Seattle’s Space Needle is by far one of if not the most iconic buildings in the city. Its unique shape has drawn over a million people each year from across the world to visit it each year. But how exactly did it come to be? Well, that’s a fun story.

In 1959, Edward E. Carlson, a chief organizer of the 1962 World’s Fair, was visiting Stuttgart Germany where he was enthralled by a broadcast tower. His interest in the building led him to doodle “an idea of a dominant central structure for the fair on a napkin in a hotel café”. He believed that such a tower could make a permanent centerpiece for the fair and an enduring symbol for Seattle.

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space needle
Photo via Shutterstock & The Space Needle

Carlson was right, since the 1962 World’s Fair the Space Needle has been the focal point of our city. But before it came to have its iconic design, a lot changed between the napkin to its fruition. The needle had designs making it look like “a landed UFO, a tethered balloon, and even a cocktail shaker with a tram ferrying visitors to the top.”

Now if you’re wondering at the time of its construction in the 1960’s the needle cost about $4.5 million to make and in its time since then has undergone millions more in renovations. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed for many more years of our favorite building. And just remember, your greatest creation could be done on a napkin.