On October 29, 1973, David Towne, Seattle park superintendent, recommends that the new Seattle Aquarium be built in the central waterfront at Pier 59 instead of piers 60 and 61. The location of the aquarium has been a matter of intense controversy for several years.
Sites considered for the aquarium included Meadow Point north of Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, Fort Lawton in Magnolia, as well as several other piers on the waterfront. The Seattle City Council first approved the Ballard site on April 5, 1971, and then reversed itself on December 17 of that year, approving a citizen initiative prohibiting the Ballard site. Then, on July 3, 1972, the council set the site as piers 60 and 61.
The recommendation for Pier 59 came after Towne concluded that building the aquarium there would be less expensive than removing the dilapidated neighboring piers and building a new one. The recommendation was later approved and the aquarium was built there, with piers 60 and 61 remaining possible sites for future expansion.