October 30, 2012
From a MOHAI news release:
SEATTLE – The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) and the Space Needle are excited to present Knute “Skip” Berger as the 2nd annual Denny Lecturer on November 1, 2012 at the Space Needle. Honoring the legacy of Seattle’s historic Denny family, MOHAI’s Denny Lecture aims to recognize substantial contributions to regional scholarship. Berger was chosen as this year’s lecturer for new findings about the origins of the Space Needle, uncovered during research for his newest book, Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle. “What’s exciting about the Denny Lecture is that it gives us an opportunity to put the spotlight on local historians” said Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of MOHAI, “As Seattle winds down its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Century 21, we could not be more happy to present Knute’s work on the history of Seattle’s most iconic structure: the Space Needle”.
Seattle’s self-professed “Mossback”, Berger has long been considered a leading authority on Puget Sound culture and heritage. He regularly contributes articles to local magazines, newspapers, and blogs and released the book Pugetopolis in 2009. Last year Berger was selected as “Writer-In-Residence” for the Space Needle as part of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Century 21 World’s Fair. “Being appointed Writer-In-Residence at the Needle was a literal highlight of my book project. They gave me a desk on the Observation Deck and it was an amazing perch from which to observe and ponder the city”, Berger explained. “Having it topped off by being appointed the Denny Lecturer is just an incredible honor. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with people who have a passion for Seattle heritage.” Along with his new findings, Berger will share anecdotes about the individuals he encountered and experiences he had while working from the Needle.
Berger will present his work on November 1, 2012 at 7:00pm in the SkyLine Level at the Space Needle. The lecture is open to the public and tickets can be purchased on MOHAI’s website, mohai.org or at the door. The lecture is free for MOHAI members and $10 for the general public.
About the Denny Lecture: Honoring the many contributions of Seattle’s founding Denny family, MOHAI’s annual Denny Lecture presents the very best in regional historical scholarship. Denny Lecturers are selected each year for their contributions to the field, their ability to enrich our understanding of Puget Sound and its people, and their eagerness to share their work with a popular audience.
Photo: courtesy of Knute Berger
October 20, 2012
Join Seattle Center for the final day (Sunday, October 21, 2012) of its 50th Anniversary Celebration of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Entertainment and activities include Seattle Symphony in concert, exhibits, mobile food vendors and more. Sponsored by Bartell Drugs. Free admission.
Event details and times may be viewed here.
Just because the 50th anniversary celebration is almost over, doesn’t mean we’ll stop posting on this blog. Century 21 Mod will continue because there’s still so much to share about the fascinating history and architecture of the Seattle World’s Fair. In upcoming posts you’ll see “now” and “then” photos; histories on the various Fair buildings; and more!
Image source: Seattle Center website
October 5, 2012
The Space Needle “Top This” competition asks the public to vote on a design for the top of the Space Needle. The winning design will grace the top of the Needle for six months. Vote once per day through October 20, 2012. The top voter getter will be announced on October 21, the 50th anniversary of the day the original Seattle World’s Fair ended.
We love the Galaxy Gold color that is on the top of the Space Needle now and would love to see it win. Vote once a day through October 20. Let’s Keep it Galaxy Gold! Click here to vote.
Image: screenshot of Space Needle Top This web page
September 18, 2012
Event Announcement from MOHAI:
The World’s Fair launched a cultural revolution in Seattle—and left a legacy of major and experimental arts organizations as well as a community of artists whose fame soon spread around the world. Join Jim Tune, former President of ArtsFund, and a distinguished panel who helped shape the Seattle arts scene during its most formative years.
Monday, September 24, 2012 · 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall
Free event co-sponsored by MOHAI and Next 50
Moderator: Jim Tune
Panelists: Jean Falls, Anne Focke, C. David Hughbanks, Alice Rooney, Judy Whetzel
This conversation is one in a series of discussions exploring recent Seattle history since the World’s Fair. For more information, go to http://www.seattlehistory.org or contact Sari Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-324-1126 ext. 52.
