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See Seattle’s Landmark Take Shape

Friday, April 8, 2016

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For the first time, a collection of 2,400 photos documenting the construction of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle have been digitized.

That’s right; it is now possible to see historic photographs of ironworkers, painters and others balancing 605 feet in the air without safety gear or modern fall protection.

Seattle Public Library’s George Gulacsik Space Needle Photograph Collection includes early drawings of the structure through the final spray painting of the sloped roof. According to The Seattle Times, Gulacsik was a graphic artist and industrial photographer. He died in 2010.

The images had been long stored in Gulacsik’s closet, but his wife, Sally, donated the collection to the library in 2014 before she died, the news bureau reported.

Space Needle Painting
Courtesy of the Seattle Public Library / [spl_gg_sl_064]

Images in the collection show workers painting the needle's sloped roof.

The tower, originally painted a retro “Galaxy Gold,” opened at the World’s Fair in 1962.

The Space Needle’s creation was the brainchild of Eddie Carlson, who doodled the famous structure on a placemat at a coffee house. John Graham & Co. served as the architect for the project.

From inception to construction, the needle’s road was not an easy one. But the Howard S. Wright Construction Company built the tower, and the city has never been the same.

Now, the Space Needle is one of the top tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest, with more than 1 million visitors each year.


Tagged categories: Architectural history; Artists; Contractors; Monuments; Painters; Steel; Workers

Comment from Lee Chew, (4/11/2016, 11:00 AM)

From the pictures I've seen, it seems that the workers didn't wear safety equipment/harnesses for working at heights.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (4/12/2016, 10:33 AM)

Yup, no fall protection, not RPE while spraying paint and plaster...nice to know a few companies have progressed since 1962. Unfortunately, far too many still conduct business as usual for 1962 in 2016.

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