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After almost fifty years, planners and citizens ask "What's next?" for World's Fair site

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: 1962 World's Fair [pdf]

HistoryLink Essay: Century 21

See You in Seattle [iTunes, Quick Time]

Clips: World's Fair 1962

Century 21 Calling

While large-scale world's fairs may largely be a thing of the past, many cities have engaged in long and involved planning processes to decide what to do with the infrastructure left over from such affairs. After the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, many of the buildings on the fairgrounds burned to the ground, and today only the Palace of Fine Arts remains (It is now the Museum of Science and Industry). In Montreal, the legacy of Expo 67 included the forward-looking Habitat 67 residential complex, designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Currently, the city of Seattle is engaging in a long-term plan to look at how they might go about renovating and reinventing the Seattle Center, which served as the home of the 1962 World's Fair, which was also billed as the Century 21 Exposition. Over the past several decades, a number of plans have been floated for the area, including a controversial proposal that would have allowed the Walt Disney Corporation to redevelop the grounds. The plan called for demolishing several prominent structures on the site (not the Space Needle, of course), and was met with significant resistance from Seattleites. This time around, a number of area institutions, including the Seattle Times, are soliciting proposals and ideas, so it promises to be a lively process.

The first link will take users to the Seattle Times' "Design Your Own Seattle Center" site and weblog. Here visitors can submit their own renderings of what the new Seattle Center should look like and also browse through the many drawings already submitted. The second link leads to a fun and interactive feature, created by the Seattle Post-Intelligence, which allows users to learn more about the various cultural activities available at the World's Fair. Moving on, the third link will take visitors to an authoritative essay from History Link about the history of the World's Fair in 1962. The fourth link leads to one of the catchy theme songs of the 1962 Fair, "See you in Seattle". The fifth link whisks users away to quite a find, as it features a short home video taken at the Fair. Finally, the last link leads to a shameless bit of Fair promotion billed as "Century 21 Calling". The film takes in all of the Fair's glory, including the Monorail, the Space Needle, and a rather obvious plug for modern telephones and an early pager which resembles a medium-sized book.
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Alternate Title Seattle Center Redesign
GEM Subject
Date Issued 2008
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2008-03-28
Archived Scout Publication URL

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