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Where we're always on the road, and it's always 1962! ™


I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:

  • 1962 News of the World
  • 1962 News of the Nation
  • 1962 Local News
  • 1962 in Sports
  • 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
  • 1962 in Science
  • Cars of 1962
  • Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
  • On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
  • More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)


The 1962 Seattle World's Fair – Century 21 Exposition

As I write this, summer’s over, the kids are back in school, and our roadtrips are done for the year. Well, the roadtrips are never actually finished here at Roadtrip-'62 ™, but my real life vacation is done for 2018. In case you’re wondering, "What I did on my summer vacation", here’s my report. This summer, I attended the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition! Actually, I visited what’s left from the fair, which is still enough to have a fun day in Seattle, Washington and beyond.

reproduction travel poster for 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
Travel poster for 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (Reproduction print from an online auction.)

From where I live, in Saginaw, Michigan, I could have driven US-10 all the way to Seattle in 1962. The highway ran from Detroit, Michigan to Seattle back then, using a ferry between Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I would have joined the nearly 10 million other visitors who came for the fair that summer, which ran between April 21 and October 21. A great place to stay while in town would have been the Edgewater Hotel, which is built on Pier 67 over the water of the harbor and is Seattle’s original waterfront hotel. This 223-room hotel is still the only waterfront hotel in town and has welcomed many famous guests over the years, including The Beatles in 1964! The large lighted “E” is prominently visible when lighted at night, or even during the daytime from a harbor cruise. I recommend taking a harbor cruise both for the great views and interesting commentary; we did.

Edgewater Hotel, Seattle, Washington, 2018
View of the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle, Washington, from the harbor, 2018

The fair began life as an idea by City Councilman Al Rochester in 1955. Public excitement built, and two years later Seattle voters passed a $7.5 million bond issue for fairground development, which was then matched by the state legislature. Considering the expenditure, it’s nice to see that some of the fair remains over five decades later. It’s also nice to know that unlike some other World's Fairs of the period, this one made a profit! The chosen theme, Century 21 Exposition, wrapped together science, space exploration, and the progressive future. In 1961, the International Bureau of Expositions certified the event as an official World's Fair. This gave the event the cachet for various governments to become involved. The United States was very interested in showing off the nation's scientific prowess, and so committed over $9 million, mostly to build the NASA-themed United States Science Exhibit. Several foreign governments provided an international flavor, though the tense geopolitical mood of the early 1960s limited participation. The Soviet Union declined to participate, and the People's Republic of China, North Vietnam, and North Korea were not invited.

Photo exhibit on the construction of the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington
Photo exhibit on the construction of the Space Needle, Seattle, Washington

Much of the site for the Century 21 Exposition was already city property, with a large chunk intended for a civic center that had not been built. Some land had been donated to the city as long ago as the 1980s, and a school and a fire station were demolished. Some of the land had held some of the city's oldest houses, apartments, and commercial buildings, known as the Warren Avenue Slum, which were purchased and demolished. Construction was active all throughout 1961 and early 1962: of course, construction of the Space Needle caught everyone's attention. Meanwhile, civic boosters and marketers worked all over the country to get as much early press coverage as possible. You could read stories everywhere, from Life magazine to The New York Times. All of it was designed to get people planning vacations to Seattle to see the wonders of the future. Many big name politicians also planned and made stops, including Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bobby Kennedy. But one of the great disappointments was that President John F. Kennedy never visited the fair while it was open. President Kennedy was scheduled to open the Century 21 Exposition in April of 1962, but did so remotely by telephone. The White House promised the president would return for the fair’s closing in October but he had to claim a "heavy cold" and beg off, as he was dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Seattle Center Monorail entering fairgrounds through the MoPop building
Seattle Center Monorail entering fairgrounds through the MoPop building, 2018

So let’s get ourselves over to the fair! I traveled the Seattle Center Monorail from downtown Seattle to the fairgrounds, just the way it was planned. The original Monorail cars still look shiny and almost new 56 years and over one million miles of service after their inaugural run. In 2014, it carried roughly two million passengers from the downtown station to Seattle Center. It’s actually a good way to see some of Seattle, riding above street level. It used to end rather undramatically at the fair grounds, but now it bursts through the MoPop museum building, which was constructed around the Monorail in 2004. I think it makes MoPop look like a curtain fluttering around the Monorail whenever a train enters the Seattle Center. Alweg Rapid Transit Systems of Sweden constructed the monorail, which is 1.3 miles long. Seattle has discussed extending the line many times over the years, but nothing has been done. Alweg was also the builder of the original Disneyland Monorail System in California, which opened in 1959. Both systems remain operational. A third system, built in Turin, Italy for the Italia 61 Exposition, was destroyed by a fire in the late 1970s. Alweg's technology was also licensed in 1960 by Hitachi Monorail, which continues to construct monorails around the world.

Seattle Center Monorail interior
view of the Seattle Center Monorail interior, 2018

The monorail opened a month before the fair, moving its first passengers on March 24, 1962. The original fare was $1 per trip, which is more than $8 in today’s money! The current fare is only $2.50. The Monorail was privately operated and like the fair, it was profitable, carrying 8 million guests in its first six months. The system was sold to the city in 1965. Despite the fact that I took the ride as a tourist, Seattle Monorail Services General Manager Thomas Ditty notes that most riders are locals. He says their biggest weekends are Seattle special event weekends and that there a are monthly pass holders that use the train to commute. There originally was another ride that began near where the Monorail ended, the Skyride. It ran a series of bucket shaped gondolas about 60 feet above the fair for about a quarter mile over to the International Mall area. The Skyride was moved to the Puyallup Fairgrounds, site of the Washington State Fair, in 1980, where it is still operating. Stop by and have a ride during the fair, the first three weeks of September!

Official map of the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition
Official map of the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition (From Jordan Smith, The Cardboard America Archives, used by permission)

Once on the grounds, I should buy an official guide book, they’re only $1.00. A lot of the information I’ll list below comes from the book. So, where to next? The fair was divided into various areas, much like a theme park. In no particular order, there were The World of Science, The World of Commerce and Industry, The World of Art, The World of Entertainment, Show Street, The World of Tomorrow in the Washington State Coliseum, and two shopping areas, Boulevards of the World and the Exhibit Fair. I began my day with the biggest thing left from 1962, the Space Needle! The Space Needle is in The World of Commerce and Industry section. (I would have expected a World of Tomorrow area, but it turns out that that was an indoor exhibit…more on that later.) The Space Needle began as an idea by Seattle World’s Fair Commission chair Edward E. “Eddie” Carlson while he was visiting Stuttgart, Germany in 1959. Eddie Carlson, who was also a vice president of Western Hotels, and his wife dined with friends in a restaurant at the top of a 400-foot TV tower there. He marveled at the idea that people would actually pay for an elevator ride just to get to a restaurant, and then pay high prices for a meal. The fact inspired him to doodle the idea of a "flying saucer" restaurant on the top of a tower for the World’s Fair.

Space Needle with matching streetlight on World’s Fair grounds
Space Needle with matching streetlight on World’s Fair grounds, 2018

Once back in Seattle, Eddie Carlson pitched the idea to others on the fair board and was put in touch with architect John Graham Jr., who had recently completed a revolving restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. He proposed a similar revolving restaurant to provide patrons with an ever-changing view of the city while they ate. Graham assembled a design team who played with concepts such as a saucer-capped spire to a structure resembling a tethered balloon before settling on the now familiar curved tower and crown-shapped restaurant. The county declined to fund the project and so a group of private investors was formed which included the architect and Wright Construction, who eventually constructed the tower. Eddie Carlson committed Western Hotels to run the facility and its restaurant. The developers purchased the site from the City of Seattle, began construction, and the entire facility is still privately owned today. The Space Needle actually opened early, in December 1961 and originally included a natural gas flame at the top. The restaurant still completes a full revolution every 58 minutes, powered by only a 1.5 horsepower electric motor. The Space Needle has withstood both the Columbus Day windstorm of October 1962 and a 1965 earthquake without damage.

