It all started on a placemat. The Space Needle is a “must see” in Seattle and was created to be a dominant central structure for the 1962 World’s Fair. But what I found really interesting is that the original design was apparently drawn on a placemat in a coffee house in 1959. (The penciled shape you see below)
I chuckled when I saw this drawing for the first time and I’m even chuckling now – I mean, this is the first drawing of the Space Needle? It almost looks like the front of an elephant and its trunk. After this very important first scribble, the design underwent a lot of changes (Well….I should think so) and following some location and finance hurdles a plot of land was sold to the investors for $75,000 in 1961, just 13 months before the World’s Fair opening. It did open on time and from that day forward has been one of the central icons in this beautiful city. The photo below shows the Seattle Space Needle and the Great Wheel from the ferry. (Way way over on the left)
Here are a few factoids for you to know before you head over to the needle.
- The Space Needle is approximately 605 strips of bacon tall (foot long strips). The original fact I found used a Milky Way bar but I figure bacon’s about double the length, so I took the liberty to tweak that fact just a bit.
- There are 848 steps from the bottom of the basement to the top of the Observation Deck if you are interested in buns of steel…try the climb just once.
- The Space Needle is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length. I guess that seems ok but 72 just doesn’t seem like a lot.
- The Needle is built to withstand a wind velocity of 200 miles per hour.
- The elevators travel 10 mph, 14 feet per second, 800 feet per minute, or as fast as a raindrop falls to earth. In fact, a snowflake falls at 3 mph, so in an elevator during a snowstorm it appears to be snowing up.
- On a hot day the Space Needle expands about one inch. (If you throw in the humidity, I’d say the same thing happens to my hair on hot days)
- There are 25 lightning rods (24 actual rods plus the tower) on the roof of the Needle to withstand lightning strikes.
In my next Seattle blog I want to show you the ONLY hotel that sits on the water, the beautiful Edgewater Hotel.
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