The Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE)
on Treasure Island, San Francisco
By Kathryn Ayres
The Golden Gate International Exposition was held in order to celebrate the city's two new bridges. The San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge was dedicated on November 12, 1936; the Golden Gate Bridge was dedicated on May 27, 1937; and on August 26, 1937, dredging for Treasure Island, the site of the Fair, was complete. The Fair ran from February 18 through October 29 in 1939, and from May 25 through September 29 in 1940.
Throughout the run of the Fair, multi-colored searchlights shot up for one mile in the nighttime sky, and were visible for 100 miles around. The official program described the lighting effects as ''chromotherapy.'' The 80 foot statue of Pacifica personified the theme of the Fair, emphasizing unity between Pacific nations. But the dominating feature of the Island was the 400-foot Tower of the Sun, which competed in stature with the towers of the Bay Bridge nearby.
The magnificent garden courts were designed to showcase California's balmy weather, in contrast to that of New York, which was hosting a world's fair at the same time. Twelve hundred gardeners were on the Fair's payroll, and they worked in the wee morning hours to design flower beds that corresponded with the seasons. The outdoor statuary was designed almost exclusively by California artists.
The amusement zone, called the Gayway, had a delightful range of entertainment venues. The most popular was Sally Rand's Nude Ranch. Business exhibits emphasized the speed and conveniences available in the twentieth century, while foreign pavilions tempted patrons to travel to exotic lands.
At midnight on the very last night of the Fair, each of multi-colored lights was dimmed slowly, one by one, so that nothing remained but the street lamps and the illumination for the Tower of the Sun which stayed lit until dawn the following day, so that it could never be said that the Sun went out over San Francisco Bay.
Treasure Island, California
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Oakland. It is connected by a small isthmus to Yerba Buena Island. It was created in 1939 for the ''Golden Gate International Exposition'' by dredging fill from the bay. According to the United States Census Bureau, Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island together have a land area of 2.334 km (0.901 sq mi) with a total population of 1,453 as of the 2000 census. The island is named for the novel Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in San Francisco from 1879 to 1880.
Treasure Island is wholly within the City and County of San Francisco, whose territory extends far into San Francisco Bay and to the tip of the island of Alameda, California. The island has a raised walkway which circumnavigates almost its entire bulk, which is popular for recreation. Sea lions can be observed in the water from the shoreline, and construction of the new eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge can be observed from the eastern part of the island. The island has no gas station, and is served by a single bus, the San Francisco Municipal Railway 108. It has a job training center, is also home to low income San Franciscans and many college students who attend school downtown.
Treasure Island was built with imported fill on shoals on the north side of Yerba Buena Island for the Expo in 1939. The island sits in the ''middle'' of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. Built by the federal government, Treasure Island was planned for and used as an airport for Pan American Airline's Pacific Rim service of flying boats, of which the China Clipper is an example. After the World's Fair 1939 ? 1940 exhibition, the island was scheduled to be used as an airport when the Navy offered to exchange Mills Field on the San Francisco Peninsula near the city of Millbrae for the island. The City and County of San Francisco accepted the swap, and the airport was built at Mills Field.
During World War II Treasure Island became part of the Treasure Island Naval Base, and served largely as an electronics and radio communications training school, and as the major Navy departure point for sailors in the Pacific. In 1996 Treasure Island and the Presidio Army Base were decommissioned and opened to public control, under stipulations. Treasure Island is now part of District 6 of the City and County of San Francisco, though it is still owned by the Navy. The Administration Building, a Streamline Modern styled remnant of the World's Fair, is one of the few buildings remaining from the exposition. Today it serves largely as offices for The Villages, a private apartment rental agency. The former housing for officers and their families is rented out to the general public, pending redevelopment and reconstruction of buildings on the island, slated for 2008. A substantial part of the island is undergoing environmental cleanup by the federal government.