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.
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.“
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.
In the early 1920s, during the presidency of Harding, our country was subject to the Teapot Dome Scandal, which revolved around oil reserves that were leased without competitive bid. There were two oil fields involved, the Teapot Dome fields in Wyoming and the Elk Hills field in California. The leases were investigated by the Senate and criminal charges were filed. Fines were paid, jail time served and the phrase Teapot Dome became synonymous with political corruption.
Well, in 1922, in the middle of the scandal, Jack Ainsworth, constructed his Teapot Dome Gas Station as a nod to the scandal. It is considered a roadside attraction and is open for visiting on the weekend for limited hours. Originally it was situated on Highway 410 between Zillah and Granger; however in 1978 it was scheduled to be moved to make way for Highway 82. Five days before it was to be moved, a car plowed into this tiny structure. The building, which is now on the historic register, was reconstructed by hand and moved to its current location at 14691 Yakima Valley Highway. It has its own parking lot, a public restroom building and is next to a memorial for fallen firefighters.
I got there about five minutes before it closed (I didn’t even think it might be open!) and got the tour (about 2 minutes). The volunteers were delightful. I read that there is a movement to relocate the building once again to downtown Zillah and to have it function as a visitor’s center. I was glad to have a chance to see the quirky building, though the light made it difficult to capture the image.