The University of Washington Campus

The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific (A-Y-P) Exposition was held in Seattle at the University of Washington campus from June 1 to October 16, 1909. Planning for its extensive landscaped grounds and many buildings began several years before opening day. In October 1906, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Company hired landscape architect John C. Olmsted (1852-1920) of the prestigious Olmsted Brothers firm of Brookline, Massachusetts, to design the grounds. The A-Y-P Exposition Company leased the southern portion of campus where the forest had been cut over once, but where second-growth trees and dense underbrush covered the slope from about 41st Street to the lakeshore.

Olmsted developed a plan that would serve the needs of the fair as well as those of the university after the exposition ended. His plan differed from other world's fair plans in that it relied on the natural scenery, including Mount Rainier, Lake Washington and Lake Union, for focal points around which he laid out the buildings, roads, and paths. By the time of the fair's opening in 1909, gardeners had transformed the forest into a park with avenues, paths, cascading water emptying into the Geyser Basin (now Drumheller Fountain), buildings, and beautiful vistas looking out onto Seattle's distinctive natural surroundings. A hundred years later, elements of the Olmsted design remain as legacies of the exposition.

Visit to learn more about the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.