Gilbert Aubrey Davidson

On July 9, 1909, G. Aubrey Davidson, founder of the Southern Trust and Commerce Bank and president of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, said San Diego should stage an exposition in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal. He told his fellow chamber of commerce members that San Diego would be the first American port of call north of the Panama Canal on the Pacific coast. An exposition would call attention to the city and bolster an economy still shaky from the Wall Street Panic of 1907. The chamber of commerce authorized Davidson to appoint a committee to look into his idea. Because the idea began with him, Davidson is called the “father of the exposition.” Davidson later served as President of the Exposition during the actual Exposition years, hosted dignitaries, and would succeed George Marston as president of the San Diego Museum (now the Museum of Man).

…adapted from Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition by Richard W. Amero.

Two of Aubrey Davidson’s personal scrapbooks on the Panama-California Exposition are available online:
G. Aubrey Davidson Scrapbook #1 1909-1910
G. Aubrey Davidson Scrapbook #2 1915-1916

See brief bio and photo in Makers of the Exposition”