The Space Needle in Seattle

Photo of The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
Photo of The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington
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The Space Needle
Formerly:Century 21 Space Needle
Formerly:The Seattle Tower

219 Fourth Avenue North, Seattle, Washington, Seattle Center 98109
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A symbol not only of Seattle, but of the entire northwest, the Space Needle has been called the Eiffel Tower of the Pacific. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Space Needle was created for an international exposition. In this case, the 1962 World's Fair. The Space Needle's unique shape is the result of a compromise. One early design envisioned a balloon tethered to the ground. This element cam be seen in its gently sloping legs. Another design envisioned a flying saucer. This can be clearly seen in the halo that holds the restaurants and observation deck. Once the specific physics of the merged plans were worked out what remains is today's Needle. While not as notoriously unstable as Los Angeles, Seattle has more than its fair share of earthquakes. Obviously the Space Needle had to be designed with this in mind. The engineers wanted to make sure it would stand up to Mother Nature, so they exceeded the building codes of the time. In addition to earthquakes, the tower can withstand winds up to 200 miles an hour, but will close to the public during less fierce storms as a precaution.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Original price: $2,157,000
  • Actual cost: $4,500,000
Timeline
  • September 12, 1960: First mention of the phrase "Space Needle." it was in the Seattle Daily Times.
  • September12, 1960: King county commissioners voted against paying for this tower.
  • October 14, 1960: it was announced that $2.5 million in private financing had been arranged for the construction of the tower.
  • 1965: A 6.5 earthquake jolted Seattle, rocking the Space Needle enough for water to slosh out of the toilets.
  • May, 1996: Fireworks were shot off from the Space Needle as the Olympic torch relay passed through Seattle on the way to the games in Altanta.
Notes
  • Architect: Edward E. Carlson
  • Architecture firm: John Graham and Company
Controversy
  • Opponents thought the tower was ugly and compared it to a mushroom cloud.
  • Some believed it should be located on the site of the former Luna Park at the entrance to Elliot Bay.
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Your Thoughts

There are four comments.

  Reach for the Sky..it was an unforgettable experience for me and my wife on this day just two years back.Then we were 67and65. I should thank my Daughter and Son in law and our grand daughters for taking us to the "SKY HIGH" the wonderful opportunity to view the Seattle from 520'"panoramic" wonder. We will never , ever forget that expeirance.I still recollect the giant "Nuts".We do Thank God !!!

Gnanadickam Jesudas - Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 @ 2:25am  

   I love the Space Needle. I go there every time I visit Seattle. My Uncle helped build it so it has a special place in my heart.

Renee Stewart - Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 @ 3:07pm  

  The way it tops off the skyline is perfect! Pretty interesting on its own, too, of course. I guess it could be just wrong in a different setting but is perfect here. I think more architects should take note of how it has become beloved by the public (though met with shock at first). Nothing ventured nothing gained!

Swokm - Thursday, January 10th, 2008 @ 6:19am  

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