The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the few sights of the Fantasy in Real Life Series that I’ve actually visited. Located in the marina district of San Francisco, this stunning structure is a magnet for photographers and artists alike.
The Palace was originally built as a part of the Panama-Pacific Exhibition, a world fair that ran from February 20th to December 4th in 1915. This particular fair was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and also showcase San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake.
The Palace of Fine Arts was one of ten separate palaces that dotted the over 600 acre exhibition, the other nine palaces were for education, liberal arts, manufactures, varied industries, agriculture, food products, transportation, mines and metallurgy, and machinery.
The exhibition was not built to last, the Palace of Fine Arts was built primarily of wood and then covered with a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. The original intention was for all the palaces to be torn down at the end of the fair, but the Palace of Fine Arts was so popular that the Palace Preservation League was formed before the end of the fair.
Despite their best efforts, the Palace fell into ruin and fell to vandalism. In 1964 the original Palace was torn down save the steel structure of the exhibit hall, and rebuilt using newer more durable materials, like lightweight poured-in-place concrete. In 1969, the exhibit hall became home to the interactive museum, the Exploratorium.
To learn more about the Palace of Fine arts, check out these links below:
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