Story of the Serra Cross, Pt. 2
Spreading Interest For a World's Fair
After the initial seed for a fair is planted, it begins to germinate:
The San Diego Union: 08/28/1909
PLAN WORLD'S EXPOSITION FOR SAN DIEGO IN YEAR 1915
Chamber of Commerce Directors Would Celebrate Completion of the Panama Canal
A world's fair for San Diego in 1915 to celebrate the opening of the Panama canal is an enterprise being considered by the chamber of commerce, according to Secretary John S. Mills, who says the directors are at work on the project.
It is believed that by 1915 San Diego will have a larger population than Portland had when the big exposition was held in that city. By that time, San Diego, at the present rate of hotel and apartment construction, will have a sufficient accommodation to take care of big crowds.
The San Diego and Arizona railroad will be completed and in operation long before the year set for the holding of the exposition. It is believed that with the opening of the railroad, San Diego will go ahead faster than any city on the Pacific coast. It is estimated that the present population is close to 55,000 people and it is by no means unreasonable to suppose that this number will be at least three times as large in six years.
It is a well known fact that the holding of world's fairs in almost every instance, has proved of great benefit to the cities in which they were given. Chicago advanced with great strides following the world's fair in that city. Portland, since the holding of the exposition has increased 200,000 in population and is continuing to advance rapidly.
In speaking of the plans being considered by the chamber of commerce, Secretary Mills said: "This matter is now under consideration by the board of Directors of the chamber of commerce. It has not been made public for the good and sufficient reason that there are details to be arranged before announcement can be made. The secretary of the chamber of commerce is corresponding with commercial organizations of other cities where expositions have been successfully held and there are matters of national and state aid to be arranged for.
"This matter came up for consideration and the directors were unanimously in favor of the plan.
"In reference to the use of our great park for exhibition buildings, it was suggested that the structures might be located and erected with the view of their remaining there permanently.
"As an evidence of what these expositions will do for a municipality, let us take the city of Portland. The fair there was not only a financial success, but Portland had at the time it was given a population of not over 100,000. Since then its population has increased to 300,000, or more, as one of the direct results of the enterprise of its citizens.
"In 1915, the date now under contemplation for the exposition, San Diego will have a greater population than Portland had when it conceived the idea of its exposition. At the present rate of hotel and apartment house construction it will be possible to take care of all concerns.
"Further, San Diego can hold an exposition which can be maintained any month on the year. This in itself will be unique for the chilling winds of autumn and the snow and frost of winter preclude the possibility of an exposition in other cities.
"And the chamber of commerce has other plans under consideration for the exposition of the city and county."
The San Diego Union: 08/29/1909
THE CANAL EXPOSITION
The plan to hold an exposition in San Diego in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama canal, should have the hearty support of every resident of this city. For the more the project is considered, the more practicable as well as desirable it will appear. At first thought it might seem as if San Diego, a place of perhaps 50,000 people, were undertaking too much in planning a world's fair. This is the idea that has doubtless occurred to many persons. A little reflection, however, will place the matter in a new light.
The Panama canal, when completed, will be not only the world's greatest engineering triumph, but the mist important constructive achievement of this or any country. It will be celebrated throughout the United States. The attention of the world will be directed to the magnificent waterway and the great republic that built it after another great republic had attempted in vain to construct it. Perhaps it is not rash to predict that the completion of the canal, although occurring early in the twentieth century, will be regarded as its greatest achievement by historians in the centuries to come. In view of all this, one may safely conclude now that as the time for the opening of the waterway to the commerce of the world draws near any reasonable plan looking to a proper celebration of that event will have the cordial support of both the American government and the American people. And it would be especially appropriate to hold a principal celebration at San Diego, the nearest Pacific coast port to the canal.
And here it may not be amiss to take note of what little Tampa, the nearest port on the Atlantic side, aspires to do. Tampa, which had a population of less than 16,000, according to the last census, and which is not half as large as San Diego today, was early in the field with plans for a canal celebration to take the form of an industrial exposition. The original intention was to hold the big fair in 1908 to commemorate the beginning of work on the waterway. Now it is proposed to have the exposition next year to celebrate the progress made by the great undertaking. Both plans were ambitious ones for Tampa, but it received high encouragement. On June 30, 1906, congress adopted joint resolutions on the subject. The preamble warmly approved the Tampa project "to the end that the importance of this great isthmian waterway may be accentuated and the sentiment in favor of its early completion fostered and kept alive." The resolutions provided
That the president be, and he is hereby, requested to hold a naval review in Tampa by at such time during the progress of said exposition as he may deem best
Resolved further, that the president of the United States be, and he is hereby, requested to cause to be made such display of the army of the United States at said exposition as he may deem advisable.
Congress did not vote money for the Tampa exposition - perhaps it was not asked to do so. But the recognition of that city's claims that was accorded by congress is encouraging to San Diego.
Six years hence this city will have 100,000 inhabitants - perhaps many more. It will have its direct line of railway to the east. It will be a great commercial port. In those conditions, a great exposition here would be practicable. Moreover, it would have encouragement from the outside world. The propriety of celebrating the coming of the battleship fleet at San Diego, the first home port to be reached, was everywhere conceded. The desirability of having the chief canal celebration held at the Pacific coast post that is nearest to Panama, will be none the less apparent. And again recalling the Tampa incident, it is only reasonable to believe that at a time when the near completion of the gigantic task on the isthmus shall be the subject of universal rejoicing, congress will aid a celebration could be most fittingly held.
It is well to take this matter in hand now. As said, the practicability of the plan will become the more apparent that longer it is studied in all its phases. The present is the time to lay the foundation.
The San Diego Tribune: 08/30/1909
J.E. CONNELL FOR EXPOSITION HERE IN 1915
Thinks City Park Would be an Ideal Place to Hold Fair in Celebration of Opening of Panama Canal
SOME OF BUILDINGS SHOULD BE PERMANENT
Says They Could Later be Used for Various Purposes by City and Add to Attractiveness of that Section of San Diego
J.E. Connell, of Johnson & Connell, the undertakers, who has returned from a month's vacation, spending a portion of the time with the members of his family at San Francisco and Bartlett's Springs, is in favor of San Diego holding a world's fair in 1915 in celebration of the completion of the Panama canal.
Mr. Connell says he thinks the city park would be an ideal site for the exposition. And, furthermore he says, it would be a capital idea to have some of the buildings built along permanent lines that they might be preserved after the exposition closes and be put to practical use by the city.
Mr. Connell, who returned home Saturday, left his family at Bartlett's Springs. They will return to San Diego next week. When seen Sunday morning, and asked what he thought about the fair proposition, he said:
"I think it is a good idea. It most certainly would be a fine thing for our city."
When asked if he favored city park as a site for the fair, Mr Connell said:
"Don't think it could be improved upon. Just the place, it strikes me, talking offhand and without hearing suggestions from any other person relative to another site."
When asked if he would favor the idea of some of the buildings being erected with a view to permanency, Mr. Connell said:
"That is a fine idea. A good way to help cover up some of the bare ground in the park. As you say, one of the buildings could be used for a museum of exposition place. Another could easily be converted into an auditoruim after the exposition closes and be used in the future for public entertainments; a place where orators could be heard. That auditorium feature is a good one.
"Yes, I am most certainly in favor of the fair. I know of no better way in which to advertise San Diego and bring people here from all parts of the world, and especially from the four corners of our own country. All we need is to get the people here. The climate and environment will do the rest."
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