Ever Visited Seattle?
If you have ever travelled to the Pacific Northwest, you must have experienced some gorgeous views of the oceans and the stunning mountains. Also, you must have set your foot in the big city of Seattle. It is home to a multitude of fascinating opportunities for tourists and residents alike. Apart from various other attractions, Seattle is famous for the Space Needle. Its unique shape, which looks like a cross between a UFO (unidentified flying object) and a tower, stands tall against the city skyline.
The History of the Space Needle
Seattle was the host city of the World’s Fair in 1962. The Fair’s main focus was on how life would be in the twenty-first century. Seattle planned to build an iconic landmark to exhibit its futuristic vision in the World’s Fair. Edward E. Carlson drew inspiration from Germany’s Stuttgart Tower for sketching the initial drawing of the tower. In the picture, the structure looked very similar to a tethered balloon. It took quite a few years, along with the input of various people, including the architect John Graham to morph Carlson’s design into the flying saucer structure that we see today.
The Construction of the Space Needle
When the construction time came, the expert knew a sold foundation would be required for building the tall structure. It took more than 12 hours and 467 cement trucks for pouring the concrete into a hole that was 120 feet wide and 30 feet deep. After the gigantic underground foundation was fully complete, its weight was also equal to the carbon steel structure of the Space Needle itself. It resulted in making the center of gravity of the enormous observation tower only five feet above the ground. It was not until December 1961 when the Space Needle got completed.
On April 21, 1962, it finally became open to the public. The date marked the first day of the World’s Fair. The Space Needle, with its revolving restaurant, 360-degree views of the city and the surroundings, and the observation deck, attracted more than 2 million people to the World’s Fair. It goes without saying that the structure was a superhit among the masses.
After the World’s Fair
In 1963, the observation level of Space Needle got a radio broadcast studio. From July 1963 till May 1966, TV station KING-TV with its sister Radio KING used the broadcast studio for its morning broadcasts. KIRO Radio took over in 1966, and its broadcasts continued till 1974. In the same year, author Stephen Cosgrove wrote Wheedle on the Needle, a children’s book whose protagonist was a furry being called Wheedle who reside at the top of Seattle’s Space Needle. He made its light flash.
The book had a closing quatrain which went like this: “There’s a Wheedle on the Needle / I know just what you’re thinking / But if you look up late at night / You’ll see his red nose blinking.” Since then, the Wheedle has come to be the fixture of the city. Seattle SuperSonics National Basketball Association also made it their mascot. The Space Needle got its SkyLine level in 1982. It was built at the height of 30 meters (100 feet). The SkyLine Banquet Facility can now accommodate around 20-360 visitors. (See Why do some people want to migrate to the United States?)
The Icon of Seattle
The Space Needle is undoubtedly an icon of the landscape of Seattle. It is among the city’s top tourist spots, and tourists all across the world flock to the landmark to see the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay, and Mount Rainier. The Space Needle, with a height of 605 feet, is 138 feet in width. With a weight of 9,550 tons, the Space Needle can withstand earthquakes ranging up to 9.1 magnitude and even winds of close to 200 miles an hour.
There are 25 lightning rods on its top, which help in absorbing and dispersing the numerous lightning strikes received by the structure daily. Visitors love the 41-second elevator ride, which takes them to its observation deck. The desk is at the height of 520 feet, and just below it lies the rotating SkyCity restaurant where you can devour a gourmet meal. Every year on New Year’s Eve, there is a firework show that happens at midnight in the Space Needle. Synced with music, it is a fascinating sight.