Erecting The Needle Pt. 4

December 5th, 2008 @ 12:29 am by Cliffe | Sorted Historic Buildings |
We’ve reached the fourth and final installment of the “Erecting The Needle” construction photo series. You may want to catch up with the concept sketches, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. As the needle construction wrapped up in late 1961, painters in small cages were applying the hues. Space Needle manager Hoge Sullivan dubbed them all: the legs Astronaut White,
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the core Orbital Olive, the halo Reentry Red, and the pagoda roof Galaxy Gold. Click on the thumbnails for links to the high-res photos.
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Awkward to manage, remaining restaurant “sunburst” fin comes toward its place in yawning gap left open for crane operator. But PLEASE don’t move that right shoe. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.  
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The crazy man is trying out the observation deck promenade too soon. Working on outrigger brackets over 515 feet of nothing is touchiest job on the Needle. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.  
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Giving an upper leg its coat of “astronaut white,” painter pauses in high cage to view awesome sight. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.  
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December 8, gas beacon tower tops Needle at 600 feet, and Stars and Stripes in traditional ceremony proclaim a glory for U.S.A. Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.  
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The Space Needle, as completed at a cost of $4.5 million.  Copyright 1962, The Craftsman Press, Inc.

16 Responses to “Erecting The Needle Pt. 4”

  1. Nickbob says:

    The flame on the Needle was a nice touch, but they haven’t lit that candle for many years.

    Thanks for this series, it’s fun to relive those days. The orange was better, dammit!

  2. Shannon says:

    Yeah, Nickbob, I was gonna say, I didn’t know the tower was a “gas beacon” and that it used to light up! I wonder why they stopped doing that.

    Also, I don’t care how many ropes would be attached to my waist, there is no way in hell you could get me up there painting, like the guy in that first photo. I’m not one to get vertigo easily, but for some reason, that photo makes me dizzy!

  3. matt wright says:

    Incredible! You mate are the master of research. Talk about amazing pictures. I love the concept stuff too – some pretty crazy stuff there.

  4. Dean Syltebo says:

    Hi This is Dean. I have lot of original colors slides 35mm and 4×5 of the Space Needle when it was orange paint in 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. I have about 150 original colors slides of the Space Needle was in it’s original colors for the Seattle World’s Fair 1962 but I’m very lucky that I have original slides but it was very hard to find old photos or slides. In 1968 The Space Needle took about 800 to 1,000 gallons of the paint to cover the Space Needle with orange, red, yellow and olive and they worked for 60 to 75 days in the summer of 1968. The original colors for the Space Needle was very last short time for 6 years from 1962 to 1968. I have no idea why the Space Needle wanted to changed new white, gold and dark brown paint in 1968. I hate new paint in 1968 but I love the Space Needle was in it’s original colors for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. I miss the Space Needle’s original colors in 1962 but I can’t remember the Space Needle when it was orange paint 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. I found old newspaper ” The Seattle Times” front pages about the Space Needle was changed new paint in 1968 The Seattle Times Date on June 26, 1968 at The Seattle public Library has old film in June 26, 1968 The Seattle Times. I hope so you will enjoy it.

  5. Doug Smith - Salt Lake City says:

    One thing I remember is that when I was ten, visiting the World’s Fair with grandparents who lived in Seattle.

    I was a future art student. I always had to be making something, keeping busy with little art projects.

    I found an old apple crate in my granddad’s corner store. Turning it on it’s side, I made a watercolor backdrop of the Seattle skyline and pasted it into the back of the apple crate ‘diorama’. I used cardboard tubes, plastic cups and cast-offs to make the Space Neele in 3-D. My diorama of this city that was so wondrous to a visiting Rocky Mountain kid, was an object of pride and admiration.

    I will never forget the day it was time to return home to Utah. I packed the diorama in the car with all of our luggage. Quarters were cramped in the car with 4 kids, 2 parents, luggage, and more. Mom had canned blackberry jam. The car was loaded with canning jars as well.

    Dad didn’t value my prized diorama as much as I did. I was told to take it back in the house. It wasn’t coming with us. I bawled and bawled. I said, ” it won’t be here when we come back next year!” My grandma said she’d save it.

    A year later, returning for summer vacation to Seatlle, I found that she had kept her word. My Space Needle diorama was still there. I was a bit older now. Somehow the luster wasn’t there for my prized possession, but I remember what meant more was that she kept her word, realizing that this object of wood, scraps, paste and paint meant something to a young kid. I knew she loved me.

    Seattle has so many fond memories for me. The Fair, with it’s view of the world cultures, the floating bridge, the Japanese Tea Gardens, the waterfront with fishermen unloading fish, the raising bridges, the locks, the beaches ( rocks, no sand), tidepools, the ferries, Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, fish and chips and more. Seattle was a source of amazement and learning for me.

    Forty six years later, I have travelled internationally in my design and architecture career, working on projects in 22 states. I fondly remember the positive exposure that Seattle in 1962 gave to me, with a gateway to the world, style, culture. It was magical!

    Great city, great people!

  6. Doug Smith - Salt Lake City says:

    PS: The Space Needle will always be orange and white to me — not gold. First impressions always last.

  7. Doug Smith - Salt Lake City says:

    I would love to see other research on some of Seattle’s other projects that are kind of amazing for their time: the floating bridge, Aurora bridge, the locks, the ferries (remember the Kalakala?), the Tacoma Narrows bridge, and more. Remember the supersonic transport’s lifesize model at Boeing? Neat stuff.

  8. Uncle Robbie says:

    My uncle worked for Otis Elevators in the 1950s and ’60s, installing and repairing elevators all over the city. He was on the crew that worked on the Space Needle. When the work was done, he climbed the needle (no safety harnesses in those days) and scratched his initials into the very top. Yes, insanity runs in the family.

  9. polly says:

    My friend uncle works on the elevator on the space needle

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