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De Young's Delight: The Midwinter Fair

Michael de Young and family with former President Benjamin Harrison and party
Michael de Young and family
with former President Benjamin Harrison and party
In 1894, San Francisco Chronicle Publisher, Michael de Young, spearheads a movement that brings San Francisco its first World’s Fair—the California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. Business leaders agree that it will be a tonic for the economic ills gripping the City and the nation. Conservationists like John McLaren fear for the preservation of the park. The Midwinter Fair opens on January 27, 1894, with its own Midway Plaisance, featuring attractions from the Chicago Fair the year before—and more.

Ephemera from Midwinter Fair of 1894
Ephemera from Midwinter Fair of 1894

"The Midway is an education in its way. It affords peeps into lands and customs that have hitherto been myth as far away and impalpable as the man-in-the-moon."

--OVERLAND MONTHLY

Midway scene from Midwinter Fair of 1894
Midway scene from Midwinter Fair of 1894
Midway scene from Midwinter Fair of 1894
Midway scene from Midwinter Fair of 1894
Dante's Inferno
Dante's Inferno
The experience gives San Franciscans and visitors who think they’re in Heaven, a glimpse of Hell.

'49 Mining Camp
'49 Mining Camp
Bob Jones, your host, says, "Put up or shut up. Let go of your dust and make Gold Gulch howl... HURRAH FOR BOOZE."

Lamarcus Thompson's Scenic Railway
Lamarcus Thompson's Scenic Railway
This ride is a bargain, for a nickel you get a view of the entire Fair and a roller coaster ride at the same time.

Japanese Village
Japanese Village
If booze isn’t your cup of tea, have a cup of tea—and cookies—at the Japanese Village. Its legacy, the Japanese Tea Garden, offers serenity—and tea and cookies—in Golden Gate Park still today.

Makoto Hagiwara and daughter
Makoto Hagiwara and daughter
Longtime guardian of the Japanese Tea Garden, Makoto Hagiwara, to stimulate business in his own teahouse, puts fortunes into cookies. San Francisco’s Chinese restaurateurs capitalize on this idea.

The successful Fair closes on July 4th, 1894, known as "San Francisco Day" and "Sunset Day."

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