The San Diego Tribune: 09/01/1909
HOLD WORLD'S FAIR, MAKE IT PERMANENT, SAYS LOCAL BOOSTER
G.W. Stephenson Believes That Year-Round Exposition Would Attract 50 Percent of All Tourists Visiting State
That a permanent exhibit along 'World's Fair' lines could easily be maintained in San Diego is the belief of G.W. Stephenson. Not only does Mr. Stephenson hold this opinion, but he is willing to back it with an initial subscription of $500 toward the establishment of such an institution.
Carrying out the suggestion to hold a World's Fair in San Diego is 1915, Mr. Stevenson takes up the matter of a permanent exposition of worldwide magnitude and discusses it in an able manner in a communication addressed to the Union, in which he points out many of the possibilities of such an enterprise. The communication follows
"Your suggestion of holding a World's Fair here in 1915 is the acorn from which we may expect to grow a great tree.
"Allow me a this time to make the following suggestions, which I believe upon study will be found feasible and profitable to this community. If brief, make the fair a permanent institution of such surpassing merit and originality as to attract hundreds of thousands who come to this state annually. The People of the United States cannot all come here in one year. We will then be known as a city among cities, able to care for all who come.
Attract Thousands of Tourists
"I believe it entirely feasible to arrange an exhibit here that will keep on an average of from ten thousand to twenty thousand tourists every day in the year. I mean this many could be brought here over and above the normal travel. This, as you can easily see, is equivalent to some great dollars every year, or figuring in another way, it is equal to that number of men employed in manufacturing concerns.
"It is estimated that Los Angeles has from twenty-five thousand to forty thousand tourists on an average everyday of the year. I believe, with such a wonderful exhibit as it is possible for us to make, we could get one-half of these to visit us. Thousands of people in the East are waiting only for some inducement to come to this city, either as sightseers or settlers. The people of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and other near western states want to come in the summer; the others in the winter; thus our continuous open weather will suit all. There is no reason why we should not have at least fifty per cent of all tourists who visit California, especially if we have some great attraction for them.
"No country in the world admits of such possibilities in lines such as I shall here sketch. Here our open weather would keep alive and in thrifty condition, without a hot house, every known plant on earth throughout the year. A permanent display of plants and flowers could here be maintained that would attract the attention of thousands who delight in the vegetable world.
"Now consider the possibilities of an aquarium here. We could bring together the multitudinous forms of life in both fresh and salt waters, the monsters of the deep or the minnows of the brook. Here it would be possible to establish an exhibit that tourists would cross the continent to see. The possibilities of a zoo here in the great outdoors need not be enumerated.
"Here could be established a great bird cage, filled with the choicest collection of birds to be found in all the world, because our climatic conditions admit of it. This could be made so beautiful and wonderful that it would soon be known throughout our country.
Include Model Farms
"A great modern poultry farm with the best representatives of all the lines included, would attract the attention of thousands who deal in this humble but profitable business. This together with a model dairy farm, could, of course, be made self supporting. Bees working in glass cases, etc., could be made interesting to thousands.
"Then could come the special farms, ostrich, alligator, etc., etc. Here could be made a wonderful exhibit of the silk worm and the weaving of silk, the production of cotton fabrics, etc. Fruit and vegetables are available always. Our local industries olive oil, citrus by-products, etc., etc., could be carried on continuously. "Made in San Diego, California" would attract a great deal of attention.
"A great gem and mineral exhibit, second to none in the country, could be made. Manufacturers from all over the United States would want to exhibit. Counties and states, and foreign powers, especially China and Japan, could undoubtedly be interested in maintaining a permanent exhibit. Aviation here could be carried on every day of the year, owing to our dependable weather.
Could Outshine the Brightest
"This, of course, is a very limited and unsatisfactory outline of a few of the many things in which we could outshine the brightest. The possibilities of such an exhibit are wonderful. I believe this fair could be made self-supporting, or almost so, by concessions from legitimate enterprises, small admission fees, etc. I believe in making it high grade and strictly meritorious; not a gold fish aquarium, with a dozen varieties, but a thousand; not a few canaries, doves and wood ducks but a thousand kinds.
"I believe such a fair would meet with great favor, especially since we do not have too many things to attract the tourists here. A few will come to see Ramona's home, Point Loma, the Missions, etc., but thousands would come to see such a great exhibit as we could easily make. It would look well on our literature to say, "The Greatest Collection of Birds in the World." etc., etc. The bay will stay, but let us add another attraction or two.
