On December 1st, the Women’s Board threw a closing reception, dinner and dancing, which was dedicated to Maj. Gen. and Mrs. Arthur Murray, the former being the first United States Chief of Coast Artillery. It was a time for enjoyment and celebration with no speeches being made. Mrs. Phoebe A. Hearst presided at the dinner.
The final event of the Livestock Department, the Children’s Pet Exhibit, took place on December 2nd and 3rd. The Women’s Board was vital to its success holding three months of meetings in the lead up. The San Francisco Examiner held a prize contest for the best essay on the humane treatment of pets. Thousands of children participated and even more showed up to watch. Among the animals present were: squirrels, frogs, birds, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, pheasants, pigeons, a bear and more! The children received ribbons and made poster displays. It was remarked that the children seemed to know more about the animals than the judges.
The final days of the exposition were designated Electrical Prosperity Week. The week gave praise and honors to the discoverers of the laws which govern electricity and celebrated the advancement of the art of applied electricity. The week concluded on the night of the third with a great electrical parade. Floats-illuminated by electricity-were a “resplendent moving spectacle…in the softly radiant effects of their illumination.” It also served a commercial purpose, as advertisements went up in newspapers, exclaiming the week and offering electrical products to purchase.
After three days of rain, the skies cleared the morning of finale, which brought 459,022 people to the Exposition. The crowds gathered in the Court of the Universe, where a speech was given by President Moore and a poem, written for the occasion by George Sterling, was read. The Philippine Constabulary band played to the crowd.
A global toast was planned for noon. Long before the final days of the exposition, President Wilson had prepared some words on the spirit of the exposition. This speech was copied many times over then sent to all corners of the globe and all buildings in the exposition. At noon, all were to read the toast simultaneously and join in saluting the expo.
The rest of the afternoon was full of formal goodbyes between officials from all about the expo. Persons sought out there last chance to enjoy the many exhibits and concessions. A town crier mad the rounds to all of the buildings thanking them and reminding them to shut their doors at the strike of six o’clock.
As night descended the droves poured back into the Court of the Universe in anticipation of the final act. President Moore gave a short speech concluding, “Friends, the exposition is finished. The lights are going out.” It was at this instant the lights slowly dimmed throughout the grounds, leaving the light of the stars. A bugler in the Tower of Jewels played taps. Lights returned, but not those of the exposition. Suddenly, cannons boomed, releasing fireworks in grand display and high overhead, the familiar sound of aviator Art Smith’s engines appeared as he did loop-the-loop for the last time.
Nobody was rushed out. There was no vandalism; no removing of souvenirs. “It was after four o’clock in the morning on the fifth day before the last weary visitor was willing to say goodbye, and to admit in his heart that the lights of the exposition had gone out forever.”
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Last updated: July 15, 2015