Treasure Island is easily visible from San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a low-lying front porch jutting out towards the Golden Gate from Yerba Buena Island. Palm trees in a silhouetted row set off massive white buildings, dwarfed by the towering silver Bay Bridge marching across the water towards Oakland. That bridge carries over 130,000 people a day within yards of this artificial lily pad, most of them whizzing by at 70 miles per hour without giving it a second thought.

What is Treasure Island? Why is it there? And where is it going?

In the first episode of this 2-part podcast series, you’ll learn how politics, pride, and the Great Depression collided to spark this audacious construction project, and the story of its glamorous first occupant — the 1939 World’s Fair. Crazed seagulls, the tooth of a woolly mammoth, Irving Berlin, and a radio signal from Bombay are just a few of the elements that make this story a San Francisco classic.

Skip to Part Two.

For further edification:
» “Trails End for ’39ers” – Almanac for Thirty-Niners – WPA, 1938
» “Western Wonderland” – Time Magazine, 1939
» Gorgeous pre-Fair Publicity Film – Prelinger Archives
» Newsreel footage of ’39 World’s Fair – Prelinger Archives
» Home movie from the ’39 World’s Fair – Prelinger Archives
» “Not So Golden Gate” – Time Magazine, 1939
» “The Legend of Yerba Buena Island” 1936
» Treasure Island – Wikipedia
» Treasure Island Music Festival – Noisepop/Another Planet

random episode from the archives:
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musical support:
Thanks to Devin Anderson for musical support from the “Uniforms” motion picture score — “Stamp Collection” and “Untitled”, as well as “Monster Symphony – 1st Movement”, courtesy of the PodShow PodSafe Music Network.

printed bibliography:

San Francisco’s Treasure Island

Jason Pipes – Arcadia Publishing, 2007

The San Francisco Bay Area: A Metropolis in Perspective

Mel Scott – UC Press, 1989

Treasure Island : San Francisco’s Exposition Years

Richard Reinhardt – Scrimshaw Press, 1973

The Art of Treasure Island

Eugen Neuhaus – UC Press, 1939

The Naval History of Treasure Island

ed. E.A. McDevitt – Naval Training & Distribution Center, 1946

linking policy: books in print available through your local independent bookstore; out of print books through