"Our sister to the north is daily adding a jewel to enhance her natural charms, until she now blazes in barbaric splendor. We might get a few admiring glances if we tried to attract. Who knows?
"To show my faith in this enterprise, I will subscribe $500 to it.
The San Diego Tribune: 09/01/1909
DIRECTORS DISCUSSING QUESTION OF HOLDING WORLD'S FAIR IN 1915
Some Opposed to Suggestion
Final Action Expected to be Taken at Meeting in Chamber of Commerce This Afternoon - President Davidson Says He is Greatly in Favor of the Proposition
To hold a world's fair in 1915, in celebration of the completion of the Panama canal, or not to hold a world's fair?
That important question is being discussed at the meeting this afternoon of the board of directors of the chamber of commerce. It is said there is some diversity of opinion upon the subject, and just what the directors will do cannot be forecasted. Some are in favor of the plan, thinking it is the chance of a lifetime to advertise San Diego to the world and attract people here from all countries. Others contend the city is not sufficiently large to undertake such a stupendous task.
"I do not know what we are going to do about the matter." said President Davidson this morning. "Personally I am heartily in favor of it. There are some who are opposed to the scheme. The time has come when San Diego must declare itself upon that question. It cannot be put off any longer for it we do not decide pretty soon we will awaken some fine morning to learn that some other Southern California city has decided to hold a fair in celebration of the opening of the canal.
"Personally I think it is an opportunity to boost San Diego that will not come again in our generation. I am for a fair first, last and all the time. But there is no telling what the other directors of the chamber of commerce will say about it, or do. If it were left to me I would say yes: plan for the fair, invite the world to come to San Diego."
President Davidson is heartily in favor of the suggestions made several days ago by J.R. Connell, when he favored holding the fair in city park, and preserving some of the buildings for future use by the city.
"That is a mighty fine idea," continued President Davidson. "I am in favor of it. Several of the buildings for exposition purposes could be erected with an eye to permanency. When the fair closes they would revert to the city. Not only would they help beautify the park, but could be put to good usage. One building, for instance, could be converted into a museum or art gallery. One might also be used as a college building. San Diego needs a good college building. I feel confident that right kind of an educational institution would be well patronized by San Diego people. We are sending too many of our boys and girls away to other schools and colleges. Establish a good school here and keep the boys and girls at home."
The San Diego Union: 09/02/1909
COMMITTEE NAMED TO BOOST FOR WORLD FAIR
Chamber of Commerce Takes Up Project for Exposition In 1915
DAVIDSON IS CONFIDENT
Feels Sure That Success Is Possible and Urges Immediate Action.
Actual steps towards the holding of an exposition in San Diego in 1915 as a celebration of the opening of the Panama canal, were taken at the directors' meeting of the chamber of commerce yesterday afternoon. After a long discussion President G.A. Davidson was authorized to appoint a committee for the purpose of thoroughly considering the gigantic proposition, and within fifteen minutes after the meeting adjourned he had named the committeemen, all of whom are directors of the chamber. They are: Col. L.S. McLure, George Burnham, Philip Mose, Charles H. Bartholomew, William Clayton, Col. D.C. Collier, John F. Forward, Jr., M. German, C.M. Gifford, C.E. Groesbeck, J.P. Haddock, D.C. Hazelzigg, R.M. Powers, W.L. Rohrer, F.A. Schneider, F.C. Spalding, H.H. Stine, A.W. Vogdes, Louis J. Wilde, J.E. Wadham, Rufus Cholate and Secretary John S. Mills.
Project a Momentous One
"This is an important matter," said President Davidson to a Union reporter, "one that requires early action, and we will get the committee together right away to decide what shall be done along the lines of a more definite nature than have been considered thus far.
"The opening of the Panama canal will mark one of the greatest achievements ever accomplished, and will attract the attention of the whole world. It will be of vast importance to this country in general and to San Diego in particular. As San Diego is the first port of call in the United States for ships that will come through the waterway, there seems to be no question that this is the logical place for such a celebration to be held. It will certainly be a great thing for San Diego if carried through, and I see no reason why we cannot make it a big success.
Would Attract Thousands
"We cannot hope to have a second Chicago fair, but we certainly will be able to make lots of noise with an exposition that will bring many thousands of people here
"San Diego is growing rapidly now and it is believed by many that we will have a population of more than 100,000 people before the time for the proposed exposition arrives. I personally believed that San Diego will have a population of 100,000 or more by 1915.
"It is a big proposition we have before us, but I know it can be successfully swung if we go at it in the right way."