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Hi isaacada1.Welcome to P.T.U.Those are some great sights thanks for posting.I can identify with the 98 peercent of people living in Seattle who was not familiar with this exposition.Looks like it was something special-Jerry

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One of my favorites, but I agree- among the least known.

I think I had previously mined all those websites. The one at the University of Washington website is one of the best resources.

I have fairgrounds maps (all on the present-day UofW campus), lots and lots of photos (mostly pavilion exteriors, but a few interiors too), and a couple of contacts who can tell us just about anything we can think of to ask.

I found some previously undiscovered postcards last year that even these contacts had never heard of, but after close examination and eventually finding a logo match, they tracked them down to a drug store in the Seattle area that had a resident photographer and published their photos for sale. It was previously unknown that this photographer had sold postcards of the AYP too.

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Here's the groundbreaking ceremony for the Exposition:

aype-groundbreaking.jpg

and the United States Government building:

aype-us.jpg

It looks like the exposition was quite a sight indeed.

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Here is one of the more popular rides in their amusement area, which they called the "Pay Streak".

Fairy Gorge is on the far right, and was part of the Scenic Railway ride.

I wonder what a dime in 1909 equates to today, given inflation?

I just checked: according to the Consumer Price Index, ten cents in 1909 equated to $2.04 in 2003.

X_97_Fairy_Gorge_and_Tickler_Pay_Streak.jpg

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Thank you very much for posting those 1909 sites. I really enjoy learning about the early 20th Century expositions and this one was very interesting and not as well known as others. I will enjoy viewing those sites. Many thanks.

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Everyone, you're most welcome! I'm happy to read that so many people have enjoyed reading up about my hometown's big event 99years ago. I'm really excited to see how the anniversary celebration next year will turn out. If anyone finds any more information about the 1909 event, please post it.

Expo Medals

Cheers

Isaac Alexander

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Hello all,

I stumbled across this website recently and when I saw the postings here about the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, I thought I ought to pop in and say hello.

I'm a former newspaper reporter living in Spokane who has long been interested in Seattle's first world's fair. Back in 1984, as a student at the University of Washington, I edited a special issue on the fair's 75th anniversary. At that point I stumbled across the photos in the UW library, many of which have since been posted online, and by talking with postcard enthusiasts at the time, I got an idea of the incredible number of surviving visual images of the fair.

For the last few years, in my spare time, I've been working on a project of my own regarding the fair, not really connected with the official city of Seattle celebrations or any of the current websites associated with the fair (though many of the websites mentioned here are operated by friends of mine -- and I'll be one of the volunteers helping with the Seattle Museum of History and Industry events next year). I hope to go online with my own project sometime early next year.

Back in 1984, as I studied those old photos, it struck me that they could be organized in such a way that if you could view them in sequence, you could create the illusion of a stroll across the fairgrounds. You could even have a degree of free will -- at any given point you could turn right or left, and someone would have taken a photo from exactly that spot. If there was just some way to assemble these images, you could recreate the "lost city" of the fair. You could even enter the buildings and look at the exhibits. What I'm talking about here is a concept that these days we'd call a "virtual tour." But back in 1984, there was no way to do such a thing -- we didn't even have a word for it -- and so I had to put the idea aside.

A few years later the computer game "Myst" came out -- some of you might remember it. The original version of the game linked together a collection of 2D images, and created a similar kind of illusion -- in this case, the exploration of an island. At the time I remembered thinking how much it was like that old idea I'd had about the Seattle world's fair.

Well, a few years ago I rediscovered the photos that the UW library had posted online -- about 700 of the fair's "official" photographs -- and it struck me that this old idea of mine might be practical today. Working with other collectors of AYP memorabilia, I've located and scanned about 4,000 images, and I have several hundred more I haven't gotten around to scanning. I've found most -- but not all -- of the camera angles necessary to make something like this work.

