Spacelift? Once Upon a Time Fife Needled Seattle
Seattle's Space Needle debuted at the 1962 World's Fair attracting 2.3 million visitors and diners at the time and has enjoyed notoriety ever since, but as Needle attendance waned in the 1970's, did you know in 1978, as reported on October 27 of that year, there was an outside chance the iconic structure was going to be moved to Fife? Fife, er, fat chance, for sure, but it did make the news.
Yes, the view from the Space Needle could have been very different if a group of Fife businessmen had been successful in their bid to buy it. The story picks up in 1978 as the Space Needle's owners wanted to serve the expected throngs of people swamping Seattle Center's display of King Tut's treasures. Much to the ownership group's dismay, Seattle City Council officials did not permit Pentagram Corp. the permission to construct a second restaurant and banquet facility at the 100-foot level of the Space Needle in time for the event.
So teed off were the building's owners, they actually considered a proposal that a group of Fife businessmen led by local KMO radio station manager Jim Baine proffered: $1 million to move the 605-foot-tall structure to their city 25 miles to the south. Clearly, the bid failed, not least because the structure had cost $4.5 million to construct at its current site.
Seattle City Council ultimately approved the addition, which opened four years late on May 19, 1982, as “The Wheedle in the Needle.”
On April 15, 1998, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board approved the designation of the Space Needle as a "historic landmark." The designation was made official on April 19, 1999, by the Seattle City Council.
It was the first structure approved on the basis of all six designation criteria, ranging from architectural merit to historical and physical prominence.