View from Space Needle looking north
View from Space Needle looking north, 2018

Throughout 2017 and into late 2018, the Space Needle underwent a $100 million renovation. It was nearly finished when I visited in July, 2018, but some construction equipment was still on site and some interior areas were closed, including the SkyCity Restaurant at the top. Over the years, changes to improve safety, by adding “pony walls” and cages, had restricted the views from the top. All of this was removed and replaced with new exterior glass barriers with angled glass benches on the outer open-air Observation Deck. You can now lean against the clear glass wall of the outer observation deck and look down to the city below. The interior of the Observation deck also had brand new floor-to-ceiling glass walls, but the open circular stairway and glass-floored view of the elevators and structure of the Space Needle were not yet finished.

Paul Horiuchi's mosaic mural at Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington, 2018
Paul Horiuchi's mosaic mural at Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington, 2018

The other buildings and exhibits in The World of Commerce and Industry section included the Mural Amphitheater, the Hall of Industry, the Interiors, Fashion, and Commerce Building, and even 15 governmental exhibitors surrounding the World of Tomorrow. These are all gone today, but in 1962 we would have seen exhibits ranging from 32 different furniture companies, Ford Motor Company, and Bell Telephone, to the Encyclopædia Britannica. One I wish was still around was the Electric Power Pavilion, which included a 40 feet-high fountain styled to look like a hydroelectric dam, with the entrance to the pavilion through a tunnel in the dam! The World of Tomorrow was the largest and most diverse of the five themed areas and also included some futuristic exhibits like a wall-size television, home and car of the future, and electronic library exhibit. Near the center of this area was Seattle artist Paul Horiuchi's mosaic mural, which now forms the backdrop of the current Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheater. Foreign exhibits included Great Britain’s science and technology exhibit, Mexico and Peru handicrafts exhibits, and Japan and India showing their national cultures. Of course, you could not escape world politics during the Cold War, as the Taiwan and South Korea pavilions touted the benefits of capitalism over communism.

United States Science Pavilion towers, now the Pacific Science Center
United States Science Pavilion towers, now the Pacific Science Center, 2018

The nearby World of Science area surrounded the United States Science Pavilion, which included a NASA exhibit that included models and mockups of various satellites, as well as the Project Mercury capsule that carried astronaut Alan Shepard. There was an exhibit on the development of science, with every field from mathematics to genetics (in 1962!). The Spacearium was a theatre that held up to 750 people for a simulated voyage through the Solar System and then through the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Other exhibits included the “House of Science”, “Development of Science”, “Methods of Science”, and a glimpse of the future at “The Horizons of Science”. I didn’t spend time at the current Pacific Science Center due to other interests competing for my time, but based on other modern science centers I have seen, I’m sure that it would have provided an experience worthy of the former Worlds’ Fair exhibits.

Aerial view of Seattle World’s Fair, looking southerly, postcard ca. 1962
Aerial view of Seattle World’s Fair, looking southerly, ca. 1962 (Postcard from an online auction.)

The Washington State Coliseum, seen at the right in the postcard above, was a sort of combination of The World of Science and The World of Commerce and Industry, housing exhibits from both. The major exhibit was Washington State’s World of Tomorrow, billed as a tour of the future. Here was a round, see-through elevator called the Bubbleator, a display of a future home with a personal gyrocopter for commuting, a display of an automated plankton harvesting farm in the ocean, future schools with electronic knowledge storage, future offices with electronic communications, and rather incongruently in my opinion, a display of a 1962 family in their fallout shelter. Other exhibits in the building included those from France, Pan Am, General Motors, the American Library Association, and RCA. The Washington State Coliseum is now Key Arena. It is used for entertainment purposes, such as concerts, ice shows, circuses, and sporting events. It was first converted to sporting events and became the home of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1967. It was rebuilt between 1994 and 1995 to bring the arena up to NBA standards of the time, such as lowering the court 35 feet below street level to allow for 3,000 more seats. The Seattle SuperSonics continued to play there until 2008. Key Arena became home for the WNBA Seattle Storm in 2002 and they still play there. Recently, an investment group has been in negotiations to once again renovate the city-owned KeyArena. The group is also negotiating for an NHL franchise and expects to have either an NBA or NHL team within three years.

Paul Bunyan Birthday Cake, 1962 Seattle World's Fair  postcard
The World's Largest Birthday Cake, the Paul Bunyan Birthday Cake - 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Postcard from Jordan Smith, The Cardboard America Archives, used by permission.)

I should stop for lunch sometime, so let’s look in at the Food Circus. The Food Circus was a food court inside the former Armory Building, situated in the center of the fairgrounds. Today, part of the building houses the Seattle Children’s Museum and part is performance space, where over 3,000 free public performances occur every year. Much of the main floor is again a food court, and that’s where I’m heading. The Armory was built in 1939 and was originally home to Seattle’s 146th Field Artillery. Though the current arrangement has food vendors around the outer edges with tables filling the center and a stage for shows at one end, the 1962 arrangement also had many food concessionaires throughout the center. There were 52 vendors in all, and nine of them had exhibits in addition to serving food. One of the more interesting exhibits was the Paul Bunyan Birthday Cake presented by Clark’s Restaurant Enterprises and baked by Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakers of Seattle. It was presented in celebration of the American folklore character Paul Bunyan’s 128th birthday. The cake stood 23 feet high and used 4000 pounds of sugar just for the frosting! It was a fruitcake and also contained over 7000 pounds of raisins and a ton of pecans. During the course of the fair, slices were boxed and sold both on site and by mail. There was nothing so spectacular when I ate here this summer, and the fair rides and many exhibit buildings are gone. But there are still plenty of people: I had to wait over 20 minutes just to order lunch!

Space Needle and tower of glass by Dale Chihuly, Seattle, Washington
Space Needle and tower of glass by Dale Chihuly, Seattle, Washington, 2018

I didn’t find anything remaining from The World of Art section of the fair. This was a temporary fine arts exhibit assembled from 61 museums from around the world and displayed in the Fine Arts Pavilion. In addition to loaned masterpieces by such artists as Michelangelo, Titian, Renoir, Rembrandt, Rubens, Picasso, and Homer, there were works from 50 contemporary American artists including Willem de Kooning, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and Frank Stella. Local Washington artists were also represented and a separate gallery presented Northwest Coast Indian art. Instead of these exhibits, I visited the current fine art exhibit on the grounds: Chihuly Garden and Glass. This amazing exhibit of glass is housed both inside and in the garden of a new building on the site of the former Gayway, the amusement park area of the fair. Chihuly Garden and Glass opened in 2011 and his works have a connection to 1962.

Dark room exhibit at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington
Dark room exhibit at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, 2018

Dale Chihuly is world-renowned for his large-scale, innovative works of blown glass. If you only see one thing in Seattle, this should be it. And if you find any of his installations anywhere else near you, you should see those also. Dale Chihuly was born in nearby Tacoma, Washington in 1941 and was studying interior design at the University of Washington, in 1961. There, he learned how to melt and fuse glass and some basic blown glass technique. But at that time, there was no recognized curricula or university training in glass blowing, so in 1962, he drooped out of school to study art in Florence, Italy. He became frustrated by his inability to speak Italian, so he moved on to study in the Middle East. There he met architect Robert Landsman, who helped convince him to return to his studies. In 1963, he took a weaving class where he incorporated glass shards into tapestries. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. But how did the University of Wisconsin come to create a glass studies program during those few years?

