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Treasure Island looks back 50 years.

The Treasure Island fair was a "ta-ra-raboom-de-ay" exposition-exotic, a little crazy, and above all, entertaining. Esther Williams swam in its aquacade, and Pan American China Clippers (trans-Pacific "flying boats") arrived and departed from docks jutting into San Francisco Bay.

Local author Richard Reinhardt remembers it as "a peaceable island, crowned with towers and glittering with light, that seemed to float like a vision on a sea of gold." Dramatic color photographs and the vivid recollections of fair employees reaffirm this vision in a new book edited by Patricia Carpenter and Paul Totah, The San Francisco Fair (Scottwall Associates, San Francisco, 1989; $29.95).

Fantastic towers and a touch of Asia

One headline put it simply: "The West Gives Itself A Party." In 1939, there were two new bridges to celebrate (one passing right by the 400-acre man-made island). The flavor of that party is recaptured in a 50th-anniversary exhibit opening May 20 at the Treasure Island Museum,

The fair focused on the cultural and architectural diversity of what we now call the Pacific Rim, as if somehow the newly completed Bay and Golden Gate bridges actually stretched across the ocean.

Scale models and souvenirs in new show

The permanent exhibit, in the southern end of the museum's four-story hall, contains artifacts from the fair: historic photographs, the jewel-studded key to the exposition, a scale model of one of the famous elephant-shaped towers. At the exhibit's center stands a 20-foot-high replica of the fair's architectural emblem, the Tower of the Sun.

You will also encounter a souvenir stand stocked with keepsakes emblazoned with exposition designs-from card tables to carpet sweepers, tumblers to tablecloths. From the Bay Bridge, take the Treasure Island exit.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Treasure Island fair
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1989
Words:281
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