And popular it was. More than 14,000 exhibitors filled its 990,000 square feet. The building containing the fair was a major attraction, in its own right, Because it was constructed of newly developed cast plate glass, lighting wasn't required.
London's success led quickly to imitators in Dublin, New York and Paris. By 1915 more than 40 such expositions had been held all over the world. In developing US cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco they often served the additional purposes of developing large tracks of land and attracting new residents.
San Francisco competed with other US cities, particularly New Orleans, for the right to host the PPIE designed to commemorate the completion of the Panama Canal and the 400th anniversary of Balboa's discovery of the Pacific Ocean. President Taft declared San Francisco the winner in 1911.
San Francisco's city fathers decided to fill in the mud flats now called the Marina rather than use Golden Gate Park.