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Worlds Fairs: Seattle 1962


Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
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[Worlds Fairs: Seaattle 1962]
image located by Zoltan Horvath, 07 January 2014

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The Seattle World's Fair (dubbed "The Century 21 Exposition" and also "World Science-Pan Pacific Exposition") was held between April 21, 1962, to October 21, 1962, in Seattle. It was the first World's Fair to be financially successful in it's first season (out of the two seasons which were originally planned). Unlike some other World's Fairs of its era, Century 21 made a profit. The fair was originally conceived in 1955 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (another feat remembered in another World Fair) but it soon became clear that that date was too ambitious. With the Space Race underway and Boeing having "put Seattle on the map" as "an aerospace city", a major theme of the fair was to show that "the United States was not really 'behind' the Soviet Union in the realms of science and space". As a result, the themes of space, science, and the future completely trumped the earlier conception of a "Festival of the [American] West""
Sources: and
The original World’s Fair Commission empanelled in 1955 with State Senators Willam Goodloe and Andrew Winberg, State Representatives Ray Olsen and Donald McDermott, and community leaders  Eddie Carlson, Paul Sceva, and Alfred Williams. The commission was expanded to 15 members in 1961 and included Lt. Governor John Cherberg; former U.S. Senator Clarence C. Dill (1884-1978; State Senators Howard Bargreen, Herbert H. Freise, Michael J. Gallagher, and Reuben A. Knoblauch; State Representatives Audley F. Mahaffey, Ray Olsen, Leonard A. Sawyer, and Jeanette Testu; Seattle City Councilman (and future mayor) Dorm Braman (1901-1980), and business and community leaders Paul S. Friedlander, H. Dewayne Kraeger, and Victor Rosellini (1915-2003). Al Rochester served as executive director and Western Hotels vice president Eddie Carlson (1911-1990) served as chairman and later Joe Gandy took over".
Sources: and (page 96).
The Century 21 Exposition is best remembered for the creation of Seattle's Space Needle and Alweb Monorail. Much of what was created still exists today, including the United States Science Exhibit which is now the Pacific Science Center. It is also remembered for Elvis Presley's movie, It Happened at the World's Fair.
In June 1960, the International Bureau of Expositions certified Century 21 as a World's Fair. Due to the 1962 Seattle Fair being officially sanctioned (by the BIE, the 1964 New York World's Fair would not be officially recognized.
Sources: and
"Seattle was lesser known at the time and relatively isolated, geographically, from larger urban centers. Before 1962, larger cities in the United States would typically host a world’s fair: New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Seattle ushered in an era of smaller cities hosting expos as a way of generating interest in various regions and developing new civic neighborhoods. Several cities looked to Seattle after 1962 to provide a model for urban renewal and economic growth. San Antonio’s Hemisfair ’68, Spokane’s Expo ’74, Knoxville’s 1982 World’s Fair, and New Orleans’ 1984 Louisiana World Exposition all used Seattle as a model to one degree or another."
Esteban Rivera, 07 January 2014

The Flag

[Worlds Fairs: Seaattle 1962]
image located by Esteban Rivera, 07 January 2014

The flag is the logo (Source: in blue, on a horizontal white flag, and below the CENTURY 21 EXPOSITION in blue capital letters, and below that SEATTLE WORLD's FAIR 1962, also in blue capital letters.
"The Seattle World Fair's symbol was created by R.T. Matthiesen and Associates, The arrow-orb form is used in science to represent man. The hemispheric symbol of the world is contained within the man-symbol, thus representing the theme of Man in the Space Age".
Source: (page 96)
The symbol, which "resembles the sign for mars with a globe and Century 21 in lettering is called the "Man in Space" emblem and was originally designed as a letterhead. It was registered as an official trademark and brought in an estimated 4 million dollars in revenue".
There's also a picture at the Plaza of States, where several flags are seen, and they are the flags of all U.S. 50 States, "arranged in order of each State's addmission to the Union. At the base of each pole is a plaque bearing the State's seal, motto, significant dates in its history, principal products and points of interest".
For more information go to:
For additional information go to: The next fifty (semi official website of the fair, commemorating its 50th anniversary in 2012)
Esteban Rivera, 07 January 2014