Galaxy Gold? – Our Space Needle Turns 50
If you have been in Seattle and anywhere near a radio, or a television, or a newspaper, or a little thing called the internet you probably already know that this year is the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle which included the construction of our now iconic Space Needle. It’s hard to imagine, especially for any of us who were born well after 1962 the Seattle skyline without its extraterrestrial-looking anchor. In commemoration of the construction of the Space Needle and all of Seattle Center there are a variety of events taking place from this past Saturday April 21 through October 21st. Check out the Seattle Center website (http://www.seattlecenter.com/thenextfifty/home.aspx) for more info on upcoming events.
In addition to a number of ongoing exhibits and planned lectures, they have also given the top of the needle a little 60’s makeover. They call the color Galaxy Gold even though we can all plainly see that it is a very loud shade of bright orange. Apparently, the original paint job also consisted of legs of Astronaut White and a core of Orbital Olive. (You see, it’s outer space themed.) Thankfully they did not resurrect all of those colors.
In celebration of this momentous time in Seattle history I would like to present these “Fun Facts” about the Space Needle (which I learned here):
- It’s tall, but it’s not that tall: The Space Needle is 605 feet tall. It was the tallest building West of the Mississippi when it was built. However, it is completely dwarfed by the current tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which measures in at a whopping 2,716.5 feet. You could fit almost 4.5 Space Needles in it.
- You don’t have to worry about dying in a fiery elevator cable accident: Each elevator has seven cables total but one cable is strong enough to hold the entire weight of the elevator. And if that fails, the Space Needle elevators are equipped with a governor brake that would lock the elevator on the tracks in case all seven cables broke.
- Apparently you can somehow parachute off the building without being stopped: There have been six parachute jumps from the Needle and two of them were unauthorized.
- Massive disasters don’t make good jokes: On April Fools’ Day 1989 the local comedy show Almost Live (former TV home of Joel McHale) broadcasted a fake new report saying that the Space Needle had collapsed. It was so realistic that it caused a panic throughout the city and ended up clogging 911 line so badly that they were shut down. It was like our very own mini War of the Worlds (without the aliens). Learn more about it here.
- Someone needs to find a new job: The first Space Needle Manager, Hoge Sullivan, had acrophobia, a fear of heights.
- Personally I would have used Snickers (because Milky Ways are for eating)…The Space Needle is approximately 1,320 Milky Way candy bars tall.
And with that I plan to east a Milky Way as my personal tribute. Wish our Needle a Happy Birthday in your own way the next time you see it.