Settle's greatest landmark, the Space Needle, was built specifically for the "Century 21 Exposition", also known as Expo 62. Nearly 10 million people attended the fair, boosting the region's economy. I was wondering, however, WHY it was Seattle that was selected for this honor.

Although I've read extensively on this topic, the only thing I've learned is why the Fair was held at all, NOT why its host city was selected to be Seattle.

Perhaps there's a historian out there who can clarify for me the reasons of Seattle's selection as host city?

2 Answers 2


The idea for the Century 21 exposition originated from within Seattle itself. "A defining moment in the history of Seattle, this fair began life as the brainchild of City Councilman Al Rochester." (source)

To quote some other relevant details from Wikipedia:

The fair was originally conceived in 1955 to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1909 Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition... 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". In June 1960, the International Bureau of Expositions certified Century 21 as a world's fair.


Seattle was a progressive city, and the fair was on a progressive topic; the coinciding of the two was the greatest reason for Seattle's selection.

  • 1
    Well, thanks for the answer, but it's not very detailed. Could you add more information here? (Nevertheless, the "coinciding of progressivism" is new to me.) Jan 19, 2017 at 21:31
  • This is a set of assertions without any evidence.
    – MCW
    Jun 16, 2017 at 8:39

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