Thursday, November 17, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 13

Birds-eye View of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 covered a large section of what is today the University of Washington upper and parts of the lower campus. This postcard is a pictorial map of the fairgrounds with a ledger. It is titled “Bird’s-eye View of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition.” Some aerial photographs were taken from hot air balloons and this may be one such although there is no notation on the card itself explaining how the picture was taken.

The Cascades

Something I would have liked to see was this cascading waterfall that started in front of the United States Government building shown in the center of the picture and flowed down toward what was called the Geyser Basin and is now known as Frosh Pond. The cascading waterfall and the pond were the central focus points for the fair and feature in many of the postcards. The paths to the other exhibitions radiated out from the pond like spokes on a wheel. If you look at the map postcard you can get an idea of the overall plan for the pathways and buildings.

The Arctic Circle Cascade Court with Geyser Basin (now Frosh Pond)

As an interesting side note, the pond is actually two pools the one that we can see in the picture and an outer pool hidden under the walkway. The inner pool once provided water for the Harris Hydraulics Laboratory while the outer ring was the water supply for the University’s power plant. The Hydraulics Lab is located next to the current Health Sciences and University Hospital & Medical Center complex today and the pond water could be drained into the lake. In fact the pond is drained periodically for cleaning. Large numbers of ducks and geese have been known to frequent the pond and surrounding areas so, as you can imagine, it needs cleaning from time to time. Strange and not so strange items have been found during the cleaning--everything from goose and duck poop to beer cans, coins, shoes and other odds and ends.

There are huge valves in the Hydraulics Lab than open the pipes from under the pond through which the water drains from the pond under the campus to the lake. Much like a bathtub drain! In the center of the pond is a newer fountain, known as the Drumheller Fountain, built in 1961, which is turned on now and then but not left on all the time. It uses re-circulated water from the pond. In the map postcard at the top the older fountain or geyser can be seen as a tall triangular shape in the center of the picture. Geyser Basin got the name of Frosh Pond in the 1920s when several freshmen students were tossed into the pool. The name stuck and the pond is still called Frosh Pond today.

For more information please see these sites: [Video of the annual cleaning of Drumheller fountain – Frosh Pond.]

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