Ceiling exhibit at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington
Ceiling exhibit at Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, 2018

One of the instructors at the University of Wisconsin. Harvey Littleton, had been dabbling in glass for a few years and was trying to get grants to set up a hot glass studio program at the university. When no grants had been received by the fall of 1961, Otto Wittmann, director of the Toledo Museum of Art, suggested that Littleton consider giving a glassblowing seminar at the museum. Glass research scientist Dominick Labino, who worked in Toledo, was brought in and developed a small, inexpensive furnace in which glass could be melted and worked, making it affordable for artists to blow glass in independent studios. A temporary glass-blowing facility was established in a storage shed on the museum grounds and the first of two workshops was held there in March 1962, with the second in June of that year. Afterwards, Labino set up his own glass studio on his farm near Grand Rapids, Ohio and Harvey Littleton traveled to Europe to research how glass making was taught in universities there. He found nothing. Students were not taught hands-on techniques as the craft of working with hot glass was still taught only at the factories, under the apprenticeship system. During the 1963 semesters, Littleton taught glass in a garage at his own farm under an independent study program. By the following year, because of the success of the Toledo workshops and that independent study course, he had finally secured University of Wisconsin funding to rent and equip an off-campus hot shop in Madison, Wisconsin and authorization to offer a graduate level glass course. That was the course that Dale Chihuly enrolled in and the studio glass movement rolled on from these 1962 beginnings.

I’ve mentioned the rides at the fair in 1962 had occupied an area called The Gayway. The area featured 19 rides, loosely in a space theme. Many were the same rides you would have found at any county fair or small amusement park of the time, including Calypso, Rotor, Scrambler, and Wild Mouse. The ferris wheel was named the Space Wheel and the Tilt-A-Whirl was named the Space Whirl to fit the theme. A few other rides had spacey names but I don’t know what kind of rides they were: Flight to Mars and Galaxi. As I mentioned before, the Skyride carried you from the Monorail station over to the International exhibits. If you wanted to walk, you would pass through The World of Entertainment area.

Gracie Hansen's Paradise International at 1962 Seattle World’s Fair postcard
Gracie Hansen's Paradise International at 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (Postcard from Jordan Smith, The Cardboard America Archives, used by permission.)

Walking off the Gayway, the World of Entertainment began with a water-skiing show in the stadium, produced by Tommy Bartlett of Wisconsin Dells fame. They built a canal wide enough for about 8 skiers and a power boat pulled several pretty girl skiers around the circuit. It was called an Aquadrome and photos show a pyramid of skiers zooming around it. Considering the producer and the type of shows he was known for, I’m sure they did a jump or two. The stadium seated 12,000 and presented a wide array of entertainment. The stadium remains but the Aquadrome was filled in long ago. To one side of the stadium was the Hawaii Pavilion, a Japanese Village, and the Paris Spectacular wax museum. Other entertainment ranged from a boxing championship to an international baton twirling competition, from ballet to jazz, and a number of nationally and internationally known performers at both the Opera House and Playhouse. After the fair, the Playhouse became the Seattle Repertory Theatre until the mid-1980s, when it became the Intiman Playhouse. It is still an important performance venue in Seattle as Cornish College of the Arts took over the lease from the city and now operates it as the Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. Also in this section was Show Street, an “adult entertainment” portion of the fair. In the far northeast corner was Gracie Hansen's Paradise International, which was a Las Vegas-style floor show, and LeRoy Prinz's "Backstage USA" next door. At "Backstage USA” you walked through what appeared to be the stage door of a theater and saw the on-stage performance from the stagehands’ side, including views into the performers‘ dressing rooms. Sid and Marty Krofft, later known for the H.R. Pufnstuf TV show, had an adults-only puppet show, Les Poupées de Paris. There was also a show featuring naked "Girls of the Galaxy". I suspect they were all from Earth.

Original Seattle World’s Fair International Fountain at night
Original Seattle World’s Fair International Fountain at night (Public domain photo Item No: 73084, courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.)

Walking around, we would also have seen the two shopping districts of the fair, the Boulevards of the World and Exhibit Fair. The central feature of this area was the International Fountain, with the State Flag Plaza to one side. An art competition was held to find a design for this central feature, and one idea was a large moat with gondolas floating in it. Instead, the more abstract fountain won the competition for a “light, water and sculpture display”. The designers, Kazuyuki Matsushita and Hideki Shimizu, were from Japan, adding to the international focus of the fair. It has been described as an underwater mine in a blast crater or a sea urchin but the official description from the Museum of History and Industry as symbolizing mankind's efforts to explore the farthest reaches of outer space. In any event, the original fountain had over 20 spouts and was programmed to change patterns accompanied by recorded music. As with many features of the Seattle World’s Fair, it was later modified. The central spout feature was changed in 1995 from a dark metal ball with hard nozzles to a smooth silvery metal ball with interior nozzles, and is now climbed upon safely by hordes of children every year. The International Fountain's engineering was updated and computerized by the designers of the Bellagio Hotel Fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada. The so-called Super Shooter nozzles shoot 120 feet high and there are 4 of these, 56 Micro Shooters, 77 “Fleur-de-lis” and 137 mist nozzles.

Astro Ray Gun from Ohio Art, 2018 model
Astro Ray Gun from Ohio Art, 2018 model (originally produced in 1962)

Today, the main shopping area is at the foot of the Space Needle, near the Monorail station, as that is the main tourist arrival area. There are food vendors here in addition to those in the Armory Building, along with all sorts of souvenirs. The interior gift shop at the Space Needle is an especially fertile place for souvenirs, with both modern and retro gifts. And of course you can buy models of the Space Needle in just about any size and material you want! I saw metal plastic, cardboard and inflatable versions, along with puzzles, pet squeak toys, and dozens of different mugs, glasses and bottles. You can buy space needle foods ranging from pasta and chocolates to coffee and lollipops. They have plush toys, lighted toys, retro toys, and good old standbys like books and postcards. I couldn’t resist completely: I bought a postcard. (If I were still 9, like I was in 1962, I’m sure I would have wanted the Astro Ray Gun!)

waiting for the train, Seattle Center Monorail station
the author waiting for the train, Seattle Center Monorail station, 2018

Time to leave the fair now, though we’ll see some other relics of the fair later as far away as the Pacific Ocean town of Ocean Shores. As I head back downtown on the Seattle Center Monorail I’m surprised again at how shiny and new the whole system looks. Even the ticket booths have a look and feel as if the World’s Fair just opened. We go back out through the MoPop building, which I didn’t talk about when we came in. The MopPop collection focuses on rock and other music of the 20th century, science fiction in television and movies, and video games. The building was designed by Frank O. Gehry, who began his own architectural practice in Los Angeles, California in 1962. Some of his most famous buildings include the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

American Home of the Immediate Future at the Seattle World’s Fair
American Home of the Immediate Future at the Seattle World’s Fair (Public domain photo courtesy of the “a href="" target="_blank" >Seattle Municipal Archives.)

I kind of hate to leave the fairgrounds, so I’ll mention a part of the fair that has also left. I discovered that one building from the fair has been moved to another location, the “American Home of the Immediate Future”. This was originally an exhibit of the US Plywood Association, to showcase all the new innovations in home construction that were possible with plywood. It was originally located adjacent to what is now the Seattle Children's Theater at Seattle Center, but has been moved to near the corner of SE 70th Place and East Mercer Way on Mercer Island, where it I being used as an actual residence. One of the home’s innovations facilitated its relocation: it consisted of sections prebuilt by the PanelBild Division of US Plywood that were bolted together on the destination lot. This allowed for easy disassembly and reinstallation when moved. Of all the smaller buildings from the fair, this is the only one still used for its original purpose. The home is now in the hands of its third owners, who bought it in 1990. At that time, the master bedroom was still painted the original orange from the fair.

