The Space Needle emerges from the Seattle skyline like a Martian warplane straight out of H.G. Wells. Yet this cartoonlike vision of the world of tomorrow still signals the prospect of an exciting future much as it did on April 21, 1962, the opening day of the Seattle World’s Fair.
POP ART The space race era spire, with its slender legs and flying saucer-like dome, exemplifies the sleek, modernist style of 1950s and ’60s architecture known as Googie.
DINING IN THE ROUND Architect John Graham Jr. followed his successful design of the world’s first revolving restaurant in Honolulu with the Eye of the Needle, the tower’s original rotating bistro, now known as SkyCity.
MAKING FRIENDS Patrons at the SkyCity restaurant have been known to leave notes on the windowsill for other diners to reply to during the eatery’s 47-minute rotation.
NOT FOR SALE In the early 1980s the Pentagram Corporation, then owner of the Space Needle, turned down an offer of $1 million from the citizens of Fife, Wash., to relocate the 605-foot-tall structure to their tiny community, where it may well have become known as the Fifel Tower.
INSPIRED DESIGN Edward E. Carlson, chairman of the Seattle World’s Fair Commission, advanced the idea for the Space Needle with a hasty scribble of the first concrete television tower, Germany’s Fernsehturm Stuttgart.
EMPTY NEST A plan to place a stork’s nest atop the Needle never got off the ground after it was discovered that the nonnative birds would most likely take off for warmer climes.
Photography courtesy of Seattle's Convention & Visitors Bureau
This article was first published in January 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.
The Space Needle is at 400 Broad St. in the Seattle Center. Admission is $13 (adults). INFORMATION: (800) 937-9582, www.spaceneedle.com.