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Jumbo and Pee-Wee – Viña del Mar Park, Sausalito, California

Jumbo and Pee-Wee – Viña del Mar Park, Sausalito, California
The Viña del Mar Park In Sausalito is named for Viña del Mar, Chile, one of Sausalito’s sister cities. The park holds some interesting architectural elements: After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (and resulting fire) leveled parts of the city, the San Francisco Bay Area was chosen as the place to build an elaborate World’s Fair. In 1915, the city hosted the Panama-Pacific International Exposition to help in celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. Over 18 million people visited the 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair.

The Fair paid tribute to the various technologies that were modern at the time. In this vein, many types of temporary buildings and accents were created out of an industrial-strength paper mache product that was designed to last about one year. Artists from around the world contributed works and some 1,500 full-size sculptures adorned the 635-acre complex. Among the large sculptures on display were examples of classical-era art formats in fountains, statues and architectural accents. It was a large honour to be asked to create a sculpture for the Expo.

The famous "Court of the Universe" complex at the Fair was designed by William B. Faville, from Sausalito. Faville commissioned twelve full-size African Gray elephants, decked in finery, to be produced by the well-known "McKim, Mead & White" design firm in New York City for his complex. Each paper mache elephant sat at the base of an elaborate 100-foot-tall flagpole around the outer edges of his full-size, elegant, paper mache temporary buildings in regal style.

In 1915, the harmonizing of all elaborately decorated Expo buildings was achieved by colour-coding them. Thus, all of the tall flagpoles were painted in a pinkish-orange tone to properly stand-out during foggy conditions. The sculptures and statues were painted in lavish gold tones with antique greens and deep blues used heavily in accent colours. All over the Fair, twinkling rhinestone jewels were hung to create the feeling of being among riches beyond imagination. An estimated 109,000 gems were produced as decorations.

At the conclusion of the Fair, the displays were destroyed to make room for more post-earthquake rebuilding efforts in San Francisco. William B. Faville could not bear the thought of his beautiful flagpole elephants being destroyed, so he used his position to ferry his favourite two elephants and one beautiful paper mache fountain across the San Francisco Bay to his Sausalito home. The triangle-shaped park: Viña del Mar, in Sausalito, holds the 1915 Faville treasures.

When the two elephants arrived in Sausalito by ferryboat, they were placed in the park located near the ferry terminal. The town's children named the big paper mache elephants: "Jumbo" and "Pee-Wee" while the adults admired the stunning fountain that arrived with the Faville elephants. Against all odds, the industrial-strength paper mache materials remained intact for almost 20-years; however, during the mid-1930s, the Jumbo and Pee-Wee statues, along with the elegant paper mache fountain, started to decompose.

During the first Great Depression, money was not available to have Jumbo and Pee-Wee professionally reconstructed out of original materials. Instead, the best Faville elephant was used to create a mold that was used to pour the two identical cement elephants that are found in the Viña del Mar Park today. The modern Viña del Mar Park elephants are among the most photographed sights in Sausalito. These highly-decorative and unusual outdoor sculptures are easily visited at the corner of Bridgeway and Portal, adjacent to the downtown Sausalito ferryboat pier.

, , Don Sutherland have particularly liked this photo

 Don Sutherland
Don Sutherland club
Outstanding shot.
8 years ago.
Betty【ツ】 club
Attractive find, these elephants light, thank you for the explanations.
8 years ago.

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