Seattle Center Monorail ticket booths
Seattle Center Monorail ticket booths, 2018

After spending the night at the Edgewater Hotel, we get up the next morning to take a short roadtrip out from Seattle, to see some more remnants of the World’s Fair. We’re heading to Tacoma, Washington first and then to the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Shores, Washington. Now you’re probably curious about what we’ll find, but first a story about how the fair affected the Seattle area. It seems the whole town celebrated the World’ Fair all year long, including local musicians, radio DJs, and bar-goers. Thus, the city’s own song, “Wasn’t That A Mighty Day When The Needle Hit The Ground” became a big local phenomenon. A young singing duo known as Mike & Maggie recorded this song in a bar, in the best folk song style of the day. The song tells the tale of what happens when too many men crowd to one window of the observation deck at top, to view a woman undressing in another building, which of course causes the entire Space Needle to crash and roll. Records sold briskly and the song got a lot of local airplay, along with another local song, “See You In Seattle” by Joy & The Boys.


“Wasn’t That A Mighty Day When The Needle Hit The Ground”


I’m taking US-99 south to Tacoma, instead of the recently completed I-5 freeway. I’m stopping for an early lunch on my way west, as I imagine many folks did between Seattle and the coast in 1962. And that’s because of a real old-fashioned burger drive-in in the northwest part of Tacoma. Frisko Freeze has been here since 1950, serving milkshakes, fries, and burgers still greasy from the grill in wax paper wrappers. You can just feel that this was the place for a teenager’s first date or meeting place after high school football games. It’s across from the Kaiser Permanente Tacoma Medical Center hospital, so it’s easy to see how this small, neighborhood place has stayed in business this long. I ordered the standard hamburger, which is served with mustard, mayo, green relish, lettuce, and onion. It’s the only burger I’ve ever had where the mustard is the major condiment and that gives it a unique flavor. I skipped the fries and ordered the onion rings, which were big, crunchy, and delicious. And since they custom made the shakes and malts, I had butterscotch instead of chocolate and a malt instead of a shake. It was great: I could taste the malt! The customer is always outdoors here: you have the option to drive up to the order window and then park to wait for your food, or to park first and then walk up to the order window. I got here after lunch and the parking lot was empty, so I parked first and walked over. There is no seating, so you eat in your car. Or if you want a nice place to picnic with your food, Wright Park is only eight blocks away. The park has good flower plantings, a pond with ducks, and a small conservatory, the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. A great place to enjoy your lunch and the flowers.

Frisko Freeze drive-in, Tacoma, Washington
Frisko Freeze drive-in, Tacoma, Washington, 2018

The Puyallup Fairgrounds, new home of the Skyride, are not too far from Tacoma, but as that fair wasn’t open when I visited this summer, let’s continue to Olympia, Washington. There we visit another enduring legacy from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Tumwater Falls Park, on the Deschutes River, was created specifically to try to entice visitors to the fair to come down to Olympia and spend some money in town. The Olympia Brewing Company and the Schmidt family who owned it had a foundation to fund philanthropic projects for their hometown. Learning of the impending Seattle fair in 1961, the foundation’s board saw an opportunity in the traffic flowing to the fair on the new freeway. The I-5 freeway runs adjacent to the brewery and the river. Brewery tours were very popular at the time, but there was no nearby park area where families could relax before or afterward. In its early years, about 400,000 people visited each year, which is now down to about 250,000. It’s a relatively quiet green space in the middle of the city, with a playground, picnic tables, and paths along and across the river. The park is still owned by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation and was constructed and continues to operate with no public money. The paths take you past waterfalls and give a view of a canyon below. You can watch migrating salmon in season, including viewing them right under your feet through a grated path!

Tumwater Falls Park, Deschutes River, Olympia, Washington
Tumwater Falls Park, Deschutes River, Olympia, Washington, 2018

Continuing west after Olympia, I find that US-410 would have joined us in 1962. That number is gone today, replaced by a handful of various state and US numbers. We would have followed US-410 all the way to Aberdeen, Washington, but now follow a state highway for a while until we reach US-12. As I noted in , highway US-12 currently runs from Detroit, Michigan to Aberdeen, Washington, 2,491 miles. In 1962, the west end was way back at Lewiston, Idaho. Where we reach the end of US-12, Roadtrip-'62 ™ has to leave the US-numbered highways and travel WA-9c out to Ocean Shores, Washington. It’s there that we find the last piece from the Seattle World’s Fair, the wreck of the S.S. Catala. The Catala was a 229-foot ship built in Scotland in 1925, which saw passenger service until 1958 in British Columbia, Canada. In 1961 the Catala was purchased and towed to Seattle, where it was refurbished as a floating hotel for the World’s Fair. It had with 52 staterooms, a restaurant and lounge. Two other ships, the Dominion Monarch and the Acapulco were also outfitted to serve as floating hotels, but the Catala was the only one to make a profit and stay for the entire run of the fair.

S.S. Catala floating hotel boat, beached in Ocean Shores, Washington postcard
S.S. Catala floating hotel boat, beached in Ocean Shores, Washington (Portion of postcard from online auction.)

After the fair, it was towed out to sea again and down to Ocean Shores, where it operated as charter fishing base, hotel, and restaurant for two more years. Its career was ended during a storm on January 1, 1965, which grounded the Catala and set it on its side. Numerous attempts to re-float the ship failed, causing it to become known locally as the "Tilting Ship". It eventually became too dangerous to climb around, so in 1980 the stacks and cabin decks were cut off at the sand line and the remainder of the ship was buried in the sand. However, in 2006 another severe storm uncovered it! This time it was completely excavated and cut up because of concern that oil from onboard tanks would begin leaking. The nearby Coastal Interpretive Center has displays of the S.S. Catala and several other local shipwreck stories. The Coastal Interpretive Center began operation in 1977 in a building that had originally been a land sales office for Ocean Shores in 1962. Artifacts from the Catala include the original galley doors, samples of china dishes, Captain’s deck logs, numerous photos, and even a piece of the hull.

That’s all from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. But if you haven’t seen enough, go see the fair yourself in the video below!


“Century 21 Calling – 1962”


World News of August, 1962

August just finished, so it’s a good time for Roadtrip-'62 ™ to look back on what happened in August…of 1962. Unfortunately, the headlines of the time remind me of the headlines of today! We have sex scandals among the Catholic clergy, revolutions and other changes of national governments around the world, and Presidential press conferences. There are also major infrastructure projects around the world, and some surprises. Because it’s 1962, there is also space news. So sit back and we’ll show some stories you might have seen on the TV news.

First up is some bad news from the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, New York. Father Thomas Rogers was alleged to have attempted sexual assault against a high school boy, and the claim was found to be supported by evidence and witnesses. Because the accused was a priest, police did not follow their usual procedures and Father Rogers was allowed to leave town the day that he was interviewed by the police. In a pattern we recognize today, Bishop William Connare perceived a need to "…proceed cautiously to protect his [Roger's] reputation…" and no further action was taken by the church. A review by another Bishop found that the matter had been handled well, and Father Rogers apparently continued to perform as a priest, just at different churches, at least through 1998. In a belated action, a later Bishop ordered Mr. Rogers to stop presenting himself publicly as a priest in 2002. Sounds too much like the kind of cover-up we are reading about in today’s news.

Russian stamp of Vostok 3 and Vostok 4, 1962
Russian stamp commemorating the 1962 flights of Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 (photo from an online auction)

There were two major airline disasters during August of 1962. On August 1st, a Nepal Airlines plane from Kathmandu, Nepal to New Delhi, India crashed. The wreckage was not found until eight days later, confirming that all four crew members and six passengers were killed, including Nepal's ambassador to India. The plane was found on a mountain at about the 11,200 foot elevation. Another crash occurred on August 20th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A Panair do Brasil flight skidded off the runway during takeoff, killing 15 people. The good news there was that 90 people were rescued from the burning airplane.

The manned spaceflight news from August all came from the Soviet Union. The Soviets made history by launching two orbiting capsules, with Vostok 3 launched on August 11th and Vostok 4 the next day. This was the first time that two manned spacecraft were in orbit at the same together. They then manuevered within 4.0 miles of one another and ship-to-ship radio communication was established. This was all the more amazing because it was only the Soviet Union’s fourth manned spaceflight and required a level of coordination that the United States was not know to be capable of yet. As with all Soviet space launches of the period, no announcement was made beforehand. In another first, Vostok 3 provided live video of Soviet Cosmonaut Andriyan Nikolayev in orbit. Both capsules safely landed in Kazakhstan just a couple of days later.

