone call,
electrical lighting of all kinds including the illumination of the Tower of
Jewels. The large collection of
automobiles on exhibit demonstrated that horse and buggy days were over!
The Panama Pacific Exposition was created to celebrate the
opening of the Panama Canal and show the world that San Francisco had fully
recovered from the 1906 quake. Located in the newly land filled
of San Francisco, today's Palace of Fine Arts is a surviving remnant of
the Exposition. San Diego had a sister fair that same year celebrating the
World's fairs were extremely popular attractions.
Europe started having Expositions in the late 1700's and there were hundreds
of fairs world wide in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
PPIE under construction in 1914