It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Calvin Coolidge was in the White House, presiding over a long economic boom. George Cryer was mayor of Los Angeles, taking orders from the “City Hall Gang” of bootleggers, gamblers, and grafters. In Long Beach, after two months of hectic frivolity, the Jazz Age was about to end with a crash.

The Dream City was supposed to commemorate the founding of Spanish California in 1769. How minarets and camel rides symbolized the arrival of the Spanish was left unexplained. Authenticity was served by the real silks and silver bangles on “native girls” recruited from Long Beach women’s clubs and the presence of reservation Hopi and Navajos displayed in front of a plaster pueblo.

The image of the Pacific Southwest Exposition of 1928 blended Spanish California with Tunisian minarets.

The image of the Pacific Southwest Exposition of 1928 blended Spanish California with Tunisian minarets.