When the World Came to Seattle

25 Jun

Now it is no secret that I am not Seattle’s biggest fan.  I joke that I am still adjusting to living here (after 11 years).  Moving here from Chicago was a major culture shock for me.  I will avoid the reasons why for fear of offending people.  I will say however that this is a city ripe with things to do for the outdoorsy types.  As the saying goes, I am only outdoorsy in that I like drinking on patios.

Seattlites LOVE Seattle.  Love it.  Love it so much they often can’t imagine leaving it.  And they don’t, really.  But then, why would you when your city was the city that saw the future?  I speak specifically of the 1962 World’s Fair having its 50th anniversary this year.  How much more Jetson’s can you get than the Space Needle?  A friend sent me this article from the Seattle Times and I just loved the images.  Wonder how we will feel about this in another 50 years?

(Via Seattle Times online)

On April 21, 1962, the gates opened to a World’s Fair in Seattle that left an indelible stamp on the city’s image and future.

For 184 days, locals and visitors alike marveled at the Space Needle, the Monorail, the “World of Tomorrow” pavilions, and the “Spacearium.”

Days before the opening, The Seattle Times published a 152-page “Seattle World’s Fair Souvenir Edition” that was packed with information about the fair as well as predictions for the future.


Fair looks ahead with ‘Century 21’ theme


A guide to the fairground


No floating 520 bridge, or I-5 freeway


Northgate of 1962: Nordstrom a survivor


A swimming pool for every home!  (YES!  Kind of looks like our house!)


Third graders predict the future!


Quilted pants for a trip to the moon?


Just one pair of shoes won’t do.  (Duh!)


Shining a light on the Space Needle.  (Or as Maeve and Ainsley used to call it, the ‘Space Noodle’.)


(Is Seattle really a City of Tomorrow?)


On the brink of swift urbanization.


Region’s technology development touted.  (Visions of a future Microsoft, anyone?)


Boeing sees big future in space.

For more on the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, check out this documentary by KCTS.


13 Responses to “When the World Came to Seattle”

  1. Nancy Mingis June 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Thanks for this Brandy. Such a walk down memory lane here! These scans have really brought that time back for me! I had forgotten much of how things were then — the fashions, the newspaper stories. No I-5? I guess we did travel from Anacortes to Northgate on Hwy 99 for shopping then. My mother and I went to the fair, I was in college then. Elvis was still a young star and I remember seeing him standing by the International Fountain.

    And … Ted, 52 is not really all that old! 😉

    • June 26, 2012 at 7:18 am #

      My mother always said I was born in the wrong decade. I would have loved to see those things. Especially Elvis!

      • Nancy Mingis June 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

        Yes, those were your mother’s and my decades! Just to let you know, the replies seem to work alright now. I found a msg. from you in my SPAM catching program – Postini at NCSU – and followed the correct procedure to legitimize the correspondence. Finally.

      • June 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

        Yay! I am so glad you were able to figure it out. Great news!

  2. Rebecca June 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    Ha! “I am only outdoorsy in that I like drinking on patios.” Me too.

  3. Carol June 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    I was 12 years old the year I went. I lost my mother’s Brownie camera on a tram. Was in the doghouse for that! Monorail was a new space age idea! Still have the incense burner that I bought in “India” there. In fact used it yesterday while meditating. Old like me! Will be back in Seatle in this August. I enjoy your post Brandy….

  4. Alexis June 25, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    I was born in Seattle, so this is really cool, thanks for sharing! I can totally understand undergoing culture shock, I just moved from the PNW to Hawaii. Things are totally different here.

  5. Ted June 25, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Brandy, thanks for this great post! I just sent a link to it to my older brother out in Seattle (who lived on Mercer Island the past 15 years or so b/c of the highly-regarded public schools, but they’ve since moved to another suburb north of the city).

    I’d come across a souvenir program of that World’s Fair from ’62 in a neighbor’s garage sale (kind of odd, since I live in North Carolina….paid 10 cents!) and sent it to him. Skimming thru all these pages here feels very much like deja vu; the graphics & print look exactly as I remember newspapers when I was growing up. (Even being 52, it takes a while to accept that I really AM old now; nostalgia’s a funny thing the way it sneaks up on you. It’s a little like raising kids: you don’t see the gradual but constant changes till you look back in retrospect.)

  6. scarecrowbike June 25, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Hi MCML – thanks for the scans! I was 6 when our family visited the WF- we lived in Federal Way. I love the Space Needle and the whole milieu [<-lol] surrounding it. Now off to watch Elvis at the world's fair.

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