1961: THE RACE TO BUILD BEGINS
Needle construction begins one year before World’s Fair opens.  

Construction crews broke ground on the Space Needle on April 17, just one year and four days before the opening of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, called “Century 21.” It was a remarkable feat to complete this one-of-a-kind, 605-foot tower in such a short amount of time. And there were plenty of challenges along the way. 

It took 467 cement trucks an entire day to fill the foundation hole (30-feet deep and 120-feet across) — the largest continuous concrete pour ever attempted in the West. Innovative steel construction was required to raise the Space Needle, the tallest building west of the Mississippi River at the time (the Needle is fastened to its foundation with 72 bolts, each 30 feet in length.) And to top it all off, the Needle would feature one of the world’s first revolving restaurants. 

The successful completion of the Space Needle in record time, with no lives lost, was a source of immense pride to our community. Eddie Carlson, the man who first envisioned the Space Needle, said, “It wasn’t just building a building, it was building a structure that hadn’t been done like this before.” He added, “Plenty of people thought we had been selling pie-in-the-sky. And then one day they looked up, and there this thing was, spinning around.”



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