Saturday, March 31, 2018

Century 21 Expo, Seattle 1962

Let's return to Seattle, circa 1962, to visit the Century 21 Expo! It might rain, so wear something coated in plastic or walrus grease.

First up is this oblique shot of the "International Mall", with its cool diamond profile, zig-zag roof. The shop nearest to us ("Philippine Handicraft Industries") has an amazing carved wood fa├žade of a giant tiki - do you dare to walk through its open mouth?! I would dare, because I happen to need a giant spoon and fork, and you can't find those at Woolworth's or Zody's. Imagine what other wonders were to be discovered in there! 

To the right, I can see what appears to be "Chang's Hong Kong Tailors", "Mohan's (?) Tea House & Restaurant", and then a store apparently selling goods from Berlin.

I'm not 100% positive, but I believe this photo was taken near a feature called the "Home of Living Light", looking southwest. There's the International Fountain shooting up into the air, as well as the Commerce and Industry building to our left, and the happy li'l Skyride overhead. 

Here's a look at the "Aquadrome", where water skiers performed death-defying stunts - probably literally death-defying, that narrow channel of water must increase the chances of injury or worse. From up here we can see some of the nearby hillsides of Seattle, including a fairly impressive elevated highway, probably built by ancient Romans.

I can only assume that the colorful "FIESTA" sign was where the Spanish Village Fiesta was. Which means that the Stadium with the Aquadrome would be behind us, the "Food Circus" is out of frame to our left, and once again, the International Fountain makes an appearance.

Oh yes, there are more photos from the Century 21 Expo!


Nanook said...


Isn't that "Mohan's Hong Kong Custom Tailors"-? And the next shop either the "Tea House" or "Korean House"-? Hmmm.

The second image is actually pointing east-NE. Those hills are at the north end of Capitol Hill. I think the Home of Living Light would be way off to our left.

In the third image we again can see Capitol Hill, and that "... fairly impressive elevated highway" is actually part of I-5 - you know - the 'northern extremes' of the Santa Ana & Golden State Freeways, then most-likely nearing the end of its construction, as it passes thru Capitol Hill.

And in that last image, the "Fiesta" we see is NOT part of the Spanish Village Fiesta - as you might assume - but [presumably] another eatery west of The International Fountain. We're looking essentially south, from underneath the colonnade that ran just south of the Playhouse and Exhibition Hall. So behind us would merely be an open walkway between the two structures. (And that elusive Home of Living Light would once again be off to our left). The Food Circus would be off to our left in the distance, out of frame, but it's located in the old Armory building, which is still standing. It's home to the Children's Museum, public programming, and many, many food vendors and restaurants, coincidentally-enough.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Say, that Century 21 Expo sure took up a lot of REAL ESTATE! Ha, I slay me.

Those babushkas are definitely treated with either walrus grease or imitation otter bile.

Dig Grandpa's Space Needle shopping bag in the last picture! I can't quite make out the writing at the top of the red stripey booth, though. Anyone with better peepers than mine care to read it for me? It kind of looks like “ELECTRONIC PANCAKES,” which sounds awesome.

Patrick Devlin said...

In an attempt to get oriented , is that the aquadrome behind the fountain in the second shot? Thanks for the tour Nanook.

I'm pretty sure the freeway was of Etruscan or Egyptian construction since the Romans used a true arch in their elevated freeway constructions.

Melissa said...

If anyone knows roads, it's the roamin'.

Jonathan said...

What, no Space Needle? When I was a wee lad I read in the Weekly Reader about the Space Needle. I vowed someday to go to the top, I am now 64 and I still haven't even been to Seattle. Not only was the elevated bridge built by the Romans, but also the Aquadrome, for floating chariot races of course. They moved centuries later for better weather. "Do you think it will rain today?"
Is water wet? I will give a $5.00 bill to anyone who can spot Elvis in one of these pics. Thanks for the great snaps Major.

Chuck said...

Literally EVERYONE we knew in our military community in the early `70s had a giant wooden fork and spoon hanging somewhere in their house, trophies of many flights into Clark AB in the Philippines en route to or from other exotic locales around the Pacific rim. Everyone, except, of course, us - my mom didn't like them. She also didn't like the "Saigon elephant" end tables everyone else had, either - that is, she didn't like them until May of 1975, when you suddenly couldn't get them anymore.

All this talk about walrus grease is making me hungry for waffles.

Sunday Night said...

