The Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915
San Francisco, California

The building of the Panama Canal probably benefited San Francisco more than any other US city of the time. SF was the largest West Coast city, and the one most isolated from the rest of the country by the two month ocean voyage around South America. So it was logical that it should be the site for a major International Exposition to celebrate the completion of the Canal. Indeed, plans for such an Expo had begun as early as 1904, the year construction on the Canal began. But the earthquake and fire of 1906 leveled most of San Francisco, and many people doubted the City could mount the Expo by the time the Canal was planned to be completed, in 1915. Other US cities started lobbying to be the site of the Expo, and apparently New Orleans had the best case.

For more on the competition, check out
New Orleans, the New South, and the Fight for the Panama Exposition, by Victoria D. Baiamonte, University of New Orleans.

The delightful booklet shown below, published in 1910, was one part of the SF campaign to win back its right to hold the Expo, a campaign that obviously succeeded.

And don't miss the postcard at the bottom, another San Francisco weapon in the campaign.

July 10, 2002 - I just found a scan of a great New Orleans cover that gives evidence of the campaign there - see bottom of page.

May 26, 2004 - And a poster stamps from New Orleans - see bottom of page.

September 4, 2015 - New set of pages featuring poster stamps from the PPIE (Panama Pacific International Exposition) HERE.

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Facts For Boosters

Why San Francisco should host the International Exposition of 1915



All text Copyright © 2002, William M. Senkus

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Created -- 05/26/2004
modified -- 07/11/2013