Erecting The Needle Pt. 1

October 7th, 2008 @ 12:54 am by Cliffe | Sorted Historic Buildings |
Today I’m starting a new feature where we view chronological progress of the Space Needle construction. Really, the first in this series is technically this post where we studied various Needle concept drawings. But we’ll call this Part 1 anyway. The Space Needle started construction in April of 1961. As digging began, the 120-foot by 12-foot  (depth 30 feet) hole  slowly   filled with 5850 tons of concrete and steel.
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Anchoring the massive Space Needle, there would be more weight underground than in the tower itself.
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Click here for Part 2 of this series soon — where we continue the construction phase in photos. Click on the thumbnails for larger high-res pictures. [see also: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]
Deep down, where 2800 cubic yards of concrete will anchor the Needle, men lay a lacework of steel. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Easy now. First massive leg pedestal fits on forest of anchor bolts that reach 30 feet into underground concrete. June 30, 1961. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Straight into July sky, ground cranes place first leg column beside 120-foot core. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
While core welders squat on skimpy “floats,” iron-climbers study the new 100-foot-high joint. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.
Welding unit resting precariously on 100-foot level — lines dangling — needletop derrick assists in placing of next leg. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.

14 Responses to “Erecting The Needle Pt. 1”

  1. RPH says:

    WOW! Very cool images. So, that’s how it happened.

  2. Patrick says:

    Is that capitol hill in the background of the last photo?

  3. Shannon says:

    That is most definitely Cap Hill in the last photo. You can see the cathedral, the Volunteer Park water tower (the poor man’s Space Needle), and that huge white apartment building that is still there today!

    I love the Space Needle construction photos. They’re my favorite next to the Denny Hill Regrade project photos.

  4. Crystal V says:

    There is something erie but still very intriguing about that first picture….these picturesare truly amazing. I had to google so many words and phrases to find perfect construction pictures and here they are…great!!

  5. James Burns says:

    the first guy holding the rebar is my father in law George Aubrey

  6. Jim Vadnais says:

    My dad (Cleo) and uncle (Don Hastings) were involved in that great pour. Each went to their graves w/ pride in that participation.

  7. Deebach says:

    Local 86 Ironworkers, some of the best in the country. I work on the new bottom part before pulling the pin[ retirement]. My old dad work on some of the fair buildings. The fair was a great time for little Seattle, those were different times.

  8. David says:

    THANK YOU! i used this in my physics project on the space needle. this helped me so much!

  9. Sandra Stone says:

    My father D.W. Stone worked the whole time on the Space Needle. I am so very proud of my dad this was a big deal back in 61 and 62. My dad was the one that welded the steel together at the top of the Needle without any restraints. Crazy ha well he did it. He told me once that they dropped a bolt from the top of the Needle down threw a car and threw the concrete that they put there for the foundation. I can’t remember how many feet it went down though but I do know it went down a few hundred feet. Way to go dad you helpped bring a wonderful historical site to Seattle. My dad passed away in April of 1998. He will missed.

  10. Don Lockner says:

    I know that either National Blower and/or U.S.sheet Metal were contractors as my father, Carl John Lockner, told us (his children) about how he was bending sheet metal for the Space Needle. He worked for Boeing, then N.B., then U.S. around that time as a White Smith.

  11. Plasma says:

    Thanks so much, helped me with an essay on the Space Needle. Lots of help!

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  13. Cappy says:

    I was just a kid when my mom would bring us with her to pick up unemployment checks a block or so from the this site off Broad St, near Taylor or 6th Ave. I remember a LONG line of concrete trucks! It was great watching it growing in height each week. Talk about a strong foundation! Thanks for the pics to remember…
    It’s also weird to remember I-5 being built in 1958 (our house was moved for it)and the Seattle skyline changing quickly. It was a standing joke that the Columbia building was the box the Needle came from…

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