Chris Treadway: Exhibit recounts 'Richmond Day' at the 1915 World's Fair
By Chris Treadway
Contra Costa Times Columnist
Posted: 08/04/2011 04:39:30 PM PDT
Updated: 08/05/2011 11:59:22 AM PDT
Richmond was observing the 10th year since its founding Aug. 7, 1915, and a good percentage of its population was celebrating -- in San Francisco.
An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 residents, many of them children, were attending Richmond Day at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, the World's Fair held along the northern San Francisco shoreline.
That notable day in Richmond's history is the focus of an exhibit that opens with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday (the 96th anniversary of that day at the exposition) in the Seaver Gallery at the Richmond Museum of History, 400 Nevin Ave.
"Richmond Day at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, August 7, 1915" includes a panoramic photo showing Richmond residents, who had made the excursion by train and ferry, gathered in a courtyard with the fair's ornate buildings in the background.
Just as the fair was an announcement of San Francisco's rebirth after the 1906 earthquake, its hosting of Richmond Day was recognition of the emergence of a city that had grown from a population of about 2,000 at its founding to 22,000 residents or more by 1915.
News accounts in the Richmond Independent show that numerous meetings were held before the big day.
"There was a parade organized by the city and special exhibits about the city of Richmond," the museum notes. "Richmond's mayor, E.J. Garrard, was in attendance along with many other important city officials and residents."
The genesis of the exhibit was curiosity about an artifact in the museum's collection.
"We were just going through our archives and found a medal that was given to the Richmond Industrial Commission on Aug. 7, 1915," said museum assistant Matt Walker. "We did some research and found there was a Richmond Day at the fair. We did more research and found more artifacts and decided to do an exhibit."
Walker said the recognition in 1915 was "really a celebration of not only a specific day, but of the city's growth in a short amount of time and its future, what people saw for Richmond becoming a great city."
Admission to the reception is free and Garrard's modern-day counterpart, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, will give the opening remarks. Entertainment will be provided by students from the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and the LMP Trio.
The exhibit will be at the museum through Oct. 1. For details, call 510-235-7387 or go to www.richmondmuseumofhistory.org.