No RSVP required.
Image: Paul Horiuchi Mural, Seattle World’s Fair, 1962, MOHAI 1965.35188.8.131.52
August 24, 2012
Help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle! Be the first in fifty years to have your design atop the Space Needle. The Space Needle Corporation is holding a contest to solicit designs. Submit your design by September 20, 2012. The top five designs and/or color options will be featured on the Space Needle’s website where people can vote for their favorite. The top vote-getter on October 21, 2012 will have the honor of having their design on top of the iconic landmark for the next six months!
For details on how to enter, check out the Space Needle’s website. We are excited to see what the creative people of Seattle come up with!
Image: screenshot from spaceneedle.com
July 23, 2012
The Century 21 lecture series ended last month (June) on a high note with a lecture by Docomomo US President Theo Prudon. The lecture series and project, titled “Welcome to the Future: Century 21 and Living Modern,” presented a great opportunity for Docomomo WEWA and Historic Seattle to develop partnerships and sponsorships with The Next Fifty/Seattle Center Foundation and Pacific Science Center, with grant funding provided by 4Culture and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Docomomo WEWA hosted Theo Prudon during his visit to the Pacific Northwest. As the third and final speaker of the lecture series, Theo’s June 19 presentation on “Modern Building Technology” was well received by local modernist enthusiasts and people seeking to learn more about preserving the modern. The lecture series was a big success overall with the first two lectures focusing on the social and cultural context of the Seattle World’s Fair—presented by Seattle writer and journalist Knute Berger, and northwest architects of the Century 21 Exposition—presented by Docomomo WEWA Board member, chapter co-founder and architect Susan Boyle.
We began the evening of the event in fine fashion with a reception in the sun-drenched (yes, it finally stopped raining!) courtyard of the Minoru Yamasaki-designed Pacific Science Center, originally built for the Fair in 1962 as the US Science Pavilion. With Theo’s current research on the work of Seattle-born Yamasaki , the designated Seattle landmark Pacific Science Center was the ideal venue for his lecture. Before Theo presented his lecture in the newly renovated PACCAR Theater, a historic space in which Charles and Ray Eames are credited with designing, architect John Savo of NBBJ spoke about the recent theater renovation and introduced the “House of Science” film. The film was a special treat because it was made by Charles and Ray Eames specifically for the theater in 1962. Everyone who visited the US Science Pavilion during the World’s Fair was greeted with the film as an introduction to the world of science. Pacific Science Center worked hard to secure permission to show the film for the lecture.
During his whirlwind trip, Docomomo WEWA Board members toured Theo around some modern sites in Seattle. In addition to a behind-the-scenes private tour of Pacific Science Center, we strolled through Seattle Center showing him the former fairgrounds; the Eastlake neighborhood (contains several fine examples of regional modern commercial architecture); and the University of Washington campus. Although known for its Olmsted Bros-designed plan and Gothic Revival style architecture, the UW has an interesting collection of modern buildings on campus including the Nuclear Reactor Building, an ongoing preservation advocacy issue for Docomomo WEWA. We ended our day of touring with cocktails in the lounge of Canlis Restaurant, a Seattle institution and modernist gem built in 1950 prominently situated overlooking Lake Union.
Overall feedback regarding the lecture series was very positive. Attendees were exposed to different views of the Seattle World’s Fair, modernism and the culture of the era (early 1960s). Big thanks to all three speakers, sponsors/partners, volunteers, and project leaders for making the events possible. And thanks to all those who attended the lectures!
Just because the lecture series is over doesn’t mean we’ll stop posting on this blog. We conducted a lot of research for project and we will be sharing interesting info and tidbits throughout the year so stay with us! There are also lots of other great events during this 6-month (April to October) celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair.
