Space Needle, Washington

After getting ready, we went out in the early winter morning. It was cold that we were wearing different layers of clothing. Sam was having her tantrum so she stayed close to Dad while the rest of us tried to enjoy our walk. We walked along 3rd Avenue North and reached the grounds of the Space Needle.  The first thing we came across was the glass building of the Mc Caw Hall. But here was a little inscription dedicated to someone.

Kreielsheimer Promenade

“Celebrating the Spirit and Legacy of the Kreielsheimer Foundation.

Established by Leo and Greye Kreielsheimer in 1975, the foundation contributed more than $100 million for the enhancement of the Arts and Education in this region. The Kreielsheimer Foundation’s encouragement, generosity and leadership will be visible forever throughout Seattle Center and this community. 1975-2000″

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

The glass building contains an arch so pedestrians can pass through to the Seattle Center. Surrounded by plants and pavement walkway here is a plaque commemorating the Solar efficiency of the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Just looking at the city one can tell Seattle was a tech city with its high rise buildings and solar powers.

“Solar Project

Solar energy is working in Seattle. Above you to the left, on the south wall of McCaw Hall, are shiny blue solar panels generating electricity. When the sun is shining even on cloudy days, the 6.3 kilowatt installation converts solar energy directly into electricity. The system produces enough electricity to power most of the lobby lighting in McCaw Hall.

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Marker

Seattle Center and Seattle City Light worked together on this project to show how solar energy can be part of a reliable and sustainable energy future. We hope to gain valuable operating experience and to help increase the use of solar energy in the Northwest. 

Much of the funding for this project came from citizens who contributed to Seattle Green Power, a voluntary Seattle City Light program to advance the development of new renewable energy resources. Locally produced “green power” helps keep the lights on and contributes to a clearer environment.

To contribute or learn more about Seattle Green Power and other projects, call Seattle City Light at 206-684-3000.”

International Fountain

We walked pass the hall and came across a giant fountain. Modern in its style yet very picturesque so we went and check it out. We walked around it and as usual Sam unwillingly joined us but kept her distance. We also took some pictures in the fountain and here is the history of the International Fountain.

“The International Fountain is a mainstay from the World’s Fair, designed by sculptors Kazuyuki Matsushita and Hideki Shimizu during 1961–1962 for the Century 21 Exposition but was completely replaced and expanded in a $6.5 million project in 1995. As the centerpiece of the broad open space and lawn, it has been transformed from its early days of hard iron nozzles and surrounding sharp-edged, white rock. Now children can play in the fountain bowl and venture right up to the smooth silver dome. By day the fountain is a favorite lounging area and delight for young and old. 

On top of its attraction to the community, the Fountain also takes care of nature. All of the water is recycled and it’s probably the cleanest in the city, with three types of treatment before it ever reaches the public.”

Space Needle

 

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Space Needle

After that we moved on and passed by the Children’s museum and Chihuly Garden and Glass and looked around the artificial, giant flowers outside. It was beautiful and amazing at the same time. Then finally we went to the Space Needle. The line was already long outside because let’s face it Space Needle was the most famous landmark of the city and state. We waited and finally reached our turn.

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Height of the Needle

We paid $36 per person and wait in another line to the elevator. Our wait wasn’t that long as we passed by the photo booth which was mandatory of each visitor. Then we rode the elevator. It was small and had a screen which tells the story of the Space Needle.

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Outside the freezing cold

“In 1959, an unlikely artist was inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany and sketched a vision of a dominant central structure for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair on a napkin 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 the 21st Century. Carlson penciled a shape that became Seattle’s internationally renowned landmark, the Space Needle.

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Monitor in the elevator

However, Carlson and his supporters soon found moving the symbol from the napkin to the drawing board to the construction phase was far from easy. The first obstacle was the structure’s design. Carlson’s initial sketch underwent many transformations. One drawing resembled a tethered balloon, 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 design was reached just a year and a half before the World’s Fair

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Construction of the Needle

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.

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The People

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, and was the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Once completed, the foundation weighed as much as the Space Needle itself, establishing the center of gravity just five feet above ground.

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 21st Century 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.”

We reached the Observation Deck and walk around. We did the 360 degrees view of the city of Seattle. Sam’s mood finally lifted up as we learned interesting things about the needle. There was also a small cafe and souvenir store. We bought some gifts and decided we should all eat. Then we took the stairs down to the restaurant to eat.

Skycity at the Needle

We reached the restaurant and it wasn’t time for eating so we didn’t have a hard time getting a big table. We all sat in and enjoyed the view while the restaurant rotates. Here is the history of the restaurant.

“SkyCity, originally known as the Eye of the Needle, is a revolving restaurant situated atop the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington. It features a 14-foot-deep (4.3 m) carousel (or ring-shaped) dining floor on which sit patrons’ tables, chairs, and dining booths. The floor revolves on a track and wheel system, which weighs roughly 125 tons, at a rate of one revolution every 47 minutes.

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Rotating Restaurant

The restaurant was designed by John Graham & Company, patterned after the La Ronde they had built atop the Ala Moana Center in 1963. Due to the balance and precision of its design, the floor’s rotation is accomplished using just a single 1½-horsepower motor.

SkyCity serves Pacific Northwest cuisine and feature local seafood, steak, chicken and vegetarian menu items. The restaurant is considered fine dining, and has a casual dress code. The seating is arranged to provide every table with an unobstructed view of the Seattle metropolitan area.”

It was a good meal and we all enjoyed it even if its a bit pricey. After that we all took the elevator down to the ground. As we head out we pass through the gift shop and bought some souvenirs. Then we head out. Looking one last time at the gigantic tower of Seattle we took a photo and walked back to where we came from because there were lots of things to do in the city. Finishing one of our itineraries was a great accomplishment, the history of the tower wasn’t out main concern when we went there but instead the view and structure itself was beautiful and the view of the city during one of those winter days was spectacular.

Here are the links for more information:

http://www.seattlecenter.com/locations/detail.aspx?id=8

https://www.spaceneedle.com/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkyCity

https://www.spaceneedle.com/news/2012/04/space-needle-fun-facts/

 

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Say Cheez!

 

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