|Photo by Jordon Kalilich, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
The dream of going up in a flying saucer and gazing down at Earth below was no doubt your flight of fancy at some point in your younger years. Well, you can make your dream come partially true by taking a trip up the Space Needle to its saucer-like tophouse, where you’ll feel like you’re floating above the Seattle skyline, Lake Washington, Puget Sound, Elliott Bay, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker as you enjoy Pacific Northwest cuisine in the rotating SkyCity Restaurant or walk around the observation deck. Built as the landmark tower of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, this Jetsons-style skyscraper stands as a symbol of the futuristic visions of progress in science, technology, transportation and space travel that dominated the thoughts of the times, hence the exhibitions of the fair. Standing 605 feet from base to pinnacle, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River when completed in December 1961. It attracted 20,000 people per day for a total of 2.3 million visitors during the World’s Fair, a.k.a. the Century 21 Exposition, which ran from April 21 to October 21, 1962.
The Space Needle had humble beginnings in 1959 on a coffeehouse placemat, where Edward E. Carlson, president of Western Interna- tional Hotels, sketched his vision of the World’s Fair’s signature structure, inspired by Germany’s Stuttgart Tower and Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Carlson initially conceived the building as a tethered balloon and then a balloon-topped, cable-anchored column. Architects John Graham and Victor Steinbrueck morphed it into a saucer perched on an hourglass-shaped spindle-shaft.
|Space Needle under construction, 1961. Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.|
Bolted in place with seventy-two 30-foot-long bolts, the Space Needle endures winds of up to 200 mph and tremors below 9 on the Richter scale.
|Photo by Ikiwaner, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
|Photo by Seanutbutter, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
|Photo by Chris Yunker, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
|SkyCity Restaurant. Photo by Hey Paul, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
|Photo by Jeffery Hayes, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
|Photo by Nova77, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.|
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