SEATTLE – The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 2009 list of endangered historic properties, and high on the list is a gigantic turquoise ball with an eagle on top.
The Post-Intelligencer globe, a wonder of mid-20th century steel and neon lights, is among 13 properties and structures in the state that the trust hopes can be preserved.
Others on the list released Tuesday include the old Ellensburg Hospital, St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Shelton, Seattle’s Sand Point Naval Air Station and Day Block in Dayton.
The Seattle P-I halted its printed edition in March after nearly 146 years, but continues publishing on the Internet. P-I officials have said that for at least the immediate future, the 30-foot-diameter globe will keep spinning above the P-I’s Seattle waterfront offices.
The trust said Tuesday that “while no plans indicating the globe’s removal have been publicized, office space within the P-I building is for lease and maintenance needs for the structure could play a role in coming years.”
The decorative globe weighs 18.5 tons. Since 1948, it has broadcast its rotating motto in red neon against the Seattle skyline, informing the city: “It’s in the P-I.”
“It’s one of those landmarks that really has shaped Seattle’s identity,” said Leonard Garfield, executive director of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.
If Hearst abandons the globe, Garfield said the museum “stands ready to help the P-I and Hearst Corp. preserve the globe should that be necessary.”
Seattle City Council members have nominated the globe for city landmark status.
“We intend to work hard to make sure the Globe has a proper home in Seattle,” Councilman Tim Burgess said.
Some had speculated that the globe could move down the street to the Olympic Sculpture Park, perhaps to accompany another relic of print newspapers – the 19.4-foot typewriter eraser.
But Michael Darling, curator of modern and contemporary art for the Seattle Art Museum, told the Associated Press in March that as much as he admires the globe for its historical cultural significance, it wouldn’t fit in.
The globe was built by Pacific Car and Foundry and Electrical Products Consolidated for $26,000, the eventual outcome of a design contest.
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