A Proposal for a New Seattle World’s Fair

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My name is Bob Fleming, and I am very interested in the idea of a new Seattle World’s Fair.

In 1909, 103 ago, Seattle had a World’s Fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition, or A-Y-P. The fair was on the current campus of the University of Washington. The fair was very successful, attracting many visitors to Seattle and resulting in clearing and landscaping a portion of the campus and construction of some permanent buildings that are still in use at the University. The fair even made a profit!

Almost fifty years later a group of progressive Seattle leaders decided to plan another world’s fair fair to commememorate the fiftieth anniversaty of the A-Y-P. They were a bit late, but the 1962 World’s Fair (Century 21 Exposition) was a great success. It resulted in the creation of what is now the Seattle Center, pumped a lot of money into the local economy, did a lot to bring Seattle to the world’s attention, and really boosted our economy. Several permananent structures remain today, most notably the Space Needle, what is now the Pacific Science Center, the International Fountain, Key Arena, and the Seattle Center Monorail connecting the fairgrounds to downtown Seattle.

It is now over 100 years since the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition and more than 50 years since the Century 21 Exhibition. Why can’t we do it again? Not only could we get another huge boost in our economy and fame, but it would be the catalyst to remodel the Seattle Center beyond current hopes, and pay for it. It would also provide a new incentive to build the Green Line monorail, which we need anyway, and probably fund other transit improvements. Usually the Federal Government has a major exhibit and helps fund the exhibition itself, plus financing from the state, county, and other countries, states, counties, as well as businesses.

In the January 2012 issue of Seattle Business magazine, there is an article titled “Imagine That,” by Bill Virgin, in which he suggests a new world’s fair.


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©2007 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated on 13 September 2015

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