Last modified: 2019-05-23 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: worlds fair | bureau international des expositions | bie | buffalo |
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Before the great San Francisco earthquake in 1906, plans were underfoot to
celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal in 1915 in that city. The earthquake
caused concern about San Francisco’s ability to host the event so alternate
plans evolved to have the event in San Diego.
San Francisco persevered and plans went forward even as the city dug out from under the rubble of the earthquake and the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was announced, with President William Taft performing the tasks of breaking ground and hoisting the new PPIE flag over the site on 14 October 1911. Photos of the flag raising exist.
The flag was best described the next day in several newspapers, for example, the San Francisco Call, 15 October 1911, page 50.
Official Flag for ExpositionA copy of this flag is presently advertised online on eBay for a large sum of money. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1915-Pan-Pacific-International-Expo-Banner-B-Pasquale-San-Francisco-maker-BIG/272014849926
Designed by Director A. W. Scott Jr., Assisted by Theodore Hardee
The official flag of the exposition company, used for the first time yesterday when President Taft unfurled it to the breeze during the ground breaking ceremonies, was designed by A. W. Scott Jr., chairman of the committee on decorations, in collaboration with Theodore Hardee, assistant secretary.
The design incorporates the “bear flag” of the historic California republic with the exposition emblem and the national colors. The stripe of gold is for the principal mineral product of the state, and the green mat under the bear is emblematic of California’s agricultural and horticultural resources.
The 30 gold stars on the blue field represent the 30 states preceding California in the union, and the red star in the bear flag represents California, the thirty-first state. The emblem encompassed by the gold stars is the official emblem of the exposition. It typifies the announcement of the opening of the Panama canal.
A miniature exposition flag, similar to the one used yesterday, will be presented to President Taft by the directors.
The planners in San
Diego refused to give up their plans after realizing San Francisco was
determined to forge ahead. Even though they did not get any Federal money or
encouragement like the PPIE got and understanding they could not be a sanctioned
“International Exposition”, the Panama California Exposition (PCE) opened before
the PPIE, on 1 January 1915 and ran for the full year, closing on 31 December
1915, a ploy meant to show the climate of San Diego was better suited to such an
event. The event was well attended.
No special flag was designed or used by the PCE [Los Angeles Times, 11 February 1916, page 3]. Towards the end of the event, the corporation announced it would reorganize and reopen the exposition the following year (although only from March and not the full year) as the Panama California International Exposition (PCIE), since there would no longer be any active competition in San Francisco and several countries were induced to move their exhibits to San Diego.
A season pass was offered for the best flag design and more than a hundred were received. [Los Angeles Times, 11 February 1916, page 3]
A committee of artists, photographers and newspaper men selected a Miss San Diego-1916, whose principal job would be to raise the new flag on opening day. Miss Marian Vodges was selected [Los Angeles Times, 17 March 1916, Part II, page 3] and she unfurled the flag on 18 March 1916. [Oakland Tribune, 18 March 1916, page 2]
Unfortunately, I have yet to find any evidence of what this flag may have looked like or its intended symbolism. The search continues.
Dave Martucci, 26 January 2019