I'll admit that I've been diverted for some time with another element of the project -- I've been transcribing the Times and P-I coverage of the fair, from 1905 to 1909, magazine stories, the internal notes and memos of the fair organizers, so on and so forth. Using a computer dictation system, I've done about 2,500 articles so far (though I will admit the number remaining is a bit daunting). When you read the "written record" in sequence, you find a pretty dramatic story about the Pacific Northwest's first really modern public relations and lobbying campaign, about wild exhibits, spectacular architecture and the excitement people felt at the time about a new country on the verge of greatness. Their view of the world was interesting as well -- through an accident of marketing, the fair became the first major expression of the concept of the Pacific Rim. I was a history major in college, and I used to cover the state capitol here in Washington -- so naturally I find this kind of story fascinating. (If only I'd gotten any nibbles on that book proposal I circulated a few years ago!)

I'm intrigued by some of the postings I see here indicating that there might be some additional photos that are not generally known. Until the recent hoopla surrounding the fair, there were about 10 avid AYP collectors interested in the subject, and between us I think we've located just about all the surviving postcards (not to mention many snapshots). But there always is the possibility of new finds. About once a month I see something on eBay I'd never seen before -- so it's possible!

The rule of thumb is this: If the card was lithographed in color, there probably are a jillion copies. (There also was one widely-circulated series printed in black-and-white -- the "Robert Reid" series.) Business-advertising cards are a little rarer. The real treasures are the "real photo" cards, actual photographs printed on photo paper, with postcard markings on the back. There are still a number of real-photo cards we haven't found -- we know of their existence because many photographers numbered their cards, and we simply haven't found the correct-numbered card yet. Many other real-photo photographers didn't number their cards, and so we have absolutely no idea how many of them there are. And of course, every snapshot can be unique.

One collector is in the process of posting an online catalog of these postcard images, at www.aype.net.

At any rate, there are a number of us who are very interested in the photography of the fair, either personally or in an official/institutional way, and I'd like to offer my email address here as a resource. I think all of us would love to see scans of new material regarding the fair, and would be delighted to share and provide knowledge, assistance or expertise.

My address is:

er ikps mith@msn.com

(Join together the "erikpsmith" as one word -- I've written it as I did above to avoid unwanted email from spambots.)

Thanks,

Erik Smith

Spokane, Wash.

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By the way, I thought I'd post a couple of favorite shots of the fair -- just so that everyone gets an idea of what I'm talking about here. Hope this works...

Erik Smith

Spokane, Wash.

post-4165-1226813869_thumb.jpg

post-4165-1226813914_thumb.jpg

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Welcome to PTU, Erik-- and thanks for posting those great images of the AYPE. Especially love that Captive Balloon photo. What a view that must've been!

Sounds like you were way ahead of your time back in '84 with that idea of weaving photos together for a seamless virtual tour. That's exactly what Microsoft's Photostitching software is all about. We featured the same technique and software in a recent episode of CSI:NY-- collecting all the cellphone pix taken by various students at a graduation party, then digitally stitching them together for a complete 3D view of a crime scene.

I swear as soon as I can independently fund the same treatment of the 39-40 New York World's Fair, I will. My dream is that one day people can visit PTU for a virtual tour of every World's Fair and Expo since London 1851.

Look forward to learning more about the AYPE!

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Hi, Erik. Welcome to the group. I hope you can share some more info with all of us.

Here's a shot of the captive balloon - I bet the views were breath taking!

aype-balloon.jpg

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(If only I'd gotten any nibbles on that book proposal I circulated a few years ago!)

Now that Bill is back with us, he can give you advice in that area, if you're still interested in pursuing it. He has a tie-in with a publisher (Arcadia) who seems very interested in books on World's Fairs. I'd love to see one on the AYPE.

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Thanks for the words of encouragement, folks! I suspect, though, that by the time I get done with my current project, we're looking at the middle of next year. And really, to capitalize on the hoopla surrounding the AYP, everything has to be keyed to the June 1, 1909 anniversary of the fair. On the other hand, there may be a good deal of residual interest after all the celebrating is over. So who knows? There still might be some commercial potential for a book.

I guess I'll be laying the groundwork soon -- I just got word that my proposal for a paper on the AYP publicity/public relations/political campaign has been accepted by the Pacific Northwest Guild of Historians. Which means I'm facing a March 7 deadline to write a lengthy piece about the buildup toward the fair.