Stamp of Netherlands New Guinea overprinted U.N.T.E.A., 1962
Stamp of Netherlands New Guinea overprinted U.N.T.E.A. for use in 1962 (photo from an online auction)

Rebels, revolutions, and wars continued to make news in August. The capture of the leader of the Darul Islam rebellion in Indonesia led to the end of that effort. Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo would be executed just a month later. Also during 1962, Indonesia undertook successful military actions in Netherlands New Guinea (also known as West Irian), which was the only part of the former Dutch colonies in the area not previously turned over to Indonesian administration. This gave the Indonesians a good position in United Nations sponsored negotiations, and Netherlands finally agreed to hand over the territory later in the year, and a United Nations joint administration was established in the interim. The territory would finally become a province of Indonesia in May 1963.

Elsewhere around the world, Argentina had a confusing year. It began with a coup in March of 1962, a disputed election thereafter, backroom maneuvering and cabinet resignations, and culminated in a minor fight between competing factions of the country’s military in August. Most of the shooting occurred in the capital, Buenos Aires, around August 12th. By mid-September, a group known as the Blue Group appeared to be in control of the government. Also in August, the four former colonies of French India were formally transferred to the Indian government by the French parliament. The four French territories of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahé merged to form the Union Territory of Puducherry. By December, the India army would occupy the Portuguese colonies and they would also be incorporated into India.

Nelson Mandela on cover of his 1962 speeches pamphlet
Nelson Mandela, on cover of his 1962 pamphlet of trial speeches (public domain photo, source unknown)

Here’s some 1962 bits and pieces of news:

  • August 3, 1962: An elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Tusko, was injected with the hallucinogen LSD in an ill-fated experiment on aggressive behavior and rage in male elephants. Tusko collapsed minutes later and died.
  • August 5, 1962: Nelson Mandela begins 27 years of incarceration in South Africa, after being arrested with the apparent help of the United States CIA. He had been involved in steadily escalating opposition to the South African government and was seen to be a danger to stability. His 1962 arrest lead to a trial for inciting workers' strikes and leaving the country without permission, from which he was originally sentenced to only five years. But subsequent government raids and seizure of paperwork at his group’s meeting places documented his participation in sabotage. It was a second trial on four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government that led to his 27-year incarceration.
  • August 13, 1962: Three minutes of silence were intended to mark the first anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall. However, angry crowds began throwing stones across the border at East Berlin police and troops, who responded with water cannon and tear gas grenades into the crowd on the west side of the wall. West Berlin police responded with their own tear gas across the border and after about an hour, the class ended with no serious injuries. However, the next day East German border guard captain, Rudi Arnstadt, was shot by a West German border guard and died.
  • August 22, 1962: French President Charles De Gaulle narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Paris. Gunmen attacked his limousine, shooting out the rear window and two tires and causing De Gaulle to be hit by flying glass. No one was injured and the leader of the gunmen, former French Air Force Lt.Col. Jean Bastien-Thiry, was arrested and executed the next year.
Italian portal to Mount Blanc Tunnel
Italian portal to Mount Blanc Tunnel (Photo by François Trazzi from Wikimeida Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Several big engineering projects were completed around the world in 1962. The boring for the Mont Blanc Tunnel between France and Italy was completed on August 14th. It took about 400,000 blasts to get from one end to the other and when opened for travel in 1965, the tunnel would be the longest in the world at 7.25 miles. The tunnel is a single tube, and has a single lane in each direction for traffic. Elsewhere, bridges were the infrastructure of choice. The General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela was opened to traffic on August 24th. This bridge was designed by the same engineer using the same technology as the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy that collapsed in August 2018. This 1962 bridge is older than the Italian bridge and has had no inspection or maintenance of its structural components for the past two decades. Is it next to collapse? Meanwhile, the second deck of the George Washington Bridge opened in New York City on August 29th. This added six lanes to the bridge, bringing the total to a record-breaking 14 lanes!

President John F. Kennedy press conference, August 29, 1962
President John F. Kennedy speaks during press conference on August 29, 1962 (Public domain photo by Abbie Rowe of the National Park Service.)

To close out this look at the news of August 1962, let’s listen in on President John F. Kennedy’s news conference of August 29th. In addition to domestic subjects, he covers a wide range of worldwide subjects. One of the first subjects the President brought up was that the Soviet Union had proposed, “…a cutoff time for all nuclear weapon tests and that this date should be set as of January 1, 1963.” He noted, “I'm happy to say that the United States Government regards this as a reasonable target date and would like to join with all interested parties in a maximum effort to conclude effective agreements which can enter force on next New Year's Day. To accomplish this purpose the governments involved must accelerate their negotiations looking toward an agreed treaty.” Such a treaty was not reached, but the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) was negotiated and signed by August 5, 1963. The PTBT was first signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States and has eventually been signed and ratified by 123 other countries. The treaty is considered partial, because it did not ban all testing, but it did ban nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, in outer space, under water, or in any other environment if such explosions cause radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State that conducts the test. That’s why we only conduct underground tests today.

Regarding the tensions in Berlin, the President responded to a question about whether the Soviet Union was interested in holding meetings of the four powers occupying Berlin, to discuss the situation. The president responded, “No, I'm not familiar with any proposal by the Soviet Union to discuss. No, I have seen nothing about that. I've seen no recent proposal by the Soviet Union that there should be a four-power conference in Berlin to discuss the future of Berlin. We've had no indication that the Soviet Union has made that proposal.” Considering what was happening in Berlin, that was unfortunate.

Missile site, Los Palacios, Cuba, October 1962
Missile site at Los Palacios, Cuba in October 1962 (Public domain photo from United States Department of Defense.)

President Kennedy also highlighted the need for a robust foreign aid program, as a counterbalance to expenditures by the Soviet Union. For example, he noted, “I was looking at some figures today which showed that the Soviet Union had given in economic and military assistance to one country, Indonesia, over $300 million in the last 12 months. They are giving, as we all know, substantial military and economic assistance to Cuba, as well as many other countries.” He listed many other countries where he thought we should spend money in addition to building our military capabilities, including, “…particularly those in Latin America, which have many economic, serious economic problems, those countries in Africa which are newly emerging, those countries along the Soviet Union border beginning with Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Thailand, and the others, South Viet-Nam, many of them are hard pressed, South Korea, the Republic of China. They depend upon the United States to assist them in maintaining their freedom. It seems to me to be the height of folly to appropriate these large sums of money for military organization, and let these very vital countries pass into the Communist bloc.”


Near the end of the press conference, he answered questions that pointed ominously to the Cuban Missile Crisis that would unfold in October, 1962. A reporter asked about reports that the Communists were sending troops into Cuba, not technicians and noted that Senator Capehart called for a United States invasion of Cuba to stop the flow of troops and supplies. The President commented that, ”We've no evidence of troops. And I must say that I know that this matter is of great concern to Americans and many others. The United States has obligations all around the world, including West Berlin and other areas, which are very sensitive, and, therefore, I think that in considering what appropriate action we should take, we have to consider the totality of our obligations, and also the responsibilities which we bear in so many different parts of the world. In response to your specific question, we do not have information that troops have come into Cuba, number one. I'm not for invading Cuba at this time. I think it would be a mistake to invade Cuba, because I think it would lead to--that it should be very--an action like that, which could be very casually suggested, could lead to very serious consequences for many people.” Fortunately, events played out favorably and Roadtrip-'62 ™ can be back with a new post soon!

General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela
General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge over Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela (photo from unknown source)

What Happened to US-16?

