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When the World Came to Campus, 1909

Legacy of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition

Whenever you come onto the campus of the University of Washington, you are surrounded by the legacy of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. From the statue of George Washington, now placed almost where it stood for the AYP, to Drumheller Fountain, to the view down Rainier Vista, the AYP has left a lasting impact. Indeed, both in the use of buildings from the Exposition and in the enduring and beautiful landscaping of the campus, the U.W. benefitted greatly from the Fair.

The closing of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition was an emotional day for Seattleites. The Exposition ended as a financial success with a surplus of $62,676. As the Seattle Post Intelligencer noted, after he gave the closing speech, Exposition president John E. Chilberg

"…threw a switch and in a twinkling the fairy city was wiped from the map of Seattle. An instant after the president had pressed an electronic button, a bomb [fireworks] burst high above the multitude. In the darkness absolute quiet reigned, save for the soft whisper of the wind in the giant firs.…Silvery clear, intensifying the solemn loneliness of the night, a bugle sounded taps. Sadly and sweetly the crystal notes swelled and diminished. Quiet fell. The crowd sat immovable. The band began to play Auld Lang Syne and the 20,000 people became a great chorus as they took up the words. This strongly moving scene dissolved at the end of the song when a wild straggling cheer, full of good will, pride of achievement, and congratulation, marked the end."

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