In case you "worlds-fair" folks don't know, there's a good deal of planning right now regarding Seattle's centennial celebration. At the very least we can say it will put Portland to shame, which in my opinion didn't do much to mark the centennial of its 1905 world's fair. (And that's kind of what the 1909 fair was all about -- demonstrating that Seattle could put on a better show than Portland.)

The city of Seattle has appropriated $300,000 for the centennial celebration, and there are a wide range of community activities contemplated. One of them is a re-creation of the New-York-to-Seattle road race -- a wonderful story in itself. You had all these big, heavy, fancy cars -- and the race was won by the lowly Model T.

Another I find fascinating is a recreation of a Santa Rosa, Ca.-to-Seattle bicycle trip taken by a pair of teenage boys in 1909 -- there was a delightful book about that a few years ago, titled "Two Wheels North."

There's actually a long list of people who obtained grants for this and that -- a project for NPR, an effort to record all the A.-Y.-P.-related sheet music, etc. I guess I wish I'd been a little quicker on the uptake and gotten in line myself -- I like to think that if I'm able to make my project work, it'll be one of the more interesting and lasting things to emerge from this flurry of interest in the fair.

As for books -- well, that's the funny thing. To this day, there really hasn't been a comprehensive effort to tell the story of the fair. The photo curator of the University of Washington library is readying a book about the stunning work of the fair's official photographer, Frank Nowell, and there's a web-based organization in Seattle -- "HistoryLink" -- that is producing a book that chronicles the fair day-by-day. But neither of these really are the same thing as a "history," in my opinion.

You know, by the time I get done with what I'm doing here, I think I'll be ready to write it.

Anyway, I thought I'd respond here to a couple of the specific things you folks have mentioned here. I really don't think the photo-stitching approach will work with closely-related historical photos -- in most cases, they just aren't related closely enough. The guy who shot a photo looking west from, say, a flagpole, might have been standing 50 feet away from the guy who shot a photo looking south from the same location. And they might have done it on different days, and in the meantime somebody moved a potted palm into the frame. And they no doubt were using different lenses with substantially different fields of vision, one guy was shooting into the sun and everything was in silhouette, another guy forgot to focus, etc., etc., etc.

My thought is that instead of stitching photos, it makes more sense to keep things simple, and just allow users to click directionally, right, left, or forward. One thing the original version of the game "Myst" showed me -- your mind sort of fills in the gaps between pictures, it sorts out the spatial relationships, and you still get a 3D experience. A fascinating thing -- I've found that there are number of photos taken from various staircases at the fair that provided good vantage points for photographers. So if you look at the photos in sequence, it looks like you're descending a staircase.

One other observation -- I notice that most of the activity on this forum relates to the two New York fairs, which stands to reason -- the '64-'65 fair was probably the best promoted of any U.S. fair, and the '39-'40 fair was probably the most interesting. It's often struck me that if there is any commercial potential for an idea like this one, it's in the '39-'40 fair. The problem is one of copyrights -- I know that I'm safe in working with materials before 1923, because it's all public domain -- but photos from '39 are a bit more problematic, and sad to say, materials from 1964 are about as unsafe as they can get.

I find myself thinking that it would fun to do the same sort of thing with the 1974 Spokane world's fair -- I grew up in Spokane; I was 12 years old at the time, and I practically lived the entire summer on the fairgrounds -- which probably explains why I think world's fairs are so fascinating. But copyright rules are a killer.

BTW, the shot of the captive balloon on the ground is a new one to me... many thanks! I have many more showing the balloon in the air... but alas, this system won't let me upload in TIF format...

Erik Smith

Spokane, Wash.

UWNX1597_Court_of_Honor_and_Cascades.bmp

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An another interesting link about the 1909 expo on the Washington University website, digital collections.

More of 1800 photos :

LIB WASHINGTON

These photos are not too big... but there's some big blueprints anyway dry.gif

(fishery building - main government building - manufactures building - forestry exposition - Mines building - Washington state building )

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I have hundreds of photos of the 1909 AYPE, should you decide to model anything. Of course not as many interiors, compared to exteriors.

Thanks Randy... for the moment, no project about this expo... but I keep the info in my mind biggrin.gif

but why not, one thing is sure, this expo is very interesting !

I have actually more problems with the actual project about expo 67, finally, I have more documents about the AYPE than this one huh.gif

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