//
you're reading...
Travel

Seattle Space Needle


Space Needle Seattle Washington USA The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, yet even today, it is still the number tourist attraction in all Seattle. The old fairgrounds surrounding the Space Needle house numerous attractions that in themselves attract a lot of tourists.

The Space Needle “complex” where the old fairground was (now called the Seattle Centre) contains a huge science fair, Imax Theatres, showground rides for all ages, shopping and much, much more. There’s even a monorail from Seattle’s Downtown to get you to the Space Needle and the Seattle Centre.

In 1959, an unlikely artist inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany was sketching his vision of a dominant central structure for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair on a placemat in a coffee house.

The artist was Edward E. Carlson, then president of Western International Hotels. His space-age image was to be the focus of the futuristic World’s Fair in Seattle, whose theme would be Century 21. Carlson pencilled the shape that would become the internationally known symbol for Seattle, the Space Needle.

However, Carlson and his supporters soon found moving the symbol from the placemat to the drawing board to the construction phase was not an easy process. The first obstacle was the structure’s design. Carlson’s initial sketch underwent many transformations. One drawing resembled a tethered balloon and another was a balloon-shaped top house on a central column anchored by cables. Architect John Graham, fresh from his success in designing the world’s first shopping mall (Seattle’s Northgate), turned the balloon design into a flying saucer. A dozen architects on Graham’s team worked on sketches and ideas before a final compromise was reached just a year and a half before the fair was to open.

The next hurdles were location and financing. Since the Space Needle was to be privately financed, it had to be situated on land which could be acquired for public use but built within the fairgrounds. Early investigations indicated such a plot of land did not exist. However, just before the search was abandoned, a suitable 120-foot-by-120-foot piece of land was found and sold to investors for $75,000 in 1961, just 13 months before the World’s Fair opening.

Construction, managed by the Howard S. Wright Construction Company, progressed quickly. An underground foundation was poured into a hole 30 feet deep and 120 feet across. It took 467 cement trucks an entire day to fill the hole, the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Once completed, the foundation weighed as much as the Space Needle itself, establishing the centre of gravity just above ground.

Seattle Washington USA View From Top Space Needle

View of Seattle Downtown and City From the Main Observation Deck of the Space Needle "Saucer"

The five level top house dome was completed with special attention paid to the revolving restaurant level and Observation Deck. The top house was balanced so perfectly that the restaurant rotated with just a one horsepower electric motor. In keeping with the Century 21 theme, the final coats of paint were dubbed Astronaut White for the legs, Orbital Olive for the core, Re-entry Red for the halo and Galaxy Gold for the sunburst and pagoda roof. The 605-foot tall Space Needle was completed in December 1961 and officially opened a mere four months later on the first day of the World’s Fair, April 21, 1962.

The Space Needle’s elevators were the last pieces to arrive before the opening, the last one just one day before the fair opened. New, computerised elevators were installed in 1993. The elevators travel 10 mph, 14 feet per second, 800 feet per minute, or as fast as a raindrop falls to earth. In fact, a snowflake falls at 3 mph, so in an elevator during a snowstorm it appears to be snowing up.

Storms occasionally force closure of the Space Needle, as they did for the Columbus Day storm of 1962 and the “Inauguration Day” storm of 1993 when winds reached 90 miles per hour. The Needle is built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour. The Space Needle has withstood several tremors, too, including a 2001 earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. The tallest building west of the Mississippi River when it was built, the Space Needle has double the 1962 building code requirements, enabling the structure to withstand even greater jolts.

The Space Needle was built for just $4.5 million, and has had its share of milestones, including numerous weddings and a jump by six parachutists. During the World’s Fair, nearly 20,000 people a day traveled to the top. The Space Needle hosted over 2.3 million visitors during the Fair and is still, over 40 years later, Seattle’s number one tourist destination.

In 2000, the Space Needle completed a $20 million revitalisation. The year-long project included construction of the Pavilion Level, SpaceBase retail store, SkyCity restaurant, O Deck overhaul, exterior lighting additions, Legacy Light installations, exterior painting and more.

Other articles featuring Seattle:

Seattle USA – Underground City
Seattle – Underground Homeless

http://www.worldtravelx.com/seattle-usa-space-needle/1/ November 25th 2008

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

14 thoughts on “Seattle Space Needle

  1. Seattle – for me better then San Francisco, everybody is ravening about SF, but I wasn’t impressed – but Seattle, my kind of town – but I’m Swedish and Seattle is very Swedish. Lived in Victoria, B.C for nearly year and spent many fantastic days and nights in Seattle. Going back this July. So excited. Great post – and thanks for “liking” my world.
    Viveka

    Posted by viveka | March 1, 2012, 21:41

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Seattle Underground Homeless « Craig Hill - January 10, 2012