I’ve mentioned many times on Roadtrip-'62 ™ that most US-numbered highways have been shortened over the years since the Interstate freeways were constructed. One of the most severely shortened is US-16, which has lost over 1200 miles over the years. In 1962, it ran about 1700 miles from Detroit, Michigan to Worland, Wyoming, including about 80 miles of ferry service across Lake Michigan. The shortening of US-16 began in late 1962, when Michigan eliminated the route in favor of the I-96 and I-196 interstate route numbers. Today it’s only 489 miles long, even though the west end has been overlapped with US-14 and extended from Worland to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park! Most of the loss is due to I-90 crossing the prairies of South Dakota and Minnesota, but the route also lost its Lake Michigan ferry and the entire road in both Wisconsin and Michigan. I’m going to focus first on some sights we might have seen when US-16 was its full length, some of which are also gone today. Then we’ll progress to some places that are still the same.

Newspaper ad for “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”, a Cinerama movie, 1962
1962 newspaper ad for “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”, a Cinerama movie

Beginning in downtown Detroit, something we could have seen there in 1962 but not today is a movie in Cinerama format. Cinerama was the first of several widescreen movie filming and projection systems introduced during the 1950s, in an effort to get people back into the theatres after they had begun staying home in droves to watch the new phenomenon of television. It originally involved projecting images simultaneously from three synchronized 35mm projectors onto a huge, curved screen. Likewise, it used three synchronized cameras sharing a single shutter to shoot the film. This process was later abandoned in favor of a system using a single camera and 70mm prints. The original system was set up to film at approximately the focal length of the human eye, giving a sort of rough 3D effect. Each camera photographed one third of the picture shooting in a crisscross pattern, the right camera shooting the left part of the image, the left camera shooting the right part of the image and the center camera shooting straight ahead. The biggest problems was with the areas where the images overlapped on the screen, as you could actually see the seam and sometimes, especially for movie-goers on the left and right, the images looked sort of offset where they should meet. The sound system was also like today’s surround sound, with five speakers behind the screen, two on the sides, and one in back of the auditorium. During movie production, a sound engineer moved and mixed sounds by a script and during a showing, the projectors and sound system were synchronized.

Surviving Cinerama Theater, Seattle, Washington, 2018
Surviving Cinerama Theater, Seattle, Washington, 2018

However, Cinerama was somehow more popular and better funded than the other widescreen experiments and lasted the longest. Of course, because of the wider, specialized screen, multiple projectors, and the sound system consisting of eight speakers, theatres had to spend some big money up front just to show Cinerama. Consequently, this meant that there were few theaters that could show the films, and they were mostly in major metropolitan areas. One of these was Detroit, which was the second place to show the first Cinerama production, “This Is Cinerama”, in 1953. The Detroit market played every Cinerama movie that was released in the domestic market and was the only place in the United States to do so. The last offering in the original run was the Cinerama re-issue of “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1977. In 2015, The Music Hall brought three Cinerama movies back for a special five-hour marathon event! There were two Cinerama movies screened in Detroit in 1962, “Holiday in Spain” and “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”. “Holiday in Spain” was a re-edited version of “Scent of Mystery” which had originally been filmed in Todd-70, another widescreen format. The Brothers Grimm movie was a brand new production. I never saw a film in Cinerama format when I was a kid, but I did see a film shot in one of the competing widescreen formats, Cinemiracle, and converted to show in Cinerama. My dad took the whole family down to the Detroit Music Hall to see “Windjammer” during its run in 1960. The Detroit Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is still open in Detroit, with a full season each year of a variety of music ranging from Snoop Dogg to ballet, jazz, and current Broadway musical touring companies.

Grand Trunk car ferry Grand Rapids
Grand Trunk car ferry ‘Grand Rapids’ out of service, October 1980. (Public domain photo by Brian Westhouse, from Wikimedia Commons.)

We crossed US-16 at Brighton, Michigan on our US-23 journey. This trip, we’ll cross US-23 at that same spot as we drive the old route on Grand River Avenue to the west side of the state. The relaxing ferry ride across Lake Michigan, from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is another loss from 1962. Two routes, US-10 and US-16, used to cross Lake Michigan on ferries, back when railroad companies operated such ferries. While US-16 now ends hundreds of miles from the lake, US-10 still has this discontinuity, and you can still have your car ferried across the lake up at Ludington. The Grand Trunk Western was the last of the three railroads to start Lake Michigan ferry operations, beginning in 1903 from Grand Haven, Michigan to Milwaukee. In 1905 they moved to Muskegon and had two ships still operating the US-16 route in 1978, when the route was discontinued. The Grand Rapids was built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1926 and was apparently scrapped when the line closed. The City of Milwaukee was built in 1931 and used as a Landing Ship Tank during World War II. It began Grand Trunk Western ferry service in 1946 and when its ferry service ended it was chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad for use on its Frankfort, Michigan to Kewaunee, Wisconsin run for a few years. Though you can’t ride it across the lake anymore, if you go up to Manistee, Michigan you can see the City of Milwaukee restored to its original 1931 outfitting as a museum ship. It’s open to the public for guided tours, special events and even private party rentals. Today you can take a much faster ferry between Muskegon and Milwaukee: Lake Express has operated a specially constructed high speed auto passenger ferry on a 2½ hour run since 2004.

even numbered US-routes crossing Wisconsin, showing US-16
Tangle of even numbered US-routes crossing Wisconsin, showing US-16 crossing several others. (Custom map by Milne Enterprises, Inc.)

So now that we’re in Wisconsin, what’s hiding that used to be on US-16? As I already looked at The Wisconsin Dells, I’ll look elsewhere today. Come to think of it, I’ll stop at the home of something that straddles the line between was and is, the home of Old Style beer in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Old Style IS because you can still buy the beer and it’s still brewed in its original brewery. But it WAS because the company that originally brewed it is out of business…it’s a long story. Beginning life as The City Brewery in 1858, the name was changed to G. Heileman Brewing Company in 1872, when Heileman’s partner left the business. It remained a small local brewery until Mr. Heileman died, after which his wife Johanna and other family began to expand. By the time Prohibition began in 1920, they were distributing to 34 states. During this expansion period, they first brewed Old Style and it was the main product they marketed. Of course, during Prohibition they could not brew or sell regular beer, so they muddled through with a low alcohol brew named New Style. Heileman also began producing soft drinks and malt tonics with little success. They finally hit a successful product with Malt Syrup, which sold well to consumers using it in private beer-making.

Old Style Beer sign at Podhale Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
Old Style Beer sign at Podhale Tavern, Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Cragin Spring at Flickr, used by permission.)

Following the end of Prohibition, the Heileman family members sold their shares of the company and new management jump-started growth again with new brands, new markets, and buyout of other brewers. This growth brought Heileman to 4th place among American brewers by 1971 and you could buy an Old Style nearly anywhere in the country. Many other brands we could have bought in 1962 were folded into Heileman’s holdings, including Black Label, Blatz, Drewry's, Falls City, Grain Belt, National Bohemian, Olympia, Rainier, and Wiedemann. As many companies did during the 1970s, the company also expanded into unrelated business lines such as baking, snack foods, and mineral water. Only the mineral water business worked out well, producing the La Croix brand in 1981. But in 1992, perhaps because it did not fit with their beer marketing experience, they sold the brand to National Beverage. Despite being in the top five, Heileman's sales were almost unchanged throughout the 1980s, due at least in part to brutal marketing strategies in the brewing industry and the overall decrease in the sale of beer throughout the 1980s. Finally, the buyout binge came from the other direction as the owners of the Toohey brewery in Australia bought out Heileman hoping to create a worldwide brewing company. It was financed with junk bonds, a common buyout currency of the day, and the entire financing scheme collapsed in 1991, leaving Heileman in bankruptcy. It was quickly sold in 1994 and again in 1996 to the Stroh Brewery Company. When Stroh was split up as part of a merger deal between Pabst Brewing and Miller Brewing, the famous Old Style brand ended up with Pabst. They stopped brewing it in La Crosse, preferring to brew it under contracts in other locations. The brewery buildings were sold in 1999 to investors who founded the new City Brewing Company, named after the original company. Today, under license from Pabst, Old Style is once again brewed in La Crosse at its original site!


