A Charming New Year

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful end of 2016 and a great start in 2017! To kick off the year on the blog, I thought I’d share one of my Christmas gifts with you:

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I’ve seen many variations of these charm bracelets online, featuring different varieties and styles of charms. Mine features six distinct charms–The 1962 World’s Fair logo, Chief Seattle, a dugout canoe, an airplane, the Monorail, and the Space Needle– but other bracelets include totem poles, a ferry boat, The Science Pavilion, The Coliseum, a salmon, and a Washington State logo. Seattle World’s Fair bracelets exist in both gold and silver and range in quality from inexpensive to high-end.Some of the charms featured tiny gems and colored enamel (including a Galaxy Gold Space Needle charm!)

 Although versions of completed bracelets exist still attached to their original cards, I believe charms could also be bought separately, allowing visitors to augment existing bracelets or start from scratch.

Many World’s Fair souvenirs commemorate only the fair itself, but these bracelets also nod to Seattle’s character, history, and economy.

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Century 21 Logo: This blue enamel charm features the official logo of the 1962 World’s Fair. Running from April 21 to October 21, the fair’s official name was “Century 21 Exposition”, and its theme was science and how it would change life in the next century.

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Chief Seattle: Although not in his exact likeness, this charm represents Seattle’s namesake. Chief Seattle, also known at Chief Sealth, was a member of the Suquamish Tribe who lived near the shores of Elliott Bay. When members of the Boren-Denny party arrived to scope out the area, Chief Seattle welcomed them and sent men to show them around. He is well-known for his welcoming attitude toward white settlers and for his speeches, which are oftentimes regarded as pro-environment and pro-Indigenous rights. He was christened Noah when he was baptized into the Catholic church.

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Dugout Canoe: The indigenous Washingtonians enjoyed the bounty of salmon, shellfish, and cedar trees available in their land. They used cedars to build longhouses and canoes. The dugout canoes produced by the Suquamish people were prized for hunting and transport and traded all along the West Coast.

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Boeing: This Boeing jet (a 707?)  looks ready for takeoff! From mail carriers to bombers to commercial airline jets,  Boeing has been filling the sky with an assortment of aircraft for 100 years. By the time of the fair, Boeing was actively involved in the Space Race and employed thousands in Washington and Alabama. Although Boeing’s president hated fairs, the company’s Spacearium was a popular attraction at Century 21.

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Alweg Monorail: Known simply as “The Monorail”, this futuristic train was built in Germany by Alweg. While officials briefly considered using the monorail to link Seattle with Sea Tac Airport, its red and blue trains linked the fair to downtown. Alweg won the bid for the train when they offered to underwrite the costs of construction, but within six months, over 8 million riders had generated much more than the 3.5 million construction costs. Following the end of the fair, Century 21 Corporation gained ownership for free. They sold it to the City of Seattle for $600, 000 in 1965.

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The Space Needle: What part of the fair is more iconic than the Space Needle? Built in a mere 400 days, this 605-foot tall structure offered panoramic views of Seattle and fine dining among the clouds. Along with the Monorail, it opened in March 1962, almost a full month before the opening of 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.

Let’s Go to Washington State

Now that Spring Break is upon us, perhaps you’ve asked yourself a time or two where to go. Florida? Mexico? The Caribbean? Look no further than the Northwestern corner of the U.S.

Washington!

Why, may you ask?

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“It’s Cool, it’s Green, it’s Great!”

How much more of a reason could you possibly need?

This midcentury  tourism brochure, originally the property of the former Stagecoach Motel, touts the diversity of Washington’s geography and offerings.

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“Glorious Vacationland!”

Now it seems that Washington is only known for its apples and rain, but this brochure invites you to explore the state’s outdoor offerings, including swimming, fishing, and general sightseeing. It seems a very fitting advertisement for a time when road trips were popular vacations for many Americans.

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Highway and Recreation Map

The map gives us an interesting look at the state’s major roadways before the construction of the interstates. Highway 99 was still the main north-south thoroughfare and Highway 10 had yet to become part of I-90.

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“It’s Closer Than You Think”

In case you were wondering what to wear on your trip, here is what the brochure suggests. I would add an umbrella or raincoat to the list.

Why not stop by? It’s closer than you think. Only 11 hours from New York by plane in the 1950s.

It’s only about 6 hours now.

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Fold-out View

It’s Cool. It’s Green. It’s Great.

Among My Souvenirs

Can you believe it’s March already? I can’t, but I certainly won’t complain, either. March means spring is right around the corner, and I think we could all use some sun!

To kick off the month, I have a souvenir that looks straight off the shelves of the 1962 World’s Fair!

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“Made by Your Neighbor in Washington”

This souvenir bracelet, never removed from the card, is made from metal and faux pearls. It features a charm about the size of a quarter showcasing the Space Needle on a mock postage stamp.

Although I don’t know for sure, it’s likely that this bracelet was among the many souvenirs available at the World’s Fair. If not sold at the actual fair, it was probably sold in a nearby shop during the duration of Century 21.

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“Space Needle, Seattle, Washington”

A price tag on the card prices it at $1, or $1.10 after federal tax was applied. This is equal to about $7.84 before tax today and $8.63 after, making them relatively affordable. I can imagine these bracelets being popular souvenirs for girls attending the fair, and popular gifts for girls who were not able to attend.

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It cost only $1 before adding on the 10% federal tax

 

Farewell to the Fair

53 years ago today was the last day of Century 21, the fair that brought the world to Seattle. While people were discovering Belgian waffles, witnessing technological wonders in the GE Pavilion, and riding the Bubbleator, towering above it all was a 605-foot wonder, built in a mere 400 days.

The Space Needle.

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The Space Needle with the fair and Seattle in the background.

Architect John Graham, architect responsible for the trailblazing Northgate Mall, created the final designs for the Space Needle. Steel parts for the Needle were produced off-site, and the foundation was laid in May 1961. Construction continued steadily through the year, and the Space Needle opened to the public in March 1962, almost a month before the fair opened on April 21st.

This postcard, purchased at the fair, shows the helicopter that fair visitors could take for an outside view of the Needle and the fair. Here, the Needle shows off its original colors: Galaxy Gold for the top, Re-entry Red for the halo, Astronaut White for the legs, and Orbital Olive for the core. It was repainted in its famous gold and white color scheme in 1968.

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Space Needle, Seattle, U.S.A.