City Hall

The Council's Seattle Center Memories

By Erica C. Barnett April 20, 2012

It's nostalgia week here at PubliCola---yes, even cynical hacks like us can't resist the appeal of Seattle Center's 50th anniversary---so we thought we'd alert you to a video series the Seattle City Council is doing to highlight their favorite Seattle Center memories.

Of the nine city council members, four---Jean Godden, Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen, and Sally Bagshaw---actually attended the 1962 World's Fair, but they all had memories of the Center. And, I have to say,their memories kind of confirm a lot about their individual personalities.

For example: Council member Mike O'Brien read part of a science report he did after visiting the Pacific Science Center as a young kid in Bellevue. Nick Licata recounted a 24-hour dance-a-thon he helped organize in the '80s to oppose nuclear proliferation. Bruce Harrell recalled a quadruple-overtime football game he played as captain of the Garfield High School team at Memorial Stadium (they lost). Jean Godden talked about learning that the people of the future would no longer have to eat, because food would be in pill form (and lamented that she couldn't get a job as a Bubbleator operator, because you had to be at least 5-foot-six and "stunning.") Richard Conlin waxed nostalgic about years of going to the Folklife Festival. Sally Clark recalled meeting her partner at a Seattle Reign women's basketball game at Mercer Arena. Tim Burgess recalled his most memorable concerts---Paul McCartney and Wings, and Billy Joel and Elton John ("Billy Joel stole the show"). Tom Rasmussen recalled watching the Space Needle under construction and eating Belgian waffles ("Who had ever had a Belgian waffle before?") . And Sally Bagshaw, a longtime Seattle Center booster, took the opportunity to say she looks forward to the development of a "European-style" play area near the monorail.

All the council's videos are available on their web site.

Meanwhile, apropos of my post the other day about the 1962 city council's letter to the council of the future, here are a few more letters from the 1962 World's Fair Time capsule---a surprisingly tepid note from Mayor Gordon S. Clinton ("Within the limits of our financial resources we have done everything possible to provide Seattle with a cultural and convention center"); a surprisingly prescient letter from the Central Association of Seattle, the Downtown Seattle Association of its day ("Today we are talking about Monorail, helicopters, parking garages. Will these advance concepts be as outdated 50 years hence as were the railroad terminals and traffic patterns of 50 years ago? Probably they will"); along with letters from the Seattle Symphony ("I imagine that now you have a symphony orchestra on the moon!"), the Chamber of Commerce, and the Seattle World's Fair management.
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