Thursday, January 5, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 20

Manufacturers building with part of Geyser Basin and fair visitors

As mentioned in an earlier postcard Thursday Geyser Basin, with the Drumheller Fountain or what is now called Frosh Pond, was a focal point of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909. Pathways radiated out from the Basin like the spokes on a wheel leading to the other areas of the Fair grounds. Two of the central buildings were externally mirror images of one another, the Manufacturers building and the Agriculture building, both of a French renaissance design, covering 60,000 square feet of ground each and having numerous displays inside. It must have been visually stunning as the pool between the two buildings is often seen as a reflecting pond in the cards.

As the name suggests the Manufacturers building, curving around the east side of the Basin, contained exhibits showing several different industries such as weaving machines making silk embroideries, the making of knives and scissors as well as burnt leather goods, furniture and carpets. There was also an extensive arts and crafts display. This building was used on the University of Washington campus until 1918 when it was torn down.

The Agriculture building curved around the west side of the Basin and was devoted to displays and exhibits showing the processing of foods and beverages, everything from fruit canning to the sanitary bottling of beer. There was a railroad exhibit demonstrating how the products were sent around the nation. Many of the counties in the state had displays such as the Skagit County dairy industry, Walla Walla onions, Mason County grapes were also featured. Fishing, timber, and mining were highlighted as well. The Agriculture building was not used by the University and was demolished after the fair.

Manufacturers Building

Manufacturers building with part of Geyser Basin

Agriculture building

End of Agriculture building

An interesting side note pertaining to the cards themselves, the top postcard shows the roof of the Manufacturers building as blue while all the other cards shown here have both buildings with red roofs. I have a few other cards with the blue roof on the Manufacturers building but most show it as red. Since there were no color photographs taken in 1909 it is not possible to discern the true color. These cards were originally taken from black and white pictures that were tinted and then mass-produced in color. The colors in the top card are not as vibrant as in the other cards and that may have had something to do with a dye lot or printing batch but the Portland Postcard Company of Portland, Oregon published all the cards.

A view of the Agriculture building at night with the Geyser Basin as a reflecting pond.

Some of the information here is from History Link. For more information see

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