Around 1954 Ivar Haglund anchored billboards to the bottom of Puget Sound. He said that he thought it would be a good way to advertise his restaurant, Ivar's Chowder, to anyone who happened to be passing by in a submarine. The modern-day Ivar's restaurant chain is now raising the billboards from the sea. Or are they? Some suspect a hoax. From the Seattle Times
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.
Included in that collection are Haglund's LP vinyl collection, his rosé wine collection, illustrations, photos and... apparently the actual naval architectural drawings, permit and location map for the billboards.The operative word is "apparently."
"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."
Of course, if it was a hoax, a prime suspect would be the Ivar's chain itself.
Ivar's is promoting the find of the underwater billboards on its Web site, which includes a 2 ½-minute mini-documentary about finding that first billboard Aug. 21 off Alki Beach.
It's also started running 30-second commercials about the billboards during prime time, budgeting more than $100,000 for television ads through mid-October.
The article goes on to say that Seattle historian Paul Dorpat, who's writing a book about Haglund, thinks the billboards are the real deal. (Thanks, Bob!