In 1915 Mrs. Spreckels fell in love with the French Pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition. This pavilion was a replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, one of the distinguished eighteenth-century landmarks on the left bank of the Seine.
At the close of the 1915 exposition, Alma persuaded her husband, Adolph B. Spreckels, who was a sugar magnate, to put up the money and the French government granted permission to construct a permanent replica, but the First World War delayed groundbreaking until 1921.
Architect George Applegarth was chosen to design this three-quarter-scale adaptation of the eighteenth-century Parisian original. Construction began on a remote site known as Land’s End–one of the most beautiful settings imaginable for any museum overlooking the mouth of the bay, and today,the Golden Gate Bridge. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor was completed in 1924, and on Armistice Day of that year its doors opened to the public and dedication was made to those lost during the war.