Fair and Festival – No. 8: The Gayway

Something like the Pay Streak of nickle and dime amusements at Seattle’s first big fair, the 1909 Alaska Yukon and Pacific Expo. on a U.W. Campus remade for it, Century 21’s  Gayway was given to cheap thrills and gaudy sensations, and so was popular.  Checking Ron Edge’s double-vision map directly below, the Gayway – section No. 7 – is found sprawling east from the Food Circus between the Monorail terminus and Memorial Stadium.  It was filled with the kind of modular constructions that could be brought in big pieces on big trucks and assembled quickly on the spot.  Its most eastern and southern parts are now covered by the Experience Music Project (EMP).  North of the Gayway, the fair’s most erotic sensations – the intended ones – picked up at the fairgrounds northeast corner, a site we’ll visit later.

(Click the blow – and all else – TWICE to Enlarge.)

Ron Edge's contrivance superimposed a map outlining the major attractions of Century 21 over a recent shot from space, but not recent enough to include the addition of the - or yet another - glass museum.

Remembering that Jean used his ten-foot pole to peek over the southeast corner of the Memorial Stadium to repeat the now-then we featured earlier today, for the repeat below he kept his camera high on the pole and turned about 140 degrees clockwise to the southeast to look over what was the Gayway to the EMP, thereby repeating Frank Shaw’s nearly same prospect to the southeast entrance to the Fair.

Frank Shaw stood very near where Jean poked his camera 50 years later, which is from the roof of the "lip" above the Memorial Stadium's southeast gate. In the foreground he includes most of the Gayway's Hot-Rods, a ride suitable for all ages but doing its greatest service, we suspect, to the awakening glands of adolescents. That's the intersection of 5th Avenue and Harrison Street on the distant left. Capitol Hill, left, and First Hill, on the right, meld the horizon.
Jean used a lens considerably wider than Frank Shaw's. Still the meeting of Harrison Street and 5th Avenue can be detected here directly left of the EMP's shining north facade. I am included in Jean's pole shot. See me descending some steel stairs to a dumpster. While not diving there I did snap the squid that appears behind the banner at the bottom-left corner of Jean's repeat. It follows.
Like a revolving ball of small mirrors hung above a ballroom floor the eccentrically curving sides of the Experience Music Project seem to scatter strange reflections about the neighborhood. That, at least, is my first interpretation of the strange warm light in the shadows of the landscape on the right behind the bike rack. The wall behind it is part of the Memorial Stadium. Or was that light scattered by the dumpster or a squid on a late Indian Summer afternoon?
A fair fair-time reveal of much of the Gayway, Memorial Stadium and, upper-right, some of the fair's sexiest corner as well. Compare, if you will, the forms of these objects of art and entertainment with those in the Edge-Map. Note, for instance, the familiar Hot-Rod attraction's figure-8, right-of-center. From this we can easily imagine where on the stadium wall Frank Shaw stood and where below him a half-century later Jean held his pole. The running track in the stadium is fitted with water for the fair's water-skiing show, evidence for what was then tooted as "the pleasure boat capitol of the world." See the boat run and see the small harbor at the circle's southeast (lower-right) corner.
Dipping the Space Needle camera south some to show the monorail leaving the fair, and 5th Avenue on the right. The red construction at center-bottom is the south terminus of the fair's flybye, the Union 76 Skyride. One-half of Hot-Rods' figure-8 is showing in the upper-left corner. And for later reference note the fair's "Giant Wheel" - No. 97 on the map - at the bottom-right corner.
Dipping still lower, but now thru the Needle's protective bars, most the Monorail terminus is included, and even the last - most easterly - articulation of the roof on Ivar's fish bar is evident far left just above the bottom-most protective bar.
Borrowed - or lifted - from a popular bit of fair ephemera, a slim book with "pictorial panorama" in the title, if memory serves me as well as the book. This look east from an upper floor in the Food Circus shows the night lights of my of the sensational structures seen from the Space Needle shots just shown. Hot-Rod shows, again, above-left. The Memorial Stadium's southeast wall looms in the shadows beside it. On the left, the Calypso is blurred by its speed. The three circles of the Monster, right-of-center at the bottom, may be resting. And there is that Giant Wheel down the Gayway on the right horizon. With neither fanfare nor huckster, the dark rectangle at the center is listed "67-68 Concessions."
Still in the heirloom panorama chapbook, but on the ground and with No. 67-68 Concessions on the left. (Apparently the unnamed photographer did not use a tripod. The focus is soft.)
A ferris-wheel of sorts beside the Monorail but not, I think, the Big Wheel. It shall be revealed - hopefully by a reader.
Returning with Jean to the old Gayway acres, here home for the Experience Music Project and several attractions, which yet have not attracted throngs on this Bumbershoot Sunday. All of this is outside the Bumbershoot gates. Two children or three ride the revolving swings above the painted labyrinth while a puzzled old man in a Hawaiian print shirt looks on holding, perhaps, his life-support in a dark bag.
Nearby and still outside the Bumbershoot gate.
Looking northwest through the brand new Civic Center from the corner of 4th Ave. and Harrison Street in 1928. The "then" featured at the top of this Sunday Nov. 21, 2012 feature was taken kitty-corner from this prospect, and as noted there just before the green acres of David and Louisa Denny's claim were developed for what we see here. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archive)

The clipping from the Nov. 14, 1993 printing of Pacific.  And by the way, the video history of Seattle promoted at the bottom of the clipping is still available – now on DVD.  See the “store” connected to this blog for instructions on how to order its sublime story of the “Seattle Spirit.”  Although I lived off such huckstering in ’93, this documentary is cheaper now, as am I.  (Click to Enlarge)

FINALLY and from the same prospect, there goes the sun.

From the same perspective - looking northwest over 4th and Harrison - this sketch appeared in the April 1, 1951 edition of The Seattle Times. The picture's caption reads in whole, "STADIUM ROOF PROPOSED: The High School Memorial Stadium would resemble this architect's sketch under a proposal by the Greater Seattle Gospel Crusade, Inc. The proposed high, arching wooden roof would cost about $100,000. The gospel group is prepared to spend $30,000 for a canvas cover for use during next summer's appearance in the stadium of Billy Graham, evangelist, and would contribute the $30,000 toward construction of a permanent roof, representatives told the School Board. The board indicated no objections to the project, but pointed out that no school funds were available." We note that this proposal was printed on April Fools Day, but discount it as a coincidence. Still the GSGC may have expected a miracle. Better, perhaps, to pray - but not for rain - before spending thirty thousand on a big tent to turn down the sun.

 

 

 

 

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