Seattle Space Needle

Originally constructed as an attraction for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle is an iconic landmark of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. It resides on property within the Seattle Center, located in the Queen Anne area of Seattle. The Space Needle is also very close to some other very interesting venues, such as the Experience Music Project Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the PACCAR IMAX Theater, Seattle Children's Museum, Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, International Fountain and Memorial Stadium. Additionally, the Monorail, another iconic Seattle World's Fair remnant, reaches its western terminus just across the plaza from the base of the Space Needle.

The original idea for the design of the Space Needle was sketched on a paper restaurant napkin and was perfected through a collaboration between two men: Edward E. Carlson and John Graham, Jr. The final design was further refined by Victor Steinbrueck streamlining the Space Needle's profile with an hourglass shaped profile, merging the idea of an enormous balloon tethered to the ground and flying saucer. The Space Needle was constructed to withstand wind speeds of 200 mph, more than twice the requirement of building codes in 1962. Additionally, the Space Needle was constructed in a manner that it would not sustain any significant damage in a category 9 earthquake.

The Space Needle is composed of 6 total floors: an observation deck, a ground level gift shop, a restaurant, 3 elevators and a spire that reaches a height of 605 total feet at its highest point. SkyCity, the rotating restaurant located within the “spaceship” portion of the Space Needle, allows visitors to dine at an elevation of 500 ft. and. The restaurant completes a full rotation every forty-seven minutes, offering fantastic views of the Seattle skyline, Puget Sound, and the surrounding mountain ranges. For a time after the Space Needle was completed it retained the title of tallest man-made structure west of the Mississippi River, displacing another Seattle landmark, the Smith Tower located near Pioneer Square.

One of the biggest hurdles the Space Needle had to overcome were the strict requirements regarding the land on which it would be built. It was determined that the land had to be located within the World's Fair grounds and had to be privately purchased and financed, so that no tax dollars would be used towards the project. The plot of land eventually obtained was only 120 ft. by 120 ft and was originally used for fire and police switching equipment. The land purchase occurred only one year before the planned opening of the World's Fair with construction on The Space Needle beginning on April 17, 1961. The Space Needle was worked on around the clock until its completion later that same year on December 8, 1961, ensuring it would be open for the World's Fair.