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California Girls: 1919

California Girls: 1919

San Francisco or thereabouts circa 1919. "Chalmers touring car." At what seems to be a deluxe cow barn. 6½ x 8½ Wyland Stanley glass negative. View full size.


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California Building

Several of us San Francisco historians had to put our heads together to solve this one.

Turns out the photo was taken inside the former "California Building" exhibit, a remnant of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. It stood approximately on the site of today's St. Francis Yacht Club.

Like a handful of other PPIE buildings (most notably the Palace of Fine Arts), the California Building survived for several years after the fair, looking for a new use. At one point it was proposed for a State Teachers College but that never materialized. It stood until March 1920.

Its use as a paddock for livestock comes as a total surprise, though. Perhaps this was merely elaborate set dressing?

And here's a 1915 view of the same alcove and steps, courtesy of PPIE historian Donna Huggins.

Location: college?

The large architecture (large building in left background, and church-like three story building with buttresses in right background) and hay-covered breezeway makes me suspect a large college or university. It doesn't match Berkeley or Stanford, and looks too flat to be San Francisco proper. The foreground arches look like less-expensive sculpted plaster, so I'm thinking it's not a particularly wealthy college. The big blue gum eucalyptus behind the cow says that it didn't have formal gardens.

Not wanting to milk a joke but

It is an early version of a Starbucks with a prototype fresh milk and cream bar to dress up your Grande coffee.

An exposition perhaps?

Notice the large building in the right background, and the tall superstructure in the left background. Also, the brick steps leading up to the stable. I tend to think these animals are for display.

Yes, dear

I'll be sure to stop and get a gallon of milk on the way home from work.

Indulgent boss

Allowing the chauffeur to pull over to hug his favorite cow.

April Winchell, eat your heart out

Now these are contented, happy California cows. They set the bar higher before the Depression.

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