Built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Seattle Space Needle is an example of Space Age / Atomic Age Design. This iconic Mid Century Modern Structure has become the world famous symbol of Seattle!
The Chairman of the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair, Edward F. Carlson, sketched out a rough design on a napkin of a restaurant in the sky looking like a tethered balloon. Carlson was a the President of a Hotel Company, his rough sketch on a napkin was taken by local Seattle Architect John Graham, and transformed into the Space Age structure we see today!
Graham had already become famous for his 1961 design of the first revolving restaurant atop the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu – the “La Ronde.” He incorporated that design into the space needle to create the structure we see today.
The Space Needle was privately financed at a cost of $4.5 million, and built within the Seattle World’s Fair Ground on a plot of land sold to the private investors to build the iconic structure. They had only one year to construct the Space Needle before the fair would open. The Space Needle was finished on April 20, 1962, one day before the Seattle World’s Fair opened! During the Wold’s Fair, nearly 20,000 people per day rode the elevators to the top of the Space Needle.
When the Space Needle opened it was the tallest building West of the Mississippi River. The previous tallest building was the Smith Tower right here in Seattle.
The space age hovering disk at the top of the Space Needle is 5 levels tall. With 360 degree views, the rotating restaurant is 500 feet above the ground, and the observation desk is 520 feet off the ground. From the top you can enjoy views of Downtown Seattle, the surrounding mountain ranges, and out across the Puget Sound.
In 1977, several of the original investors sold their interest in the iconic structure to another of the original investors, Howard Wright, who controls it under the name of the Space Needle Corporation.