H. O. Davis

In July 1913 directors elected H. O. Davis director-general of the Exposition. Davis, a rancher from Yuba City, had visited San Diego to arrange for an exhibit for Sutter County. Exposition backers immediately recognized him as a fellow-booster. As spokesperson for the exposition, Davis used a barrage of statistics to show how easily farms could be operated in the virgin southwest. He proved to his satisfaction that goods could be shipped to and from Southern California, Utah, and Nevada, all of Arizona, the western half of New Mexico, and the southwest corner of Colorado cheaper via the Panama Canal and San Diego than by rail from the east.(74) He estimated the potential farmland in the region at 44 million acres, which would make 700,000 possible farms with probable revenue of more than $800 million per year. International Harvester Company was impressed enough by Davis’ reasoning to set up a five-acre exhibit. Davis resigned as Director-General on August 1, 1915.