Category Archives: Roadside Attractions

Folk Art in West Seattle

Dear husband and I were recently in West Seattle and I took the chance to check out some folk art, roadside attractions. The first stop was at 5274 44th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA and that home had some wonderful tree carvings in the front. Dear husband especially enjoyed the fairy hanging out on the chimney. The roadside attraction info can be found here. This is a private residence, but the art can readily be seen from the street.

The second stop was the nearby Walker Rock Garden at 5407 37th SW, Seattle, WA. I remember going to see this rock garden more than 20 years ago when it was open one Mother’s Day. I was so impressed. Here are some older photos from when I begged a peek. The amazing rockery was created by Milton and Florence Walker and the property has since sold. I’m not sure of any future plans, but it would be so wonderful if it was again opened up to the public on special occasions. The roadside attraction information can be found here and there is an Atlas Obscura entry, with some good photos, that can be found here. This is a private residence and not open to the public.

 

 

Concrete Fantasia, Spanaway

I really admire those folks with passion and commitment to their art. This roadside attraction at 18212-18414 22nd Avenue, Tacoma (Spanaway) is an example of such personal drive. It is on a private residence with good visibility from the street. The property fronts on both 22nd Avenue (the rose) and 183rd Street Court East and my Roadside America App tells me the work is called Concrete Fantasia.

Giant Pencil in Centralia

I’m always on the lookout for quirky and today I found a Giant Pencil at 1020 West 1st Street in Centralia, Washington.

Per http://markhitstheroad.com/us/wa/centralia-giant-pencil.html “Steve Freeman created a sculpture of a 24-foot-tall pencil and installed it in front of this Centralia home which houses the Freeman Learning Center, his tutoring business.”

The Bubbleator from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

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To go to the World of Tomorrow at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, you would take the Bubbleator. It was a Plexiglas covered elevator that provided the riders (up to 100!) experience what it would be like in a bubble because of the way the light was refracted. The Bubbleator had originally been installed for the fair which the KeyArena Building is now, and it was later moved to the Seattle Center (Armory) and then taken out of that building by 1984.  Wikipedia says “While boarding the Bubbleator, passengers were commanded by an ethereal female voice to “Please move to the rear of the sphere”, or the “Martian type” male elevator operator would say, “Step to the rear of the Sphere” in a creepy sci-fi type voice. The soundtrack for the Bubbleator was conducted by Attilio Mineo and released as Man in Space with Sounds.[2]

The top part of the Bubbleator was purchased on bid and is now at a private residence in Des Moines. Dear husband and I stopped by to see it and snap some photos, but of course left the owners to their privacy. It’s not easy to impress dear husband, but he really liked this one! (and he also liked the Hobbit Hole from the day before.) It had been a greenhouse, but appeared to be empty when we went by though I hear that it might be a recording studio. There are some photos of it here and here. To see it in action see this news report. And there is a heartwarming story here.

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