Illustration by Leo Zarosinski.

Illustration by Leo Zarosinski.

On March 16, 2009,the day before the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its final

On March 16, 2009,the day before the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its final edition, New York Times reporter Dan Barry put it just right: “For some, the Globe is the finest landmark in Seattle, surpassing even the Space Needle,” he wrote. “When aglow at night, it seems to float upon the cityscape, the continents highlighted in green against the dark blue, the motto—‘It’s in the P-I’—rotating in red letters five and eight feet high. A continuance is conveyed.”

When the mighty Hearst Corporation pulled the plug on the print edition of the 146-year-old paper and vacated its headquarters, no one knew what would become of the Globe, this 30-foot, 18.5-ton neon-lit marvel, forged from iron in 1948 at a cost of $25,932. Many wondered: Would there be a continuance for the city’s beloved beacon, topped by a majestic eagle, wings raised as if to take flight? Others worriedly theorized that Hearst might simply untether the Globe from its watchful perch overlooking Elliott Bay, crack apart its north and southern hemispheres, and cart the iconic monstrosity away in two massive pieces.

Happily, though, on March 7, 2012, the Globe was saved in a deal between Hearst and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). Under the agreement, Hearst would continue ownership, but relinquish to MOHAI full control and rights to the Globe only after it was dislodged and set down in a new location—something the owners of the building at 101 Elliott Avenue, where the revolving rooftop spectacle has resided since 1986, have long insisted upon, and still do.

That same March afternoon, City Council members Jean Godden, Tim Burgess, and Sally Clark—all former journalists—gleefully announced that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Board planned to designate the Globe an official landmark the following month. Since then, April 2012, a long and plodding search by MOHAI and Hearst’s representatives has ensued to find the relic a new, permanent home.

There was talk, initially, that it be placed at the old Sand Point Naval Base hangar at Magnuson Park, or perhaps returned to its former place of glory at Sixth Avenue and Wall Street, site of the P-I building of yesteryear where the Globe was hoisted amid great fanfare on Nov. 9, 1948. Later other suggestions surfaced, such as displaying it inside the grand MOHAI building at South Lake Union, home to other famous signage, including the original Rainier Beer “R.” But the exhibit hall was not big enough.

Some of my old P-I cronies have joked that the Globe be barged out into Elliott Bay and ceremoniously sunk, a fitting metaphor for the steep decline of print journalism.

Still more ideas were batted about: the Olympic Sculpture Park; the southwest corner of South Lake Union Park; along the central downtown waterfront as part of the transformation project; or, in a more utilitarian vein, as a bright guiding (and spinning) light on a new Colman Dock ferry terminal. Crosscut writer Knute Berger reported in 2012 that the idea, however flippant, arose that the Globe be situated at the Highway 99 tunnel’s north portal. Also, Berger noted, “one wag at City Hall suggested that the Globe could be put to use as a pontoon on the new 520 bridge.”

Now, finally, three years after the Globe-saving deal, Seattle Weekly has learned that a strong consensus is emerging for the Globe to be relocated, restored, and resurrected in Myrtle Edwards Park.

MOHAI’s executive director Leonard Garfield, Councilmember Sally Clark, and Landmark Preservation Board Coordinator Erin Doherty have all confirmed that the 8.5-acre green space on the Elliott Bay shoreline may well inherit the Globe.

“We still have a ways to go, but yes, I feel like that’s the direction it is moving in,” Clark tells the Weekly.

Doherty said Hearst’s representative, Seattle land-use attorney Jack McCullough, briefed the Landmark board January 21 on the possibility of moving the Globe to the city-owned park named in honor of Myrtle Edwards, a City Council member in the 1960s and an ardent advocate of adding more parkland in Seattle.

Councilmember Clark says the likely location at Myrtle Edwards is just north of the Thomas Street pedestrian overpass, on the water side of the bike and jogging path that runs through the center of the park. A number of bureaucratic obstacles need to be cleared, adds Clark, one of them being that since the Globe would be within 100 feet of Elliott Bay, MOHAI and Hearst will need to secure a shoreline permit from the city. It is not clear how long that might take.

Garfield says a Myrtle Edwards site would meet MOHAI’s criteria for prospective locations: that it remain in the public landscape, be publicly accessible, and easy to view from many areas.

If all goes well, Hearst has committed to covering the cost of transporting the Globe to the park, while MOHAI will pick up the tab to have it fully restored—an estimated $200,000 to $300,000 (most of which would be generated by community fundraising activities)—and placed on a pedestal, its height yet to be determined.

“It will be illuminated and it will rotate again, and it will still say, ‘It’s in the P-I,’ ” says Garfield, who concedes that a lot of newcomers might wonder what in the world “P-I” stands for.

“The Globe is such a cool symbol,” elaborated Garfield in an interview last week at his MOHAI digs. “It almost has a Superman motif, a postwar symbol that Seattle was becoming a world city.”

A week before the presses went silent on that fateful March six years ago, the Post-Intelligencer offered its employees a “Last Visit to the Globe,”a trip to the roof to gaze upon the giant neon planet. Many staffers came, circled it, posed for pictures, and shed tears. For these P-I loyalists, the Globe was far more than a pleasant glowing orb in the night sky—it was a powerful presence that announced that their profession was noble, sacred, important.

The P-I Globe filled the front page on that final paper of March 17, 2009. Below the fold, the headline read: “You’ve meant the world to us.”

Ellis E. Conklin worked at the Post-Intelligencer through the ’90s.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

More in News & Comment

Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Washington health officials discuss response to new COVID variant

Things will be handled with Omicron variant similar to the Delta variant.

File photo
As new COVID-19 variant looms, vaccination disparities linger in King County

County data shows gaps among age, geography and race.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn
King County Councilmember Dunn will challenge Rep. Kim Schrier for U.S. Congress seat

The current County Councilmember would be following in his late mother’s footsteps

Garbage at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. FILE PHOTO
King County and Port of Seattle to collaborate on waste-to-fuel study

The study is aimed at identifying logistics of developing aviation fuel out of municipal garbage.

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

A Snoqualmie Officer was involved in a shooting Tuesday night, Nov. 16. Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department.
Man killed by Snoqualmie Police was homeless, living in car

The 33-year-old man who was killed by a Snoqualmie police officer late… Continue reading

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”