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The Court of Flowers
Dedicated to the Oriental Fairy Tales.
This exquisite court is by Geo. Kelham of San Francisco, who came from New York just after the San Francisco fire to help in the reconstruction of the city.
He is a man of pronounced ability and has just won in the competition for plans for the new San Francisco Public Library.
The court is made one of great beauty by the collaborated work of Mr. Geo. Kelham, the architect; Mr. Jules Guerin, the colorist, and Mr. John McLaren of San Francisco, the chief of landscape gardening.
A loggia runs around the second story of the court, interrupted along the face by niches which hold "The Oriental Flower Girl," designed by Mr. A. Stirling Calder of New York, but worked out in the studio of the Exposition.
Coupled columns, suggesting glacial ice, form a colonnade around three sides of the court, the fourth side opening into the Avenue of Palms.
As you walk down the main path of this court you are held spell-bound by the fairy-like appearance of the albizzia lophantha, trimmed four feet in height, the top of which branches out into a head five feet across.
One has the feeling of meeting fairies with their skirts out ready for the dance - a veritable fairy ballet. Nothing could be more lovely than this remarkably treated tree. The rich yellow fluff that will soon appear, lasting for some four to six weeks, will be one note of the yellow chord to be struck in this court-pansy, daffodil, albizzia, the orange and the yellow background of niches. (This floral music for March and April.)
A symphony in yellows.
The groups of trees at the north are the eugenia myrtifolia.
Every one appreciates the blessing of the trees and flowers, without which the Exposition would have lost much of its beauty.
The flowers used at the opening of the Exposition can alone be given, but these will serve to show the plan of arrangement.
The six lions are by Albert Laessle, who has many fine examples of his animal life in the Fine Arts Palace.
The fountain of Beauty and the Beast, which should have been placed in the Court of Palms, the Court of Occidental Fairy Tales, is by a young San Franciscan, Edgar Walters, whose fine bears can be seen in the Fine Arts Palace.
The base of the fountain shows a procession of beasts - the bear, the cynocephalus ape, the lion.
Upholding Beauty and the Beast are fauns and satyrs, playing on their pipes.
Walk down the colonnades and take note of the coupled smoked ivory pilasters on the pink ground.
A fawn-colored ceiling has suspended from it Italian bronze lanterns - the bronze suggestive of the color of the blue eucalyptus. At night these lanterns glow with color.
In front of the Court of Flowers is "The American Pioneer," a fine meaningful equestrian figure, by Solon Borglum of Ogden, Utah.
I am taking the liberty of quoting Secretary Lane's inspiring words given at the opening of the Exposition - a fine retrospect that we must not lose sight of when we look upon the determined woodsman of the early American life:
As I went through these grounds yesterday, I looked for some symbol that would tell me the true significance of this moment, I saw that the sculptor had carved prophets, priests and kings; he had carved the conquerors of the earth, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea. He had gone into legend and history for his symbols, but in none of these did I find the suggestion that I sought.
I found, however, in the court that lies before us, the simple, modest figure hidden behind some soldiers - a gaunt, slim, plodding figure, and I said to myself, there is the figure that represents this day, for without the American pioneer we would not be here this day, no banners would be flying, no bands playing.
He has-lived for centuries and centuries. He took sail with Ulysses and he was turned back. He took sail with Columbus, and when he heard that sailor shout, "Sail on and on," his heart was glad; but Columbus found his way barred, and then this pioneer landed at Plymouth Rock, and with that band of oxen he has trudged his way across the continent, he has gone through the sodden forests, where Nature for a thousand years has conspired to make his pathway impossible.
He has gone through the icy streams, climbed the mountains, tracked his way over the plains, over the land where there is no horizon, gone through the gorges where the Titans have been, and at last he has got it, beside the Golden Gate, beside the sunset sea, and founded himself this city, this beautiful city of dreams that have come true. And he has done more than that, he has gathered around himself his sons, and now they set themselves down here to tell each other tales of their progress through the centuries.
The sons of the pioneers - theirs be the glory today, for they have slashed the continent in two, they have cut the land that God made as with a knife, they have made the seas themselves to lift the ships across the barriers and mountains, and this accomplishment we celebrate.
They have brought the waters of the far Sierras and turned these waters into living light that put new stars in the heavens at night. They have hung their sky-line with a garden of flowers; they have worked a magic. They have gathered here in all these temples to tell their victory - the pioneers - what they have done and in what manner. This city has been finished in blue and gold, in scarlet and purples and the greens of the sea, and burnt brown, and the scene shown the pioneer has made the architecture of the centuries to march before their eyes in columns and colonnades.
The long journey of this light figure of the pioneer is at an end, the waste places of the earth have been found and filled, but adventure is not at an end; the greatest adventure is before us, the gigantic adventures of an advancing democracy - strong, virile and kindly - and in that advance we shall be true to the indestructible spirit of the American pioneer.