More On Seattle Part One

Seattle is a beautiful city nestled between the ocean and snow capped mountains.

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I will tell you a about each of these places in several articles.

The places a lot of people have heard about:  The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Aquarium, The Underground, University of Washington, The Monorail, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, the Original Starbucks and the Great Seattle Wheel.

Lesser known but still popular:   the Music Project building, Seattle Art Museum, Uwajimaya, the International District, Volunteer Park, Gas Works Park, The Arboretum, the Ballard Locks and Ship Canal, Green Lake, Alki Beach, Boeing Museum of Flight, Tillicum Village, the Houseboats on Lake Union, the West Point Lighthouse, and the piers along Alaska Way.

The Space Needle

Seattle Center
400 Broad Street
Seattle, WA 98109

Open 365 days a year

Addmition: Adults $24.00  Child $15.00

Driving Directions: From I-5, take exit 167

The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair.  It was designed to look like a flying saucer.  It has a rotation restaurant at 500 feet.  If you leave your purse on the window sill, it will come back around to you in about 45 minutes.  The observation deck is at 520 feet and includes a gift shop and restrooms.  It’s a fantastic way to get an overview of the city, see the mountains that surround Seattle and Elliot Bay with all of it’s boat traffic.

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Pike Place Market

From 1st Ave. and Pike St. to 1st Ave. and Pine St.

Open 7 days a week, 362 days a year.

Public Market Parking Garage
1531 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Pike Place Market was established in 1907.  The Market has several levels and takes up about nine acres.  There are way too many places to list so I have included this website to look through, but be warned, you can spend hours looking through this directory because it is so much fun.   http://pikeplacemarket.herokuapp.com/directory

It’s even more fun being there.  Bakeries and flower vendors make it smell amazing.  The fish market has it’s famous fish throwing to watch, and scattered around there are street musicians playing sweet music and street magicians entertaining anyone who wants to stop and watch.

Pioneer Square

Several blocks south of Pike Place Market.  This is where the original Seattle was built in the 1850’s.  A huge fire destroyed the wood buildings in 1889.  The buildings that were built in the 1890’s were made of stone and brick.  Over time the street level kept rising so that now the main floor of most of the buildings are actually the second floor of the buildings.  More on that next under The Undergound.

Seattle Aquarium

1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101-2015

Open 9:30am to 5pm daily

Seattle Aquarium fees:           Ages 13 and over – $21.95

Ages 4 to 12 – $14.95

Three and under – Free

The aquarium has a 120,000-gallon tank with more than 800 fish and invertebrates indigenous to the Pacific Northwest’s local waters.  The main viewing window is a huge 20×40 feet area.  Divers go into the water three times a day: at 10am, 11:30am and 12:15pm.  They wear special masks that let them talk back and forth with Aquarium interpreters on the outside of the tank and answer questions from the audience.

There is also an undersea dome with a 360º view into a 400,000 gallon tank filled with hundreds of fish including Salmon and Sharks.  Fish feeding happens daily at 1:30pm.

Best place to park is the Public Market Parking Garage at 1531 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101.

The Underground  and  Seattle Underground Tour

Because the original streets of the area of Pioneer Square flooded quite often during the early days of Seattle, city leaders decided to raise the street level after the 1889 fire.  To do this, they built concrete walls that formed narrow alleyways between the walls and the buildings on both sides of the street, they filled the area where the street was with dirt and rock.  Pedestrians climbed ladders to go between street level and the sidewalks in front of the buildings.  Eventually they paved the streets and covered the sidewalks with pavement and skylights.  This turned to original sidewalks into tunnels.

In 1907 the city condemned the underground area, which were now basements.  Over the years the areas were left to deteriorate or were used as storage.  This area was also being used by prostitutes, gambling halls, speakeasies, and opium dens.

In 1965 a man named Bill Speidel established “Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour” and took customers on a tour of what was left underneath Pioneer Square.  Over the years the tour has become very popular.  The underground areas have been continually renovated to be safer and more visually appealing. The tour remains a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike.

Meet for the tour at 608 First Ave, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, between Cherry Street and Yesler Way.

The tour lasts for 75 minutes.  Tickets cost:

$17 Adult (18-59 yrs)
$14 Senior (60+ yrs)
$14 Student (13-17 yrs or with valid college ID)
$9 Child (7 –12 yrs)
Kids 6 and under are admitted free, but may find the 75-minute tour challenging.

More On Seattle Part Two has information on:

The Pacific Science Center

University of Washington

The Monorail

Woodland Park Zoo

The Music Project

Seattle Art Museum

Uwajimaya

The International District

More On Seattle Part Three has information on:

Volunteer Park

Gas Works Park

The Arboretum

The Ballard Locks and Ship Canal

Green Lake

Alki Beach

Boeing Museum of Flight

Tillicum Village

The Houseboats on Lake Union

Seattle, The Seahawks, Starbucks and the Space Needle

The City of Seattle is far from an out of the way place, but considering today is the Superbowl and the Seattle Seahawks (GO Hawks!) are going for the win, I thought it quite appropriate to write about Seattle. And yes, I AM a Seahawk fan.  I also Love Seattle. Wow, did you notice that all of the important things start with an “S”?   I apologize that I don’t have many photos to post.  I lived about 70 miles north of Seattle for 23 years, went there often, and took it for granted.

