24 September 2011


And here's the story of Ivar's chowder from a 2009 article in the Seattle Times:

He has been called the greatest self-promoter in the history of Seattle. And now, more than 24 years after he died at age 79, Ivar Haglund apparently has managed one more fantastic stunt. Underwater billboards that date to around 1954. Anchored to the bottom of Puget Sound with concrete footings. Yes, at the bottom of Puget Sound. At around 55 to 80 feet in depth, depending on the tide, and near the shore. You know, just in case you were in a personal submarine cruising along Elliott Bay, or Edmonds, or Alki Point. There they would be:
"Ivar's Chowder. Worth surfacing for. 75¢ a cup."
Or, "Diver's special. Kids 12 & Under Eat Free* with regular entrée. Includes Jell-O."
There apparently were plans for seven underwater billboards. In the past month, the company has had divers bring up three of the billboards—about 7 by 22 feet and made of stainless steel—using a map found in their founder's immense collection of artifacts stored on the top floor of the chain's headquarters at Pier 54...
"This still could be a hoax. Someone could be doing something," says Bob Donegan, president of Ivar's. "That's why we're being careful on the authentication"...
Seattle historian Paul Dorpat also says he doesn't believe the billboards are hoaxes. If anyone should know about Ivar Haglund, it is Dorpat. He is writing a book about Haglund, and interviewed him a number of times. Dorpat also has been granted access to all of Haglund's archives. "As far as I can tell, it's the real thing," says Dorpat about the papers documenting Ivar's plans for the billboards. It was Dorpat who found the documents. Dorpat remembered a poem that Haglund likely wrote in the mid-1950s that celebrated cross-sound submarine passenger service, with lines that included:
"As we go ping-ping-pinging along, We sing our happy song, Up periscope down down down, We're diving in Puget Sound... "
Ivar, obviously, was a man with vast imagination.

Underwater Americana at its best.

UPDATE: Thanks to Sam for pointing out it was a hoax. Neverthess, primed by Ivar's, I ate chowder the night this was posted.

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