California Pacific International Exposition
Ford Motor Company began displaying its products at non-automotive exhibitions as early as 1904, becoming a leading exhibitor in world's fairs and other events by the mid 1930s, including the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego. The Ford Building, Music Bowl, and outdoor "Roads of the Pacific" experience composed the Exposition's largest and most popular attraction.

Resembling two engaged gears, Ford's steel, concrete, and glass exhibition building towered above more traditional structures at the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. The Ford Building -- created in the "Streamline Moderne" architectural style by industrial design pioneer Walter Dorwin Teague -- combined clean curves and sharp lines with modern materials, reflecting technological progress in the new machine age. The building enclosed an open-air courtyard with a V-8 emblem-shaped fountain. In this central area, fairgoers could rest, take in pleasant landscaping or automotive displays, and enjoy musical performances. Still standing in Balboa Park, the building now houses the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

A 3,000-seat outdoor amphitheater next to the Ford Building offered free musical performances.

These Ford Music Bowl concerts were also broadcast nationally by radio, broadening Ford's corporate presence at the Exposition and providing bonus advertising. "Roads of the Pacific" allowed visitors to rider in brand new Ford V-8s over 14 reproductions of famous roads, including the Great North Road on New Zealand's north island, Mexico's Old Spanish Road, and the historic Santa Fe Trail.

The images in this set are drawn from the World's Fair Photographs series, 1933-1964, held at the Benson Ford Research Center. This collection, consisting of 8x10 inch black and white photographic prints, documents various aspects of Ford Motor Company’s involvement in world fairs and other expositions held in America between 1934 and the early 1960s, including buildings, exhibits, displays, employees, celebrities and special events. You can view the online collection catalog record and find a link to the collection finding aid here.

The Henry Ford’s Online Collections website contains many more California Pacific International Exposition photographs from the series which can be viewed here.

For additional information about these photographs or the World's Fair Photographs series contact the Benson Ford Research Center at research.center@thehenryford.org.
12 photos · 640 views