Space Needle, science, skyrides, showgirls. Many nations, monorail stations, Elvis gyrations. Belgian waffles, beauty queens, fashion, fine art, and spectacular performance. The 1962 Seattle World's Fair -- Century 21 Exposition -- had it all, optimistically looking ahead to theorize and imagine what the future might hold.
Century 21 Exposition drew 10 million visitors -- remarkable for a fair staged in a lesser-known city far from the public eye -- and captured America at the peak of Cold War tensions, on the cusp of a cultural revolution.
Behind the glitter and diplomacy was a larger vision: civic leaders, elected officials, and public citizens who built the fair's success vowed that when the lights went out and the tourists went home, Seattle would be left with a much-needed civic center. In the half-century since the fair, Seattle Center has become the artistic and cultural hub of the city -- the brilliant and remarkable legacy of a fondly remembered six months in 1962.
HistoryLink.org staff historians Paula Becker and Alan Stein, co-authors of The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World's Fair And Its Legacy, have developed a visual presentation documenting the colorful history of the Seattle World's Fair. The 60-minute program will include time for questions and answers, and an opportunity for those who attended the fair to share their own memories of Seattle's signature event.