Seattle City Council votes on July 3, 1972, to build the Seattle Aquarium on the downtown waterfront at piers 60 and 61.

  • By Patrick McRoberts
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 2175
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On July 3, 1972, the Seattle City Council votes to site the new Seattle Aquarium at piers 60 and 61 in the central waterfront. The vote is 5-4.

A last ditch attempt by Councilmember Phyllis Lamphere to site the aquarium further north at Pier 72 failed to garner enough votes. The vote for piers 60 and 61 was part of a longstanding controversy over where to locate the aquarium, which had been approved by voters as a part of the Forward Thrust proposals on February 13, 1968. Other sites considered were Meadow Point north of Golden Gardens Park in Ballard and Fort Lawton in Discovery Park.

Much of the controversy had been over the Golden Gardens site, which was supported by Mayor Wes Uhlman and Pacific Science Center Director Dixy Lee Ray (1914-1994), subsequently governor of Washington (1977-1981). Even as the Council voted for the central waterfront, a group called Natural Environment Aquarium Today (NEAT) was circulating a petition calling for the aquarium to be built at Golden Gardens. However, nothing came of the petition. The Parks Department later recommended that the aquarium be built at Pier 59, next door to Piers 60 and 61. The Seattle Aquarium was built at that site, with the other two piers considered a possible site for future expansion.


Sam R. Sperry, "Aquarium to be Built at Piers 60 and 61," The Seattle Times, July 4, 1972, p. A-10.

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