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Seattle has so many things to see and do that you would need to stay there for an entire month and maybe even then you would probably miss places.

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The places a lot of people have heard about:  The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seattle Aquarium, The Underground, University of Washington, The Monorail, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, the Original Starbucks and something I just learned about, the Great Seattle Wheel.

*In my defense, the Wheel was not built until 2012.  The Seattle Great Wheel is the largest observation wheel on the west coast, standing 175 feet tall.  It has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas.  Each gondola seats up to eight people.  The wheel can hold over 300 passengers at any given time.

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Lesser known but still popular:   the Music Project building, Seattle Art Museum, Uwajimaya, the International District, Volunteer Park, Gasworks Park, The Arboretum, the Ballard Locks and Ship Canal, Green Lake, Alki Beach, Boeing Museum of Flight, Tillicum Village, the Houseboats on Lake Union, the West Point Lighthouse, and the piers along Alaska Way.

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You can actually spend all day on the Alaska Way waterfront.  You will kick yourself if you don’t go to Ivar’s Acres of Clams for lunch at Pier 54.  Get there at 11:00 when they open for lunch to make sure you get a window seat.  You will be able to watch the ferry boats come and go.  And speaking of ferries, taking a ferry ride is one of the must do’s.  Also on the must do list is a ride on the Monorail.  Get there early, find a place to park, and spend the day there.  From this one place you can visit the piers, go through Pike Place Market and watch them throw fish.  You can spend several hours in the Market. There are several levels and many, many shops.  Go across the street and get coffee at the original Starbucks.  The cook in the family will want to shop at Sur La Table on the Pine Street end of Pike Place Market.  Back down at the waterfront, take the kids to the Seattle Aquarium and the Great Seattle Wheel.

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Now, for the Seahawks.  When you leave your parking spot up by the piers and Pike Place Market, go south on Alaska Way and drive by the CenturyLink Stadium.  Home of the Seahawks and their fans, the 12th Man.  Yes, I know the 12th Man was coined by the Texas Aggies in 1922, but the Seahawk fans are owning it.  Here is a little know piece of fan history; in 1984 team president Mike McCormack retired the No. 12 jersey and dedicated it to the fans.  The was the beginning of the Seattle Seahawks 12th Man.

The Seahawks were born in 1976.  Their first home was the famous Kingdome.  Named that because Seattle is in King County.  Many of us Old Timers have fond memories of the mighty Kingdome.  Football games, tractor pulls, yearly Home Shows, and the Great Seattle Boat Show.  I can still hear the jingle in my head, “The boat show, the boat show, the Great Seattle Boat Show”.  Hmm….I digress, back to the Hawks and their fans.  The 12th Maners are the Loudest fans in America and have actually caused low grade earthquakes under CenturyLink Field.

Today will be the Seahawks second time at the Superbowl.  So who will win?  Seahawks or Denver Broncos?  I will be in front of the TV.  Beer in one hand, chicken wings in the other, cheering for my mighty Seahawks.

Seattle Aquarium fees:           Ages 13 and over – $21.95

Ages 4 to 12 – $14.95

Three and under – Free

A really GREAT deal is the CityPASS.   This is a pass to six-attractions:  the Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Seattle Harbor Tour, the Seattle Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum, and your choice of the Woodland Park Zoo OR the Boeing Museum of Flight. You can purchase a pass at the Aquarium ticket booth.  It is good for up to nine days.

The CityPASS will cost:

          Ages 13 and over – $74.00

 Ages 4 to 12 – $49.00

Paris Springs Junction, a Must See on Route 66

Not much is left of the town of Paris Springs.  Just a church and a few houses.  The town was settled before 1850.  In the mid 1920’s, Route 66 was built less than a mile south of the town.  One enterprising man decided to build a filling station, or gas station in today’s vernacular.

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The station was built at the intersection where the road from Paris Springs met the new Route 66.  He joined several other businesses that had already opened at that location, and the community of Paris Springs Junction was born.

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The filling station was doing quite well until a fire destroyed the business in 1955 and shortly afterward Interstate 44 was built about 2 miles to the south.  When I-44 bypassed Paris Springs Junction the community dwindled.

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Many years later the property was purchased by Route 66 enthusiasts, Gary and Lena Turner.  Gary rebuilt a new station with the character of a 1930’s Sinclair Station.  He filled the area with a collector’s dream of memorabilia.

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Not rusty old vintage things, but signs and items that look new enough that a visitor is transported back in time to the 1930’s.

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Mr. Turner is known to sit in his office inside the station and talk to anyone who stops by.  He doesn’t sell anything, he just gives away free information.

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We have never met the owner because we take our drives at sunrise, way to early in the morning, however, we do plan on taking another drive to Paris Springs Junction on a Saturday afternoon this spring because we would truly like to meet Gary Turner and chat with him for a while.

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This special little community is a Must See for any historian, Route 66 fan, or anyone just out for a drive.  See it, you’ll be happy you did. (and don’t forget your camera).

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Directions:   Paris Springs Junction lies about 20 miles west of Springfield, Missouri, about 3 miles west of Halltown.  The easiest way to get there is to get on I-44 at Springfield and head west to the Avilla/Hwy 96 exit.  Travel west on 96 for about one and a half miles, turn right on Highway 266.  Drive about 150 feet and turn left onto Route 66 road (turning right will take you to Halltown).  Paris Springs Junction is only about one and a half miles down the road.