  2. Pingback: Seattle Space Needle « Craig Hill - January 10, 2012

  3. Pingback: Seattle USA Underground City « Craig Hill - January 10, 2012

  4. Pingback: Seattle Underground Homeless « Craig Hill - January 10, 2012

  5. Pingback: Seattle USA Underground City « Craig Hill - January 10, 2012

  6. Pingback: Seattle Underground Homeless | China Daily Mail - March 4, 2012

  7. Pingback: Seattle USA Underground City | China Daily Mail - March 4, 2012

  8. Pingback: Seattle Space Needle | China Daily Mail - March 4, 2012

  9. Pingback: Underground City Of Seattle « Craig Hill - March 4, 2012

  10. Pingback: Underground City Of Seattle « China Daily Mail - April 6, 2012

  11. Pingback: November 12 1980 Voyager I flies near Saturn | Craig Hill - November 12, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,942 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

  • RT @chaser: NSW to receive $700m disaster relief package after Victoria hit by earthquake 3 hours ago
  • RT @f_mols: Earthquakes are a natural phenomenon, but (as the Dutch discovered the hard way in recent years) gas extraction can trigger ear… 3 hours ago
  • RT @cheryl_kernot: For someone who was not going to do many future press conferences (because she had to run the state) Gladys is doing a g… 5 hours ago
  • Now the earthquakes have started. Morrison will be convinced that the rapture is upon us. @ScottMorrisonMP #auspol 6 hours ago
  • So this will put a bit of a dent in Australia's overseas coal market. If only we had a government that had made alt… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 7 hours ago

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

China’s military has an Achilles’ heel: Low troop morale

China’s military has an Achilles’ heel: Low troop morale

The Chinese Communist Party has unintentionally revealed weaknesses of the country’s military. One indication came with the building of facilities for launching new intercontinental ballistic missiles in an inland desert region. The other was a series of further attempts to increase childbirths, including measures to help reduce the costly burden of educating children. Behind these […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 20, 2021

China steps up expansion via Hong Kong elections. Seven editors are banned from Wikipedia on concerns of not acting in good faith and with relation to China. The US sails through the Taiwan Straight again, this time a destroyer. Taiwan wants more backup runways for fighter jets. Escalations only continue and no side shows any […]

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China adds powerful new ship to maritime patrol fleet

China has added a new powerful ship to its fleet of maritime patrol vessels in the South China Sea, state media has reported. The 5,560-ton Hai Xun 03 was launched on Tuesday and will become the largest ocean patrol ship under the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration (MSA), the official China News Service reported, adding that […]

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

A lesson in political economy on investments in China

Paul Krugman, the eminent Nobel laureate in economics, recalls how companies are different from nations and their reasons. Business managers have different perspectives. It is economists – not managers – who place the question of foreign trade, the balance of payments and the exchange rate at the center of their reflections. Since 1989, China and […]

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

Are China’s climate promises just a load of hot air? (Yes!)

China is prepared to hold its cooperation on climate issues hostage to Western concessions elsewhere. Few cities in China represent the country’s addiction to coal more than Tianjin, where Alok Sharma travelled this week to talk about cooperation on climate issues. It sits on the coast of one of China’s most polluted regions, and its […]

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

The vanishing allure of doing business in China

It is nothing new for foreign firms to endure shakedowns by the Chinese Communist Party. As far back as revolutionary times, Chairman Mao’s victorious troops did not directly confiscate foreign-owned assets as their Bolshevik forerunners had done in Russia. Instead, they wore them down with higher taxes and fines so big that eventually companies gave […]

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia blames pro-China infiltration for bans

Wikipedia has suffered an “infiltration” that sought to advance the aims of China, the US non-profit organisation that owns the volunteer-edited encyclopaedia has said. The Wikimedia Foundation told BBC News the infiltration had threatened the “very foundations of Wikipedia”. The foundation banned seven editors linked to a mainland China group. Wikimedians of Mainland China accused […]

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Diaries of former Mao aide spark custody battle over unofficial history of China

Today, “Li materials” are the subject of a legal battle between Stanford University and Mr. Li’s widow in Beijing. This is a battle for custody of an unofficial history of China. In millions of handwritten Chinese characters, Mr. Li documents his early days in the party, the revolution that brought him to power and his […]

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

World’s dirtiest cities list raises issue: Why don’t politicians call out China?

Ponder this: A new tally of global cities’ emissions finds that the top 25 are responsible for 52% of the planet’s urban greenhouse gas emissions. Twenty-three of those are in China. New York City is the first American city to appear, at No. 26. Out of the top 75, just four other American cities are listed […]

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, September 13, 2021

The easiest solution to China’s escalating situation in the South Sea is to enforce China’s own formal statements at face value. China says they respect other countries and do not want to militarize the South Sea. Leave it at that. Any disrespect toward other countries is not at the behest of Xijinping. Any militarization of […]

%d bloggers like this: