Fair Weather

Spring has officially arrived, and in many cities around Washington, it’s felt a bit more like August than April. Seattle beat a heat record Monday with a sweltering 89 degrees!

54 years ago today, the temperature was a comfortable 64 degrees, perfect for the opening day of the 1962 World’s Fair.

Although the Needle had been painted white in 1968, these matchboxes seem to commemorate its original galaxy gold glory.

In honor of opening day, I have a pair of 1970s matchboxes from the Space Needle restaurant, which was then operated by Western International Hotels. The boxes are small, only a few inches high, and filled to brim with tiny matches…

Gold-tipped matched! How much classier could it get?

… with gold heads!

The front of the matchboxes feature a white silhouette of the Space Needle, prior to the 1982 addition. The back features a logo and a telephone number for reservations.

The restaurant, originally named “The Eye of the Needle”, welcomed its first visitors to a gala on March 24, 1962, before the fair even opened. Located at a height of 500 feet, it was the second revolving restaurant in the world. Its floor, powered by a 1 horsepower motor,  made a complete rotation once every hour. Imagine the surprise some diners felt when they left their handbags on the windowsill!

Got a match?

Today, the restaurant is called “Sky City”, and it features a menu of local ingredients. The floor, now powered by a 1.5 horesepower motor, makes a complete rotation once every 58 minutes. Although still considered fine dining, the dress code is much more casual than it was 54 years ago.

The “Lunar Orbiter Dessert”, a brownie sundae topped with strawberries served surrounded by dry ice, is the only menu item remaining from the fair.


Greetings from the Oregon Coast!

What I love about this postcard is how touristy it is. The strategic placement of the rhododendrons in relation to the blue waters and artistic rocks is reminiscent of a postcard from Hawaii.

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Don’t let the rhododendrons fool you! This is indeed Oregon.

Postmarked July 5, 1956, this postcard was authored the day it was sent to Mr. and Mrs. Gunnar Nordquist at 1850 53rd St. in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood. It reads as follows:

“Hi Folks! We spent one night in a motel & two nights camping near Waldport. Had dinner with the Kerr’s Mon. eve. The weather here has been misty but not cold. On the way up the coast. Love, Connie & Roy”

Waldport, Oregon is a small town in Lincoln County, incorporated in 1911. During the time this postcard was sent, the population was somewhere around 667-689 people.

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Rhododendrons on the beautiful Oregon Coast

I’m pretty envious of that 2-cent postage myself, which is equivalent to about 17 cents today. The price of mailing a postcard today is 34 cents.

Scotch in Bloom

When spring hits, it flares up like summer wildfires,  bursting into full-yellow bloom on roadsides and hillsides. Its smelly, dense pollen gets blamed for seasonal rhinitis and can make highway travel a temporary nightmare. It’s so prevalent in Western Washington that it’s not on the WSDOT’s weed hit list.

Greetings from Scotch Broom.

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Scotch Broom in its typical habitat

Scotch Broom (also called Scot’s Broom) is actually an invasive species that originated in Europe. Now prevalent across North America, it was prized as an ornamental shrub and soil stabilizer, and sold in California as early as the 1860s. Captain Walter Grant introduced it to Vancouver Island in 1850. Fifty years later, it was naturalized.

It is a hardy plant that can tolerate many types of soils and can grow almost year-round. Its seeds are durable and long-lasting. It threatens almost all types of environments, from grasslands to dry riverbeds to cultivated farmland.

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Scotch Broom growing in the Pacific Northwest

Since the 1980s, aggressive measures have been taken to control and eliminate Scotch Broom, including the introduction of Scotch Broom-eating insects.