Recalling San Diego’s Panama-California Exposition

The Strawfoot

This calendar year marks the anniversary of one of the lesser known events of the World War One-era: the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. The purpose of this World’s Fair was to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, which had become a reality in August 1914. The fair was in the works going all the way back to the Taft Administration. Who could have known that the Great War would begin at the same time? Needless to say, the ongoing war in Europe changed the tone of the fair. President Woodrow Wilson ceremonially turned on the lights from far off Washington D.C. at midnight on New Years 1915. (A competing fair opened in San Fransisco in February.) There were a number of military exercises over the next several months, including a cavalry review on Lincoln’s Birthday, a troop review of the First Cavalry by dignitaries that included Assistant Secretary…

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