In September of 1966, I left my family home in Florida to go to college in Seattle. I was so excited. My first night there, I stayed in a downtown hotel. The next morning, I walked the Seattle streets marveling at the skyscrapers. Having grown up on army bases, I had never seen buildings so high. The other thing I remember doing that day was buying a small typewriter, one with a red case. Since the suitcases I had brought from Florida were also red, I’m assuming that must have been my favorite color in those days. Or maybe it was the color of new beginnings. In September of this year, I will have lived in Seattle for 50 years, so that day was definitely a new beginning!
This post was originally meant to be a response to last Wednesday’s Daily Post prompt- City. As I started thinking about this 1966 event though, I became curious about changes I have witnessed since I moved here. I remember at that time the Smith Tower was the highest building in Seattle. No one was allowed to build a skyscraper that was taller. The only exception to that rule was the Space Needle which had been built for a World’s Fair in 1962.
The Smith Tower was built in 1914 and is 38 stories and 484 feet. The Space Needle which is 605 feet high and, as I already mentioned, was built in 1962. The height restriction was eventually changed and the Seafirst Building was built in 1969. It has 50 stories and is 638 feet high. Now, the tallest building in Seattle is the Columbia Center. It is 76 stories and 943 feet high and was built in 1983.
Next, I wondered how the population had changed during the 50 years I have lived here.
In 1970, the population of Seattle was 530, 831 and in 2015 it was 668, 831. The current population was much smaller than I expected. When I looked into it, I discovered that the city’s population actually went down when the Boeing workforce was reduced from 80,400 to 37,200 in 1970/71. While the city itself did not have tremendous growth between 1970 and 2015, the suburbs and metropolitan area really grew. In 2015, the population of Seattle metropolitan area was 3,733,580 and we had the 15th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.
The last thing I will mention is that when I first Goggled “1966 Seattle” I was rather surprised to see that the first three listings were about the Beatles August 25, 1966 concert! I don’t remember being aware of their recent visit at the time, but I imagine it must have been a major topic of conversation for many Seattlites.
It has been interesting to think about my arrival in Seattle and learn more about the city I chose to be my home. Thank you WordPress for your “City” prompt.
Photo Credits : Wikimedia
All statistics come from Wikipedia.com