Saturday, September 14, 2013

WAWeekend: Where were you in ‘62?

That was the year -- 1962 -- when the focus in Washington State was Seattle, host city to the Century 21 Exposition (better known to this day as the Seattle’s World’s Fair).

The Fair, showcasing a new century -- then, still 38 years in the future -- ran from April 21st to October 21st and is said to have ‘put Seattle on the world map”.

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If you were willing to wait in the long lines, you probably even rode that space-age marvel, the Monorail, to the World’s Fair site. Fair creators realized that some form of transportation system would be needed to move the fair-goers (nearly 10 million people visited during the Fair’s run). The elevated Monorail was built to ease congestion on surface streets.

I remember the terror of that wait for a ride on that sleek rapid-transit contraption that my parents insisted would be fun. It seemed pretty space-age to me at the time!

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Now, just over a half century later, the Monorail’s popularity continues.  On a mid-week afternoon this summer I joined the lines of folks at Westlake Center who waited far longer than the ride itself for their turn on a nostalgic journey.

The Monorail travels about a mile, from the heart of downtown Seattle to the former Fairgrounds, now the Seattle Center, home to the iconic Space Needle, also built for the Fair, and the site's newcomer, the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass. 

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The children in line couldn’t stand still; their excitement too great. For those of my age it was a chance to share stories and memories of those early day trips.

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The cars were as I remembered them and because I was the only one simply taking a round-trip ride, for a brief minute or two after the others had left the train, I had it all to myself!

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The view of the Space Needle from the Monorail is one of the best to be had – not to mention being up-close and personal with the EMP Museum (formerly called the Experience Music Project) created by Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. A portion of its exterior is pictured in the photo below.

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If you are visiting Seattle, don’t miss the Monorail. It’s a great (quick) trip into the city’s more recent history and it is still a slick way to get between the two places without the cost of seeking lots and then paying sky-high parking rates.

If You Go:

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One way tickets are $2.25 for adults, less than that for seniors (65 and older) and children. For additional admission information and hours, visit,


  1. What a fun trip down memory lane! :-) I love taking monorails and seeing the city from such a unique perspective. :-)

    1. There is something about an elevated trip to put a different perspective on life isn't there?

    2. There is something about an elevated trip to put a different perspective on life isn't there?

  2. Jackie, I was born quite yet in 1962 and I was just tonight writing a story about one of my trips to Seattle! It will be a while before it gets posted. But, I drove my ex wife nuts because I became a little kid wanting to ride the two minute adventure on the monorail back and forth between the Space Needle and Westlake Center :)


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