BUBBLEATOR, LOST & FOUND, DES PLAINES, WA
The iconic Space Needle is the most famous landmark from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Understandably so, since it was the expo’s centerpiece and crowning touch! To this day, thank goodness, it remains the super star of the Seattle skyline! But, it’s not the fair’s only mid-century modern leftover.
The beloved Bubbleator also survived. During the brief, but meaningful, run of the fair, then all the way until 1984, the world’s only bubble shaped elevator transported peeps for a short, memorable ride up and down one floor.
At some point, shortly thereafter, the Bubbleator wound up in the front yard of a home in suburban Des Plaines, WA, just south of Seattle. When I found out it was still around, I decided it was high time I went on a field trip adventure to find it! The exact address of its whereabouts wasn’t online. Fine with me, I really didn’t want to know. I knew the town it was in, so I decided to just show up and start asking locals, “Where o’ where is the Bubbleator?”
It was a brisk, beautiful Washington morning when I arrived in Des Plaines. That picture perfect combo of big clouds, cool blue sky, and warm sunshine. I was ready to play detective and find this big beautiful bubble. And, btw, without the help of a mobile device, (it’s much more fun to play treasure seeker that way)!
But, there weren’t that many people around to ask. Finally, I happened upon a crew of city workers, half of them half way up a streetlight. BINGO! These guys know where everything is. Sure enough, they knew where it was. Phew! I scribbled down their kinda confusing directions, hopped my lil’ go-cart of a rental car and sped like a thrill-seeker in the direction they pointed me. It was further than I thought and, somewhere along the way, I guess got a bit lost.
Rather than turning all the way around and finding them again for clearer directions, I decided to persevere and let my Bubbleator searching instincts kick in. I ended up driving around for quite a bit longer than I care to admit. I found lotsa front yards, but no Bubbleator. Darn!
Eventually, I stopped a few wandering peeps on the street, but they acted like they thought I was crazy or something, asking for the whereabouts of such a thing. Finally, I decided it would just be easier to go back and find the city workers again than keep looking. No way I was giving up!
Heading back, not more than a block or two, I turned a corner and there it was, just as pretty as you please and even prettier than I expected. What a beauty, what a gem! I was in awe.
Drunk with pleasure and fully in that I’m-SO-glad-I-found-it spell, I marched myself right up to the front door and knocked, politely, but with purpose. Door opens. I state my case. The next thing you know, I’m in.
The Bubbleator has aged well weather-wise and otherwise. If I were a hothouse flower, I would move right in!
We live in a wonderland to discover. There is something interesting around just about every corner, no matter where you go!
This is Americana!
Cheers to the Bubbleator and YOU !!! …