Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Building of the Seattle Space Needle Began on this Day 50 Years Ago

I am not 100% certain, but I believe Sunday, April 17, 2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Seattle Space Needle.

Construction was completed by December of 1961. Four months later the Seattle World's Fair, known as the Century 21 Exposition, opened, on April 22, 1962, with the first visitors taking the elevator ride to the top of the needle.

The legend of the Space Needle has it that it started in 1959 with a sketch on a napkin. Edward Carlson, at the time the president of Western International Hotels, had been inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany, and so he drew a futuristic looking tower.

The final design had a flying saucer with a rotating restaurant at the top.

And thus one of the most iconic images of the Pacific Northwest was born.

I did not realize until I read it somewhere recently, that the residential towers in the Jetsons cartoon, back in the early 60s, had been inspired by the Space Needle.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

The link indicates you are correct about the start date for the Space Needle.

The Needle wasn't complete until the day before the fair opened, with an elevator being the last thing installed. A few weeks ago, I noticed photos of the construction at the Pacific Science Center.

They were definitely still working on the restaurant deck on December 18, 1961, according to the same site. I was lucky enough to get to go the very day the fair opened.