August 5, 2007
Treasure Island is easily visible from San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a low-lying front porch jutting out towards the Golden Gate from Yerba Buena Island. Palm trees in a silhouetted row set off massive white buildings, dwarfed by the towering silver Bay Bridge marching across the water towards Oakland. That bridge carries over 130,000 people a day within yards of this artificial lily pad, most of them whizzing by at 70 miles per hour without giving it a second thought.
What is Treasure Island? Why is it there? And where is it going?
In the first episode of this 2-part podcast series, you’ll learn how politics, pride, and the Great Depression collided to spark this audacious construction project, and the story of its glamorous first occupant — the 1939 World’s Fair. Crazed seagulls, the tooth of a woolly mammoth, Irving Berlin, and a radio signal from Bombay are just a few of the elements that make this story a San Francisco classic.
Skip to Part Two.
For further edification:
» “Trails End for ’39ers” – Almanac for Thirty-Niners – WPA, 1938
» “Western Wonderland” – Time Magazine, 1939
» Gorgeous pre-Fair Publicity Film – Prelinger Archives
» Newsreel footage of ’39 World’s Fair – Prelinger Archives
» Home movie from the ’39 World’s Fair – Prelinger Archives
» “Not So Golden Gate” – Time Magazine, 1939
» “The Legend of Yerba Buena Island” 1936
» Treasure Island – Wikipedia
» Treasure Island Music Festival – Noisepop/Another Planet
- Emperor Norton Day: “Le Roi est Mort”
- #32: Letter from the Gold Rush, 1850
- book review — “Treasure Island; San Francisco’s Exhibition Years”
- drafted by the SFist!
- ’39 world’s fair butterfly
Thanks to Devin Anderson for musical support from the “Uniforms” motion picture score — “Stamp Collection” and “Untitled”, as well as “Monster Symphony – 1st Movement”, courtesy of the PodShow PodSafe Music Network.
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