Chief Seattle Thelma Dewitty Thomas Foley Carrie Chapman Catt Anna Louise Strong Mark Tobey Helene Madison Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Seattle designates the 1962 Monorail as an historic landmark on April 16, 2003. Essay 4159 : Printer-Friendly Format

On April 16, 2003, the Monorail, the popular elevated train built for the 1962 World’s Fair, is designated as an official Historic Landmark by a unanimous vote of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.

Seattle architects and historic preservationists Susan Boyle and Andy Phillips filed the landmark designation request in October 2002. Six months later, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board unanimously voted to make the entire monorail system a landmark -- including the tracks and supporting concrete columns that run along 5th Avenue between Seattle Center and Westlake Center.

Having the columns as well as the trains and tracks designated as historic upset the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority, which had hoped to replace the columns as part of a proposed new 14-mile “Green Line” monorail. Green Line attorney Roger Pearce noted that new monorail trains could not travel on the old tracks, and argued that there was nothing special about the old columns. Likewise, Seattle Center officials, as well as the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority, hoped to preserve the trains, but not the columns or tracks. Boyle and Phillips countered that the columns reflected a “brutalist, no-frills style of architecture in the 1960s that ought to be remembered” (Seattle P-I, April 17, 2003).

But the landmark designation was subject to approval by the Seattle City Council. On August 4, 2003, the Council rejected the proposal to have the tracks and columns designated as landmarks, and voted 7-2 to preserve only the “red” and “blue” Alweg trains.

In 2005, following cost overruns and revenue shortfalls, Seattle voters killed the proposed new Seattle monorail project, and today (2009) the original monorail rolls on.

Mike Lindblom, “Coveted Landmark Status Puts Monorail Authority in a Bind,” The Seattle Times, April 17, 2003, (; “Old Monorail Beams Can Go,” Ibid., August 5, 2003, p. B-1;  Kerry Murakami, “Old Monorail is Declared Historic, Ugly Columns and All,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 17, 2003, (;  Kery Murakami and Jane Hadley, “Monorail to Ride into the Sunset,” Ibid., August 5, 2003, p. A-1; Historic Preservation Program, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle website (
Note: This essay was revised on March 13, 2009.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Landmarks | Buildings | Roads & Rails |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
The Seattle Monorail Project

Monorail and Space Needle, Seattle, 1962

Westin Hotel, north and south tower (John Graham Associates, 1969, 1982), with monorail, Seattle, September 2001 Photo by Priscilla Long

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email