Golden Gate Exposition - 1939


President Franklin D. Roosevelt's message proclaiming the Exposition:

As the boundaries of human intercourse are widened by giant strides of trade and travel, it is of vital import that the bonds of human understanding be maintained, enlarged and strengthened rapidly. Unity of the Pacific nations is America's concern and responsibility; their onward progress deserves now a recognition that will be a stimulus as well."
"....May this, America's World's Fair on the Pacific in 1939, truly serve all nations in symbolizing their achievements of all the ages past - and in amalgamating their destinies, one with every other, through the ages to come."

   
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Overview of the Golden Gate International Exposition, Treasure Island 1939

This 400-acre site of the International Exposition, was an artificially constructed island. Ten million dollars was spent on the many buildings and exhibits, designed to express the diversity of the Pacific region. The two great airplane hangars, right, served the Trans-Pacific Air Clipper Service.



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Treasure Island: A Luminous City


A luminous city, replete with towers, fountains, sculpture, trees, flowers, and magnificent palaces is being created for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Taken from Yerba Buena Island, this photo shows the Port of Trade Winds in the foreground and centers on the Enchanted Gardens, the Court of the Moon, and the Tower of the Sun. Here on Treasure Island, the pageant of the Pacific will begin unfolding on Feb. 18, 1939, and will continue to do so for 288 days.


(http://newdeal.feri.org/library/g47b.htm)

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Tower of the Sun, centerpiece of the Golden Gate International Exposition, from the top of Yerba Buena Island, 1939


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Tower of the Sun on Treasure Island 1939

Sun, shadow, and sculpture make a dream quality pattern at San Francisco's Treasure Island.

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Tower of the Sun, Golden Gate Exposition, Treasure Island 1939



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The centerpiece of the Fair, The Tower of the Sun was a slim, octagonal needle with a statue of a phoenix at the top that extended majestically 400 feet into the air. It was designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., who also designed City Hall, in the Beaux Arts tradition.





Tower of the Sun, Golden Gate Exposition, Treasure Island 1939


The centerpiece of the Fair, The Tower of the Sun was a slim, octagonal needle with a statue of a phoenix at the top that extended majestically 400 feet into the air. It was designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., who also designed City Hall, in the Beaux Arts tradition.


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Treasure Island was initially constructed as the site of the International Exposition, which celebrated the completion of the Bay Area’s two magnificent bridges and the ascendancy of California and San Francisco as an economic, political and cultural forces in the Pacific Region.

Source: OPL

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Tower of the Sun, Golden Gate Exposition, Treasure Island, 1939


Arthur Brown, Jr., designer of San Francisco City Hall and the Court of Horticulture at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, was commissioned to execute The Tower of the Sun and the Court of Honor. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition's Tower of Jewels is here reborn at the Golden Gate International Exposition in Brown's Tower of the Sun. The slender central tower of the exposition grounds, rising 392 feet, is beautifully rendered in this nocturnal view. Brown, whose esthetics was grounded firmly in the Beaux Arts tradition, was a master of this idiom as this stately tower clearly illustrates.


One of the most spectacular structures, and the centerpiece of the Fair, was the Tower of the Sun. The Tower of the Sun was a slim, octagonal needle with a statue of a phoenix at the top that extended majestically 400 feet into the air. The phoenix symbolized San Francisco's rise from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire. A 15-foot scale model replica of the Tower of the Sun can be seen on the concourse level in Building One on Treasure Island.

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Treasure Island under Construction, circa 1937


Treasure Island, site of the 1939 International Exposition, was built with dredged soil from the Bay. The island was to become San Francisco International Airport in 1941. However, the Navy seized the island in 1942, after World War II began, and it became Treasure Island Naval Station.

Situated between the world's two largest bridges spanning San Francisco Bay, Treasure Island was the site of the 1939 International Exposition. Built of bay dredged dirt, the island was to become San Francisco International Airport in 1941. However, the Navy seized the island in 1942, shortly after World War II began, and it became Treasure Island Naval Station.


Source: OPL

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Court of the Moon, Golden Gate Exposition, Treasure Island 1939

The central pool, the Phantom Arches, with its 24 arches of water, and the fountain pool form the main design elements of this Court. To the left is the South Tower entrance to the Homes and Gardens Building, which displayed "New Things for Better Living - a thousand new inventions, new materials, new methods and new ideas that make modern living better living".

Irish yews and vases flank the central pool, called the Phantom Arches, with its 24 arches of water. The fountain statue was the "Evening Star", and the horticulture, of blue and white color scheme, had over 148,000 plantings. The recently constructed Bay Bridge cantilever section extending from Yerba Buena island can be seen in the background.

Source: OPL

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Court of Flowers, Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939

Many of the same architects who had worked on the PPIE of 1915 returned to design the GGIE in 1939. Although the style had been updated from Beaux-Arts to Pacific Basin (an Art Deco-inspired blend of design elements from cultures all around the Pacific Rim), the fairs' layout and monumental scale were similar.

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Court of Flowers, by architect L. P. Hobart, Tower of the Sun in Background, Golden Gate Exposition 1939


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The Gayway, Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939

The Exposition's "Forty Acres of Fun" featured over 50 exhibits and concessions, including carnival rides, shooting galleries, the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium, burlesque shows, and an automobile racetrack for monkeys.

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Tower of the Sun at the GGE 1939


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Statue of Pacifica, Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939

The 80-foot statue of Pacifica personified the theme of the Fair, emphasizing unity between Pacific nations. It was situated at the end of the 1000-foot long Court of the Seven Seas, designed by George W. Kelham.


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Thousands of tulips in the Treasure Garden, foreground

The Palace of Mines, Metals and Machinery on the left, the Palace of Homes and Gardens on the left, Tower of the Sun, Center

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Temple Compound and Towers of the East, GGE, 1939

Designed by William G. Merchant, the Compound was situated on the edge of the Lake of the Nations. Between the twin Towers were two exquisite gold bas-reliefs, "Dance of Life" and Path of Darkness". The bridge led to the California Auditorium, the main site for 8,000 programs of radio, comedy, music and drama.


Source: SFI

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Federal Building, G.G.E., 1939


Two mamoth murals flank the colonnade of States that extends through the center of the Federal Building which faces the Court of Nations on the West. This building, with seven acres of exhibits, presented the "Pageant of America", the story of the creation of a new civilization in a new world.

Ten fundamental subjects were treated in the Federal exhibit: the American Indian, conservation, social affairs, economic affairs, the march of science, the Federal theater, WPA art, WPA recreation, housing, and National defense and the Coast Guard.

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