Wednesday, November 5, 2008

San Francisco 1894: Court of Honor at the Midwinter Fair.....

The centerpiece of San Francisco's 1894 exposition was the central Court of Honor. Patterned after the Chicago World's Fair's court of the same name, it was designed as a great gathering place, and also served as a stage containing the fair's five major exhibit structures. A sunken garden was located at the center, containing spacious lawns dotted with a variety of flowers, shrubs, palms and statuary. Known as the Sunset City, because of its warm pastel-tinted buildings, the California Midwinter International Exposition was one of the most original and uniquely designed fairs ever staged. At the court's Western end stood the Persian style & pineapple-domed Administration Building, fronted by the monumental California Allegorical Fountain. Located at the opposite end of the court was the massive Manufactures & Liberal Arts Building, designed in a Moorish style, and topped with a turquoise-blue dome. On the North side of the court stood the Romanesque-Mission style Horticultural & Agricultural Building, with its massive glass dome. Immediately to the East of this structure was situated the Egyptian style Fine Arts Building. Opposite these two structures was located the East India style Mechanical Arts Building, decorated with numerous minarets. Prominently located at the center of the Court of Honor stood the fair's tallest structure, the 266-foot high Bonet Electric Tower. The tower contained a restaurant on its first level, two observation platforms, and the World's most powerful searchlight located at the top. At night the tower was illuminated by 3,200 multi-color electric lights, arranged in various shapes & patterns.

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