Seattle’s floating baseball field and other stadiums that never made it

March 5, 2011

This proposed baseball and football stadium would have floated on Elliott Bay in Seattle. Fly balls would have been a great adventure for outfielders who would have played there. (From the Seattle Municipal Archives)

Thanks to Greg Ponder — my wife’s brother-in-law, my Spring Training ticket supplier and one of the biggest baseball fans I know — for sending me this Slate.com slideshow of sports stadiums that never got built. The featured designs are testaments to the issues involved with getting stadiums from the conceptual phase to construction, from securing funding and public buy-in to making unusual ideas work.

My absolute favorite design is the floating, retractable-roof stadium that was proposed for Seattle in the early 1960s to attract pro baseball and football teams to the city. According to the Seattle Municipal Archives, the stadium would have floated on Elliott Bay, blocks from the site of the 1962 World’s Fair — “if a way could be found to keep the playing field level.” For some strange reason, a funding referendum got shot down in 1966, partly over “questions about the project’s feasibility.”
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