Authors take look back at the Seattle World’s fair

  • By Alicia Arter For The Herald
  • Monday, October 24, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

EDMONDS — Alan J. Stein is going to be in the news a lot soon — an unusual forward-looking spot for the historian, who writes for

The Edmonds man’s acclaim will come as his new book, “The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy,” launches celebration

s of the fair’s 50th anniversary.

He and co-author Paula Becker wrote the book after writing “Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Washington’s First World’s Fair: A Timeline History,” the story of the 1909 World’s Fair.

“Once that book came out it was natural to segue into the 50th anniversary of the 1962 fair, since we did all the research for the 1909 book. It was quite a culture shock, because we had been so steeped in Edwardian culture and then all of a sudden we’re researching astronauts and Elvis for the current book.”

That research led him to interesting observations about the 1962 fair.

“I’m impressed with how well (the fair) came together. As an example, consider that the foundation of the Space Needle was dug in April 1961 and it was structurally complete by the end of the year,” he said.

He also found that “Belgian waffles were introduced to America at this fair. They were a huge hit.”

As for visitors, “everybody talks about Elvis but the person who actually drew the larger crowd was astronaut John Glenn.”

The book isn’t just enjoyable, it’s also an important addition to local history, he said. “It’s good to document these things, from conception to construction to what happened both at the fair and afterwards.”

As for the future of the fairgrounds, now Seattle Center, the historian has high hopes.

“It will continue as a center for the arts, a center for the community. It’s used by both tourists and locals. It’s a gathering place,” said Stein.

Meet the author

What: Alan Stein and Paula Becker will present a slide show and talk about “The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy”

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Richmond Beach Library, 19601 21st Ave. NW, Shoreline

Cost: Free

Info: or 206-546-3522

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