Green Giant television commercial, ca. 1963


After crossing the Mississippi River, the farm fields of the Great Plains stretch out ahead of us for hundreds of miles across Minnesota and South Dakota to the Missouri River. About midway across Minnesota we cross the Blue Earth River at the town of Blue Earth. Downriver, where it flows into the Minnesota River, is the town of Le Sueur. You probably do not recognize either of those names but would certainly recognize the place if I told you we were in the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant! Though you might have figured that out for yourself when you saw the 55 foot tall fiberglass statue of the Jolly Green Giant beside the I-90 freeway, which was erected in an opening ceremony for the freeway. The Green Giant brand dates back to 1925, when the Minnesota Valley Canning Company, also canning the Le Sueur brand, developed seeds for a tender and larger pea they canned as Green Giant. They later applied the name to a full line of canned vegetables and in 1950 renamed the company Green Giant. The familiar figure in a leafy suit named The Jolly Green Giant was created in 1935, replacing the original figure that looked more like a stereotypical caveman in a fur. The advertising jingle “Good Things from the Garden” and “Ho Ho Ho” were first developed in 1961, just in time for us to see as television advertising took off. Green Giant has gone through the same pattern of corporate buyouts and divestitures that most older brands have. Pillsbury acquired the company in 1979 and General Mills bought Pillsbury in 2001. In 2015, General Mills sold the brand to B&G Foods but retained a license to operate the Green Giant business in Europe. B & G still owns the brand, along with more than 50 familiar brands including others we have eaten in 1962 such as Underwood Deviled Meats, Durkee spices, Brer Rabbit molasses, B&M Baked Beans, and Cream of Wheat. Most of their corn is still packed out of Minnesota, as they also have a unique sweet corn hybrid seed.

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota (2000 design)
Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota (2000 design)

But as a way to celebrate the farm bounty of the Great Plains, even the Jolly Green Giant shrinks compared to the Corn Palace of Mitchell, South Dakota. What is a Corn Palace, you may ask? The World’s Only Corn Palace is Mitchell’s top tourist attraction, grabbing about 500,000 tourists each year off the freeway to see uniquely designed murals on the building’s exterior, made from corn and other grains. Back in the 1890s, several cities in South Dakota and Iowa constructed buildings to showcase their agricultural bounty: a Corn Palace in Sioux City, Iowa, a Corn Palace in Gregory, South Dakota, a Grain Palace in Plankinton, South Dakota, and a Bluegrass Palace in Creston, Iowa. Of these and perhaps others, only Mitchell’s remains, having been reconstructed twice, larger and more permanently. The current building is of reinforced concrete, constructed in 1921. In the 1930’s, the minarets and onion domes of Moorish design were added, restoring the appearance of the original Corn Palace. Today, it functions as a gathering place for special events such as industrial exhibits, stage shows, meetings, banquets, proms, and the home court of the local high school and college basketball teams. It also continues in its original function as home of the annual Corn Palace Festival held in late August each year.

Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota postcard (1962 design)
Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota (1962 design, postcard from online auction)

The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to create the murals, which are new designs each year. We won’t see the same murals that we would have in 1962. The 1962 panels’ theme was “Yesterday and Today”, designed by Oscar Howe. Mr. Howe had been an artist-in-residence at the local Dakota Wesleyan University in 1948 and graduated in 1952. He designed the murals from 1948 to 1971. Howe, who was a Yanktonai Sioux born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, became Artist Laureate of South Dakota. The corn is nailed to the building one ear at a time to create a scene, with the old murals stripped at the end of August and new ones completed by the first of October. Only once, in 2006, was the annual redecoration skipped, when a drought severely limited the local corn crop. Dakota Wesleyan University’s digital media and design department have finalized the creation the 2019 murals: previews on the Corn Palace website show an Armed Forces theme for 2019.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial postcard, 1962
Mount Rushmore National Memorial postcard from 1962 (from online auction)

Though US-16 travels through Badlands National Park, US-14 meets it just a few miles north, so I discussed the Badlands on my US-14 trip. I also discussed the city where they meet, Wall, South Dakota. Today, we’ll drive directly to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with the idea of carving the images of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota as a way to promote tourism in 1923. The next year, he persuaded sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who had been involved in the Confederate Memorial at Stone Mountain, Georgia, to inspect the area to ensure a carving could be accomplished. After considering various locations and subjects, it was decided to place four presidents on Mount Rushmore. Fundraising began, including a contribution from Congress, permission was obtained from both Congress and the State of South Dakota, and between 1927 and 1941 Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers carved the memorial. I enjoy the drive along US-16 ALT to the mountain for the scenery, which includes views of the Presidents from various angles and through a tunnel on the highway. You might also spy buffalo or mountain goats from the road. Besides viewing from the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, the Presidential Trail gets you closer to the sculpture and offers many different views. You can also visit Gutzon Borglum's Sculptor’s Studio, walk the Grand View Terrace with flags from all 56 United States and territories, and stop at the information center.

Nailhead Spar in Jewell Cave National Monument, South Dakota
Nailhead Spar in Jewell Cave National Monument, South Dakota (Public domain photo from National Park Service.)

Also in South Dakota is Jewel Cave National Monument, which became a national monument in 1908. The park contains Jewel Cave, the third-longest cave in the world, with over 195 miles of mapped and surveyed passages. It was found as just a small hole in the rock, with cold air blasting out, about 1900. The brothers Frank and Albert Michaud enlarged the hole with dynamite, began exploring, and filed a mining claim that year. They discovered passageways and rooms covered with nailhead spar crystals that sparkled like "jewels" in their lantern light, giving the cave its name. The Michauds tried to develop the area into a tourist attraction, but the low population of the region and the difficulty of travel at that time made for failure. When the area became part of the national monument a few years later, the Michauds sold their mining claim back to the government. The Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp at Jewel Cave in May 1935, building a cabin, restrooms, sewage and water connections, and campground. The cave entrance was improved along with a surface trail and stone stairway. A National Park Service Ranger was stationed here and began conducting cave tours and providing visitor services in 1939. By 1959, only two miles of Jewel Cave had been discovered, so we would have had a very limited tour in 1962. But Dwight Deal, a geologist, and two assistants explored enough that by 1961 over 15 miles were known. This included today’s "Scenic Area", which was actually outside the park boundaries! A land swap with the U.S. Forest Service was accomplished in 1965 and the National Park Service constructed the present scenic area cave trail, the elevator shafts, the visitor center, and parking lot. This all opened for the new Scenic Cave Tour route in 1972. Besides the cave, there are also several surface trails that provide views of the forest atop the caves, limestone cliffs, and canyons.

Cutthroat Trout
Cutthroat Trout, Wyoming’s only native trout species (Public domain photo from US Forest Service.)

Continuing west, in 1962 US-16 would have ended west of the bottom of Ten Sleep Canyon, at Worland, Wyoming. The canyon is another steep canyon with great views, like its cousin to the north on US-14, Shell Canyon. Over the past two decades, the canyon has become one of America’s top summer rock climbing destinations. Near the top of the canyon is Ten Sleep Fish Hatchery, which facilitates the hatching and rearing of several species of trout including rainbow, brook, cutthroat, splake, and tiger trout. You can catch some of the fish released here further down the creek if you buy a license in the nearby town of Ten Sleep. Maybe it’s appropriate that US-14 and US-16 have been dual-signed across much of Wyoming, as both routes began life as parts of the Chicago, Black Hills, and Yellowstone Highway, or B and Y Trail. In the days before route numbers, the B and Y Trail split in the eastern part of Wyoming, with one part following today’s US-14 ALT and the other part following US-16 to reunite in Cody, Wyoming on their way to Yellowstone National Park. That’s just what they do once again after many years where US-16 ended in Worland. We already visited that end of US-16 when I discussed US-14, so it’s the end of another trip for Roadtrip-'62 ™. See you next time!


