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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

May 4, 2012 at 11:32 PM

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World's Fair Bubbleator has had its ups and downs

bubbleator inside-m.jpg

Sketched April 24, 2012

Bubble ... what?

The 1962 World's Fair Bubbleator was an ultramodern, transparent, spheric lift that took 100 people at a time to the "World of Tomorrow," an exhibit of futuristic images inside what is now KeyArena.

It left a lasting impression on visitors, and remained a city attraction through the 1970s, when it was part of the Center House, then known as the Food Circus.

achzigermugsketch-m.jpgBut in the '80s, the Bubbleator's magic popped. Des Moines resident Gene Achziger found it in a heap inside a north Lake Union warehouse where it had been put in storage. It was owned by Seattle Children's hospital, but "they didn't know what to do with it," said Achziger, who paid $1,000 for the pieces to build a greenhouse for his home.

We can still travel on the Monorail and take in the views from the Space Needle. Wouldn't it be cool to ride the Bubbleator again?

Achziger, 58, said some parts are missing but it would still be great if somebody was willing to bring the space elevator back to life. He actually never got to ride it as a boy because of the long lines at the fair.

bubbleator outside-m.jpg

What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Sketcher looks back at the Fair: They keep the old Monorail running

More World's Fair Anniversary coverage: seattletimes.com/worldsfair


Most Popular Comments
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I was only four when my parents first took me to the fair but growing up here we took... MORE
I would like to see it come back. It is as much a part of Seattle as the Space Needle. MORE
I rode it a lot as a kid... I loved that thing. It was a major part of the Center's... MORE

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