Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Department or Program Chair

Jordan Lieser, Ph.D.

First Reader

Leslie Ross, Ph.D.


Just hours after the 1906 Earthquake, Jack London arrived in San Francisco and wrote an article for Collier's Magazine, “The Story of an Eyewitness.” He famously reported, “San Francisco is gone...Nothing remains of it but memories.” The earthquake and subsequent fire left most of San Francisco in ruins; commercial buildings, humble residences and grand estates destroyed. The City was a blank slate and in the process of rebuilding, there was the opportunity to utilize new architectural styles as well as create new architecture; significantly, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 (PPIE) provided the impetus as well as the art, color, and design for the rebuilding of the City. Exposition architecture, such as the Palace of Fine Arts by Bernard Maybeck, inspired new architecture for the San Francisco Bay Area and built upon the new architectural movements which had started prior to the calamity. This paper uses primary source documents, including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Park Archives and Presidio Records, and the architectural records of the San Francisco Planning Department to document historical architecture prior to the 1906 earthquake. In addition, this paper will reference the Exposition’s chief architect, George W. Kelham, and other key architects and designers involved in the planning and design of the PPIE, to document the architectural legacy of Exposition, and to look at the resulting design and growth in international architecture after 1915. This paper discusses how the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition influenced the artwork and architectural landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Furthermore, this paper serves as an architectural history tribute to the Bay Area, the artists and architects, and city workers, who helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake.