Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Days: October

South Garden.


October opened with a flurry of events including: Yacht Race Trophy presentation, Fire Chiefs Day, “Kute Kiddies Contest” on the Zone, American Life Convention, California Grocer’s Day, Portuguese Society Day, Prune Week, Chicago Day, Demonstration of Trained Sheep Dogs and many more.

The first major action of October was conducted on the 9th. John McLaren, the Chief Landscape Engineer, and his Assistant, Donald McLaren were honored for their efforts to convert the Jewel City from filled wetland into a botanical fair representing all of the varieties which might grow in California. John received a large silver cup, while Donald received a commemorative plaque in South Garden in the Palace of Horticulture. October 11th was Education Day. The day began with a flag raising ceremony at the Pennsylvania building where many children celebrated the Liberty Bell. There was a luncheon, multicultural dance exhibition on the Marina Green and the Board of Education received a bronze plaque.

The Palace of Fine Arts-a very popular attraction.


It was about this time that a grassroots effort began to swell in favor of saving the Palace of Fine Arts from certain destruction. It was for this reason that October 16th was deemed Preservation Day. Festivities were held at the Palace of Fine Arts to encourage folks to contribute to the Preservation Fund. The President of the Exposition and the Palace’s Architect Bernard Maybeck spoke to the audience. The Exposition Preservation League was able to raise $8,000 towards the goal of saving the Palace of Fine Arts that day. San Francisco native A. B. Spreckels led the line of contributors with her own $100 donation.

October 21st was Thomas Edison Day. Edison arrived the night before and was treated to a special exhibition of the Exposition lighting. The next day he was given a luncheon and then speeches were given. Edison had agreed to participate under the agreement that he would not have to speak and upon receipt of the award he promptly turned and handed it to his wife. The speakers extolled the contributions of the man to the technology, which was responsible for lighting the Exposition and the country. They ended his day with another demonstration of the Exposition’s lighting achievements. Ironically, it may have been more than a slight to the former inventor. The Exposition’s lighting was designed by his former company General Electric, which he had been forced from years earlier; while the power coming from far away hydroelectric plants would hardly have been possible without the use of the competitor to his Direct Current-Alternating Current, which he thought to be too dangerous to use.


The 21st also began the Fall Flower Show, which lasted for several days. Awards were presented to top horticulturists and Golden Gate Park put on quite a display. October 23rd was San Francisco Harbor Day. Ships of every make were sailed about in a great maritime parade. The following Day was dedicated to Gaspar de Portola whom is credited for being the first explorer to see the San Francisco Bay since the original inhabitants happened upon it thousands of years earlier. The month rounded out with: Woman’s Board Day, Santa Rosa School Children’s Day, Oregon State Day, school Children’s Regatta and many more.

Swans and Geese at the Palace of Fine Arts


Last updated: July 15, 2015

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