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A Memorable Enterprise: The AYPE and the City of Seattle


Map of AYPE grounds
Map of AYPE grounds

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, held in Seattle from June 1 to October 16, followed on the heels of the 1906 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon. Initial inspiration for the fair came from a group of Alaska's gold rush pioneers in 1905. In 1906, Seattle businessmen altered the original plan, postponed the 1907 date (so as not to conflict with the Jamestown, Virginia tricentennial celebration) until 1909, and sought financial support for an enlarged scope. The AYPE followed a tradition established in 1876 when Philadelphia held a Centennial Exposition. It was an opportunity for Seattleites to display pride in their heritage and their patriotism.

Although funding was provided at the state level, much of the financial burden for the Exposition fell to the City of Seattle. Many city departments worked tirelessly before the AYPE to secure funding or put personnel in place to ensure the fair's success. These departments expressed their concerns, ideas, and requests to City Council and the Mayor through various communications and reports.

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