When last we encountered this goddess-behemoth, she was being blown up by the Navy at the end of the ’39 Pan-Pacific Exposition. The mythical goddess Pacifica — symbol of the Fair — had loomed over Treasure Island for the duration, a sternly imposing concrete figure of some 80 feet tall.

Though sculptor Ralph Stackpole had proposed that she be allowed to stay on as a sort of Statue of Liberty of the Pacific, the powers that be were unsympathetic — Pacifica was destroyed and hauled away with the rest of the rubble.

Now, almost 70 years later, the goddess is returning to San Francisco — albeit a bit reduced in scale. An 8-foot replica, reproduced in fiberglass from Stackpole’s original 3-foot working model, will be installed next week at the Community College of San Francisco (CCSF):

WHEN: Thursday, April 17th, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

WHERE: City College of San Francisco
Ocean Campus, 50 Phelan Avenue
in the garden next to the Diego Rivera Theater.

The Rivera connection

Connoisseurs of San Francisco art secrets will already know that the CCSF campus is the repository for one of the great surviving treasures of that fair, the mural “Pan American Unity” — a piece actually painted by Diego Rivera on Treasure Island as Fair patrons gawked.

Rivera’s original connection with San Francisco came from Stackpole, who traveled to Mexico to meet him in the ’20s and helped the lefty Mexican genius get his first mural commissions in the City. The Pacifica statue will be located in the “Olmec Head Plaza” — appropriately facing Rivera’s Treasure Island masterpiece.

The swimmer and the statue

Rivera mural

But here’s an odd angle; one of the figures immortalized by Rivera in that mural is responsible for bring Pacifica back — one Mr. Salvatore DeGuarda. Salvatore was working as a swimmer in Billy Rose’s Aquacade, happened to catch Diego’s eye, and now here he is — the one in the white swimming trunks.

After a long and colorful career, Mr. DeGuarda is now retired — but not very: after getting involved with Treasure Island’s fifty-year anniversary celebrations a couple of decades ago, he became obsessed with the re-creation of “Pacifica”:

“If it wasn’t for this statue, I would probably be dead by now. I have great memories, and I love sharing them with people. I want my legacy to be the re-creation of Pacifa on Treasure Island and the sharing of my stories.”

His donation of this relatively tiny version to CCSF is just a stop along the road — he’s already given a copy to the town of Pacifica (the statue’s namesake) — Salvatore won’t be satisfied until the full-scale 80-foot statue rises again above the Pacific.

For more about Salvatore DeGuarda’s non-profit group “Pacifica II Project”, visit