Title Page
Map of the Grounds
Introduction
Panama Canal
San Francisco
The Exposition's Architecture
The Exposition's Architecture
The Exposition's Architecture
The Exposition's Architecture
The Exposition's Architecture
Conclusion and Further Reading


The Joy Zone


Many concessions along the mile long stretch of the Joy Zone housed re-created villages of natives in a stereotypical depiction of life in far-away lands. The Tehuantepec Village was a reconstruction of a Mexican village with "pretty Mexican maidens, garbed in bright colored dresses, and courtly senors with close fitting trousers and broad sombreros" (SF Chronicle, 23 Feb 1915). The Samoan Island concession showed the "primitive ways" of semi-naked women in their South Sea costumes with their dances where "one gets a glimpse of the life of a race thousands of years behind civilization" (SF Examiner, 21 Feb 1915). And, according to the Exposition supplement in the San Francisco Examiner, "if you are Irish and have not lost that special vein of humor which is characteristic of Erin,
An African Tribesman
An African Tribesman
Shamrock Isle with the Irish village, is sure to get you." (ibid.). Also the Zone had an African village conveying a similar image of a primitive culture with a "community of thin, black and hollow-cheeked wanderers from Somali land" (ibid.). But, as Robert Rydell explains, even with one villager holding a spear and doing a war dance, many visitors found the "savages too tame." Because of this disintrest in "tame savages", within a few weeks Charles Moore had the Africans deported by United States immigration officials (Rydell, All the World's, 228). The Chinese concession, however, drew the biggest reaction from the Exposition's directors.

One part of the Chinese Village on the Zone, "Underground Chinatown," drew the ire of local Chinese businessmen and the Chinese consul. This portion of the Chinese Village depicted a "chamber of horrors" including, among other things, an opium den.
A Chinatown Opium Den
A Chinatown Opium Den
Due to pressure from the community and beyond, the Underground was closed; though Rydell suggests there were ulterior motives. The nationalist revolution of 1911 and the subsequent creation of the Republic of China created a willingness of the Chinese to woo American capital; little surprise that the Chinese government, even in the face of California's anti-alien legislation, decided to participate in the Exposition (All the World's, 228-229). Nevertheless, after they closed the Underground, and while the larger Chinese concession still existed, a the Zone created new exhibition in its place called "Underground Slumming." Even though no Chinese people participated in this new presentation, it still reeked of the stereotypical xenophobia of the Zone. Rydell concludes that the Chinese Village still stood as "a village that stood out as just one more nonwhite ghetto among many others on the outskirts of the utopia planned by the exposition directors" (All the World's, 229).

This tendency towards regional chauvinism existed entirely as a part of the "entertainment" of the many ethnographic caricatures of the many concessions in the Joy Zone. The official Exposition was supposed to exhibit the refinement expected of a host country opening its doors to the people and
A Chinatown Opium Den
"The End of the Trail"
cultures of the world. Unfortunately the depiction of American Indians in the "serious" part of the fair appeared only in some statuary. For instance, the statue of "The End of the Trail" (at left) represented an Indian from the white man's perspective. "The drooping, storm-beaten figure of the Indian on the spent pony symbolizes the end of the race which was once a mighty people," according to a souvenir view book of the exposition (Blue Book, 48). Offset by another statue, "The Ameircan Pioneer," (at right)
A Chinatown Opium Den
"The American Pioneer"
the noble conqueror of the American Frontier and subjugator of the American Indian only furthered the parochial ideology of the Exposition. "This erect, energetic, powerful manů is very typical of the white man and the victorious march of his civilization," wrote Eugen Neuhaus in his The Art of the Exposition (44). The Darwinian idea of the "Survival of the Fittest" seemed exemplified in the juxtaposition of "The American Pioneer," with "The End of the Trail" (Armstrong, 120). These many ideas of "progress" at the Exposition; the Progressives, the many proposals for race betterment and the depiction of "primitive" civilizations all paled in comparison to the one cold, hard fact that overshadowed the events in San Francisco; a world at war.




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