Photo: (l-r): Eugenia Woo (Historic Seattle and Docomomo WEWA), Larry Kreisman (Historic Seattle), Theodore Prudon, and Kathleen Brooker (Historic Seattle) in courtyard of Pacific Science Center. Source: Historic Seattle
June 11, 2012
The second lecture for the series, “Welcome to the Future: Century 21 and Living Modern,” is happening Tuesday, June 12 at the Center House/Armory Building at Seattle Center, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
Susan Boyle’s lecture, “Northwest Architects of the Seattle World’s Fair,” considers the architects who designed the Century 21 exhibit buildings and the context of their work in the Northwest. Famous designers from the region and beyond created the fairgrounds and fantastic buildings. Paul Thiry, Lawrence Halprin, Alan Liddle, Paul Kirk, Raymond Loewy, Victor Steinbrueck, Minoru Yamasaki, John Graham, Jr., NBBJ, Bob Dietz, and Roland Terry among others are recognized for their enduring Modern style legacy.
Online registration for this lecture has closed but a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.
Photo: Washington State Coliseum designed by Paul Thiry, 1962 / Source: Seattle Public Library Century 21 Collection
June 4, 2012
The first lecture for the series, “Welcome to the Future: Century 21 and Living Modern,” is happening Tuesday, June 5 at the Center House/Armory Building at Seattle Center, from 7 to 8:30 pm.
Knute Berger’s lecture, “From Bobo to the Bubbleator: Seattle Social and Cultural Context in ’62,” focuses on the social history and design heritage of Seattle and its influence on the fair. How did people live their everyday lives in Seattle/Puget Sound in the early 1960s and how were they influenced by modern design? What other local and national forces were key to shaping the city and the Seattle World’s Fair?
Online registration for this lecture has closed but a limited number of tickets will be available at the door.
Knute will be signing his new book, Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle, after the lecture.
April 21, 2012
Fifty years ago today on April 21, 1962, the Century 21 Exposition opened to Seattle and the world. Celebrate this momentous occasion by taking part in the festivities of The Next Fifty. Visit Seattle Center today and participate in the many events and activities lined up. Highlights include an opening ceremony scheduled at 10:30 am, entertainment, and the unveiling of the new MOHAI exhibit on the Fair. For details on the schedule of events, go to Seattle Center’s Next Fifty website. The celebration continues for six months through October 21, 2012.
In preparation for the 50th anniversary, the top of the Space Needle has been painted its original “Galaxy Gold” color. It was painted for the 40th anniversary so we are thrilled to see the original mid-century hue brighten up the Seattle skyline once again. Knute Berger wrote about the original color in Crosscut. Speaking of Knute Berger, his new book, Space Needle: The Spirit of Seattle, is due to be released today.
Photo: Opening Ceremony at the Seattle World’s Fair, April 21, 1962; MOHAI Photograph Collection [19184.108.40.206]
April 9, 2012
The Seattle World’s Fair didn’t spring from the ground out of nowhere. There was an existing neighborhood with a mix of residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Many structures were demolished to make way for the fairgrounds and some were repurposed for the fair and then adaptively re-used again after the fair for Seattle Center. The Century 21 Exposition looked to the future while obliterating the past to clear the site to make new history in the form of a seminal event in Seattle’s development as a city. Fifty years later, we view the structures built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair as historic, several of which are designated Seattle Landmarks. Knute Berger’s Crosscut article, “Seattle Center: How the city bulldozed history to create change,” is a fascinating read on how a huge swath of the Queen Anne neighborhood was transformed into the fairgrounds and Seattle Center.
Here’s a view of two houses that were demolished that were typical of the residential structures in the neighborhood. They were adjacent to the Seattle Armory Building (built in 1939) which was repurposed as the Food Circus for the World’s Fair. We know it today as the Center House which houses a food court, offices and conference/meeting rooms. It’s also a Seattle Landmark.
Photo: View looking northwest of the south and partial east facades of the Seattle Armory Building and adjacent houses on Thomas Street. Houses were demolished to make way for the Monorail Terminal Building. Source: Seattle Public Library Century 21 Collection