Image: Seattle Municipal Archives
As you are well aware, the Seattle Seahawks will not be playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday. We've provided you with some helpful ideas on what to do with yourself during a Seahawks-less Super Bowl, but we know it's hard to get football off the brain right now. So, let's lean into that with a fun history lesson in what could have been. The Seahawks spent many years playing in the Kingdome and, after a brief stayover in Husky Stadium, have called CenturyLink Field home since 2002. But did you know for a brief time there was a plan to create a floating domed stadium on Elliott Bay? The Stadium District would be a whole lot different today if that had happened.
Like so many big ideas in Seattle, this one came from the early 60's around the time of the World's Fair. As the city yearned for professional baseball and football franchises, it was determined that if it were going to happen, Seattle needed a new stadium.
Construction magnate Howard S. Wright Jr. as well as architect, engineer, and construction firms proposed a domed stadium that would float in Elliott Bay on pontoons at the end of West Harrison Street. At the cost of about $22.4 million, it would hold 50,000 for baseball games and 65-70,000 for football games. The recently-built monorail would extend from Century 21 Center (Seattle Center) to the stadium, making it easy for fans to commute from downtown. Organizations like the The Seattle Chamber of Commerce and King County commissioners got behind the idea and the quest to raise enough money began.
And that's where the whole plan ended as well. Voters didn't support a $15 million bond proposal, the Seattle City Planning Commission issued a report advising against the project, and Wright's group couldn't find a way to make space for the necessary 7,000 parking spaces nearby. With all of that, the floating stadium deal was dead.
In 1969 when the Seattle Pilots became the city's first Major League Baseball franchise, Seattle voters did approve a stadium bond. However that was for the Kingdome, completed in 1972 in SoDo. The rest, as they say, is Seattle stadium history.
· 12 Things To Do on Seahawks-Less Super Bowl Sunday [CS]
· The Floater That Didn't Fly [SPNW]
· If You Don't Build It [Slate]