Sir, please don't throw that carrying bag with the Space Needle logo in the trash. Please keep it for at least 56 years. I promise it will be worth something.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick-
Yes, the “aquadrome” is behind the International Fountain. It was actually located in Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1947, and is still going strong.

@ Melissa-
Would you believe ‘Electricabs-Pedicabs’. But that’s it.

I wonder if that gent carrying the Space Needle bag realizes that C&H Sugar is the ‘official’ sugar of Disneyland-?

Jonathan said...

Great, now I want waffles too.


Those SKYRIDE cabins seem to be a design “link” style between the Disneyland 1956 SKYWAY open round buckets and the New York World’s Fair SKYRIDE cabin design. The Seattle cabins are round, but enclosed . The attraction was sponsored by UNION 76 and every cabin had the “ 76” logo on its bottom so visitors on the ground would know exactly who the sponsor was!

Elvis rode in cabin #22 for the filming of IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLDS FAIR movie.

The SKYRIDE cabins and system was sold to the Pallyup WA Fair when the Seattle World’s Fair closed - I’m not sure if it still operates today - but in was in the mid 2000’s.

Patrick Devlin said...

I think that might be Puyallup, WA, MIke. I had roomies from WA state and they'd never let me get away with not saying something...

Nanook said...

Yes, Patrick & Mike-

It's spelled Puyallup, and properly-pronounced by thinking of a church 'pew'. And the Skyway is indeed still operating at the Washington State Fair Events Center, in Puyallup, ever since it was moved there from the former World's Fair site in 1980.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I would expect to find one of those big wooden spoons in the Disney medical bag. Quite handy when Monstro needs some cod liver oil after a busy day of eating boats/guests.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, for future “Century 21 Expo” posts, I should send the post to you first for fact checking! :-)

Melissa, I don’t see a gold jacket anywhere in sight, and that makes me sad. In fact, I need suits in the colors of burnt orange, sky blue, lime green, and of course, brown. Where can I get some electronic pancakes?

Patrick Devlin, all I know is that all roads lead to the aquadrome.

Melissa, zoiks.

Jonathan, there was a photo of the space needle in the previous post! Don’t worry, photos of that landmark are not scarce. I think I need to watch “It Happened at the World’s Fair”, though I may regret it.

Chuck, yes, I think a lot of servicemen who went to Asia had similar treasures in their homes. After his time in Vietnam, my dad brought back some stuff, possibly purchased in Bangkok. A rosewood desk (which we still have), some large vases, and two large (nearly 3’ tall) glazed earthenware elephants that he called “BUFEs” (pronounced “buffys”), which stood for “Big Ugly F****** Elephants”! Ah, life in a Navy family.

Sunday Night, I do love that paper bag! Wonder if similar examples ever show up on eBay?

Nanook, what is the aquadrome used for these days?!

Jonathan, I will take waffles for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Mike Cozart, thanks as always for the great info. Seeing how so many sky rides have closed over the years, it seems like odds are against the former Seattle version running anywhere. Sadly. I wonder if people waited to ride in cabin #22?

Patrick Devlin, any town with a name like “Puyallup” deserves to be misspelled and/or mispronounced.

Nanook, is “Puyallup” an Indian name or word?

Alonzo, imagine the digestive problems Monstro must have. Not pretty!

Melissa said...

Everybody I knew who lived through the 1970s had a giant fork and spoon. They weren't all as elaborately carved, though. We lost ours in a basement flood, along with our Super 8 movies.

(Waffles do sound better than electronic pancakes.)

Nanook said...


The "Aquadrome" - uh, the Memorial Stadium is now owned by the Seattle School District (and not part of Seattle Center - which is owned by the city of Seattle). To quote Wikipedia - although they are correct - it "...serves as the 'home field' for some high school football games played within the district... The stadium is also used for concerts, particularly in connection with festivals held at the Center - like Bumbershoot". The stadium has large grandstands (seating around 12,000 folks) and as you can probably guess, has a field where sports are normally played. The appendages allowing the Aquadrome to do its thing, were merely constructed for the Fair, and then removed when the Fair closed.

Puyallup, as you kinda surmised, is indeed Native American based - as in the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans. It means the generous people.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, a basement flood - sounds like the east to me! There were plenty of floods along the Susquehanna River when I lived in Pennsylvania. Such a shame that you lost those Super 8 movies.

Nanook, ah - I was thinking it was still a “water stadium”, which is why I was wondering what in the world Seattle was doing with it! Makes sense that it is now a regular stadium. Meanwhile, the poor Puyallup people probably regret being so generous…