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Pushing the McGinn agenda, in 1962

A better Seattle? A plea for more bike paths, nightlife, and outdoor eating.


It's easy to think Seattle of 1962 was entirely obsessed with the Space Age and the World's Fair. Not so. And here's a reminder that some issues never change.

Today, we talk about more activity on the street, expanding bike paths, outdoor dining, and a transformed waterfront. None of these are new. 

In the early '60s, the Seattle Night Club and Restaurant Industry paid for a column in the Seattle Times, "Seattle Night and Day," by Paul B. Lowney, who tried to bring some life to the scene. (Remember, this was the era when the Times' main Arts & Entertainment columnist was Lou Guzzo! Not exactly Mr. Hip.)

Here's a column item from February 13, 1962, just a couple of month before the opening of the World's Fair:

"With spring, summer and the Fair just around the corner, restaurateurs should give thought to providing more out-of-doors dining facilities along our beautiful shorelines. Some of the better known indoor-outdoor waterfront eateries are Bob's Landing, Ivar's, Cove, Hidden Harbor, and Harold's....And while we're on the subject of what we need, how about more and better bicycle paths? Recently, JFK said that Americans should get more exercise, and that we are a nation of watchers and not participators. Well, bike riding is good exercise and also good for the heart. So, Park Board, please have a good heart and take to bike riding and cycle path building."

Wow. It could almost be a Mike McGinn press release.

Knute Berger is Mossback, Crosscut's chief Northwest native. He also writes the monthly Grey Matters column for Seattle magazine and is a weekly Friday guest on Weekday on KUOW-FM (94.9). His newest book is Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books. In 2011, he was named Writer-in-Residence at the Space Needle and is author of Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. You can e-mail him at mossback@crosscut.com.


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