10 Retro Blogs for Your Reading Pleasure

Since everything here at Roadtrip-'62 ™ is about the year 1962 in some way, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this, you like old stuff. And since I write everything here, it’s a given that I like old stuff too. Call it what you will: retro, vintage, mid-century modern, antique, nostalgic, or just plain old, there are plenty of other people writing on the internet that like this stuff too. I’ve listed some of my favorite blogs on retro topics below, for your reading pleasure. Some of these I have used for research for my articles, and some are just fun. Enjoy!

Post Crispy Critters cereal box, 1962
Post Crispy Critters cereal box from 1962, the year it was introduced.

The House of Retro covers mostly style and design, from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, as far as I can tell. Of course, that means plenty of information and art from 1962, easily found with a search of the site. You can find great still photos from the Jame Bond movie “Dr. No”, a fun set of Barbie queen of the prom cards, movie posters, comic books, advertising, fashion shoots, more movie stills, magazine art, and more. The posts are mostly dated, so you can find fun stuff even if it’s not from 1962. The host, known only as Retrobuddy, seldom comments, but the artwork speaks for itself.

Neatocoolville seems to be a random collection of whatever cool vintage stuff that interests Todd Franklin, the self-proclaimed Mayor of Neatocoolville. Besides books, ads, tv shows, he also showcases more obscure items from pop culture like greeting cards, toys, Halloween masks, cereal, and even PAAS Easter egg coloring kits. His found photo collection is an interesting look beyond pop culture into people’s living rooms and backyards over the years. Plus, he links out to dozens of other neat websites on nostalgic subjects, movies, and even the Weird Al Yankovic The Official Website! Again, a search of the site easily finds posts that reference 1962.

Rivers Edge Motel, North Ft. Myers, Florida, ca. 1962
Rivers Edge Motel, North Ft. Myers, Florida, ca. 1962 (Postcard from The Cardboard America Motel Archive, used by permission.)

The Cardboard America Motel Archive the best collection of motel postcards I’ve seen on the internet. As a bonus, it includes motel matchbook covers. Of course, they span more than the period around 1962, but most of the older motels were still around then, so they’re of interest too. The last time I checked, he had 56 postcards specifically dated to our favorite year. The Cardboard America Motel Archive is one of several sites run by Jordan Smith, all of which focus on retro subjects. He stopped new postings in 2017, but the archive includes over 2400 postcards and matchbooks! He has kindly allowed me to use photos from his extensive postcard collection on Roadtrip-'62 ™ many times, so please visit. Maybe you’ll find some motels you have stayed in!

Vintascope bills itself as, “The museum of advertising and commercial art.” If you enjoy old advertising, you’re sure to find things you remember, and things you never heard of. Host John Williamson stocks plenty of magazine ads for foods, ranging from Eskimo Pies, to Kellogg’s cereals, to coffee. Also featured are soda pop, beer, and of course, cigarettes…lots of cigarette ads! There are also ads for movies, cars, insurance, and even the National Rifle Association. These ads range from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, with probably a few other years from time to time. As with other sites, a search finds many ads from 1962; 37 to be exact.

1962 Life Savers magazine ad
1962 Life Savers magazine ad

As you might expect from the name, Collecting Candy is all about candy. Host Jason Liebig cover all the facets of candy, from its packaging, history, and marketing to the people behind it all. Besides new candy introductions, he covers a lot of candy from the 1980s-1990s and of course reaches back to antique candy from our favorite year. He also covers forgotten candies of old, such as Marsettes by the Mars company, a kind of knockoff of Rolos introduced in 1958 and gone by the mid-1960s. They were around just long enough for us to try them in 1962! As always, you can find information about that year via a site search.

I really need to add a search feature to Roadtrip-'62 ™ so you folks can find things more easily: it works so well on these other sites. For now, I can give you a link to my How Sweet it Was! page and a tip on how to use Yahoo Search to find articles on any subject on Roadtrip-'62 ™.

  1. Go to Yahoo Advanced Search.
  2. Enter your search term in an appropriate box at the top.
  3. Enter “” into box labeled “only search in this domain/site:” and check the button next to that.
  4. Hit the button at the top of the page labeled “Yahoo Search”.
  5. Pick a link and enjoy a page of Roadtrip-'62 ™!

The Belated Nerd is another typically eclectic collection of any retro information that interests its anonymous owner. Science Fiction, comic books, TV, and movies are among his most frequent postings, and most are from the period 1958-1964. He even pops a few YouTube music videos into his mix. Of course, a site search finds everything from 1962. Sadly, the blog has not been updated lately.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Missouri
Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Missouri, ca. 1960 (Public domain photo from Missouri State Archives.)

History by Zim is a more serious look at history than the other blogs I have mentioned. In it, historian Jess Zimmerman creates posts based upon cited sources. While he writes some longer articles, he more often posts public domain photos with captions of historical events. He tends to focus on the people who were there, with an even mix of well-known events and the personal history of people we’ve never heard of. While he covers the entire range of recorded United States history, a search of the site also reveals all kinds of great 1962 articles.

Ever wonder what happened to the old department store in your hometown? You might find it at The Department Store Museum. The museum holds all sorts of information about classic, local department stores which either no longer exist, or are changed beyond recognition. Things you might find include logos, floor directories, advertising, bags, and of course the histories of their expansion to suburbia and eventual demise. The author, billed only as BAK, also offers links to many books about department stores, including Jacobsons, Yonkers, Thalhimer’s, Gimbels, Goldwater’s, and many more. I’ve used this blog for information about department stores along our US-23 and US-6 roadtrips, including the Lion Store in Toledo, Ohio. Stop by and shop!

1962 Shasta Airflyte “canned ham” style trailer
1962 Shasta Airflyte “canned ham” style trailer (photo from online auction)

To find lots of great photos of vintage travel trailers, check out They have trailers from all eras and I assure you there are many 1962 models present, from Airstreams and Shastas to Holiday Houses and Alohas. They have photos along with many other resources for lovers of these mid-century wonders, including rallies, ads, technical tips, repair parts sources, and a discussion forum. I just enjoy the pictures and stories. But they can inspire you, help you buy a trailer, repair it, and find a caravan of like-minded travelers for your roadtrip!

And speaking of vehicles, if you like old cars, check out the unusual blog at Old Parked Cars. The Piff brothers hunt for old vehicles and photograph them parked in many normal use situations, such as in a driveway or store parking lot. Other photographers contribute photos too, so you can find almost anything parked here. Of course, you can find loads of your favorites from 1962 by doing a search on that year. Or, enjoy their random postings.

Cover of Justice League of America comic, August 1962
Cover of Justice League of America comic, August 1962. (Photo from Grand Comics Database. )

Enjoy a vintage comic today and I’ll see you soon on Roadtrip-'62 ™!)


All photos by the author and Copyright © 2018 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2018 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.

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What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on February 22, 1962 for Adrian, MI, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
  • High = 38°F
  • Precipitation = no data
  • Mean Wind Speed = 13mph

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Please visit these sponsors, some of whom were open to serve you in 1962, and others selling great products from that year.

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Here's your chance to buy some actual stuff from 1962! Have Fun!

Please visit these sponsors, some of whom were open to serve you in 1962, and others selling great products from that year.

Click to buy the Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone pull-toy, first introduced in 1962.

Your Ad Here Oster Coleman

Smokey Bear is the longest running public service ad campaign in Ad Council history, running since 1944. At the beginning, Walt Disney loaned Bambi for use on a poster for one year, but that image proved so popular that it is still being used. The original message was slightly different, as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." I hope you enjoy this ad, similar to what you might have seen in 1962, and heed Smokey's message.

Smokey Bear Ad