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Originally published January 4, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Page modified January 4, 2013 at 12:14 PM

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The rise of the Space Needle and KeyArena

From 1957 to 1962, Frank Owen Shaw lived in an apartment on the corner of First Avenue and Republican Street, and photographed progress of what is now known as KeyArena.

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FROM HIS WINDOW in the comely Lower Queen Anne Wedgewood Court Apartments, Frank Owen Shaw watched the Seattle World's Fair, Century 21, take shape, especially its largest part: the Washington State Pavilion. With most of Seattle, Shaw also watched the Space Needle perform as a rising barometer of the fair's heated construction.

From 1957 to 1962, the lifelong bachelor lived in his 1931 apartment on the corner of First Avenue and Republican Street, kitty-corner from the old Warren Avenue School site chosen for building the pavilion — later named the Seattle Center Coliseum and now called KeyArena. During the more than two years it took to build the pavilion, Shaw, a Boeing quality-control expert, took photographs to mark its progress.

When he moved out in late March 1962, weeks before the fair opened, the last 2-by-2-inch slide Shaw took from his second-floor flat showed the nearly completed Coliseum topped by what a 6-year-old once described for me as "our splendid Space Needle." Shaw framed them together with his apartment window and meticulously captioned the slide, "Last shot from former Apt window, March 20, 1962, 5:30 p.m."

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