Imagine a tower more than 40 stories high, sparkling as the sun catches a hundred thousand pieces of colorful cut glass. Imagine this tower at night, lit by dozens of spotlights as its gown of glass shimmies in the wind for a gaping audience beneath -- an audience that was only just starting to have access to electricity. Imagine the promise this vision held, the way it pointed your city towards the future.
San Francisco’s merchant and civic leaders poured their hearts into the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, or PPIE. This world’s fair was ostensibly celebrating the recent completion of the Panama Canal -- but really, this was the city’s chance to show the world that it was back.