The Seattle Times

5 of 21

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They wrote the book on Seattle's World's Fair

Eddie Carlson, executive vice president of Western Hotels and chairman of the Washington World's Fair Commission, and real-estate developer Jim Douglas persuaded Seattle architect John Graham Jr. to design the Space Needle. After Carlson unsuccessfully sought funding from King County, businessman Bagley Wright joined forces with Alaska Steamship President Ned Skinner and Weyerhaeuser President Norton Clapp to assemble funding. With Graham and construction mogul Howard S. Wright, they formed Pentagram Corp., a private company, to build the Needle. Work began with a 35-foot-deep hole for the foundation. On May 22, 1961, workers began what was billed as the largest continuous concrete pour in the West. This would counterbalance the eventual 3,700 tons of steel used in the structure.