Seattle is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States of America. Whilst its long, bleak and rainy winter has many tales associated with it, the city is a vibrant place with several interesting things to do.
Here are some fun facts which we thought you must know.
The Space Needle in Seattle was originally sketched on a napkin. In 1959, a hotel executive in Seattle named Edward E. Carlson, who was also the chief organiser of the 1962 World’s Fair, travelled to Stuttgart, Germany. There, he was inspired by its famous TV tower, the Stuttgart Tower with a restaurant on top. He actually doodled a similar structure on a hotel napkin, thinking about how it would make a great centrepiece for the World Fair and for Seattle’s developing skyline. From that was built the Space Needle stands, which is one of Seattle’s most recognizable landmarks!
Seattle has an entire wall filled with used gum. The story goes that back in 1991, when audience members attending the Market Theatre started sticking chewed gum against the theatre’s brick wall, the Gum Wall came into being. Today it is a tourist magnet, with some pieces even stuck 20 feet up the wall and it’s estimated there’s a staggering 172,000 pieces of gum stuck on that.
Art is subjective but Seattle boasts the Official Bad Art Museum of Art! Also known as OBAMA, people leave pieces of bad art outside their store, or they mail bad art in. The best of the bad is then hung up in the Café Racer salon style.
There’s a famous building in Seattle that’s nicknamed Darth Vader. Costing a mind-boggling $33 million dollars to construct, this all-black, angular structure can be found at Fourth & Blanchard, and was nicknamed the ‘Darth Vader Building’ due to its resemblance to Vader’s iconic helmet in Star Wars. It is comprised of twin towers integrated into a single structure, which was apparently shaped to ‘minimise its impact on neighbouring high-rises while creating views for its own tenants.’
Seattle is actually built on top of another city. On 6 June 1889, Seattle the Great Seattle Fire was ignited at 2:30 pm in a paint and woodwork shop. Over the next 18 hours, the fire would engulf 100 acres of the business district and waterfront. Buildings, docks, sidewalks and ‘anything else combustible’ perished with a loss of around $20 million dollars. Instead of relocation, businesses started rebuilding exactly where they had been originally. The street was elevated 22 feet, the water system and fire department were modernised. You can even take an Underground Tour below to see the original city Seattle was built on!
Seattle has the world’s longest floating bridge. At 2,285m long the Governor Albert D. Rossellini Bridge connecting Seattle and Bellevue is actually the longest floating bridge in the entire world. It’s also known as the Evergreen Point bridge.
Interestingly, Seattle buys more sunglasses per capita than any other US city despite lack of sunshine. Seattle residents buy more sunglasses than any other city in the world.
This is the coolest fact we bet you didn’t know: Seattle is the first city to have police on bicycles. Around 1987, Seattle boasted the first police department to put officers on mountain-bikes. Initially, people laughed but over the years, thousands of police departments have followed suit around the world.
Seattle has the highest rate of UFO sightings per capita in the country. Seattle is actually where the term ‘flying saucer’ was coined.
Seattle was the first major US city to elect a female mayor. In 1926, the city elected Bertha Knight Landes, who ultimately served a single, two-year term.
Seattle was home to the world’s first espresso cart. According to the Monorail Espresso official site, in 1980, the first cappuccino cart was repurposed to sell espresso. So you know where to get your coffee fix from!