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Expo '74: The Legacy

Spokane hosted the World’s Fair in 1974, drawing 5.6 million visitors. It was the first environment-themed World’s Fair and was generally considered a resounding success.

Spokane hosted the World’s Fair in 1974, drawing 5.6 million visitors. It was the first environment-themed World’s Fair and was generally considered a resounding success.

Making memories

We asked print and online readers for their Expo ’74 memories and photos, and reprinted a selection here. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

A legacy of renewal

Downtown Spokane has had two great transformations in its history: the Great Fire of 1889 that destroyed the city center, and Expo ’74, which renewed it. Before the World’s Fair, a tangle of railroad tracks and warehouses on and around the current site of Riverfront Park all but hid the river gorge from view. The fair cleared that away, leaving open space that would be built into the 100-acre park with the spectacular falls as its centerpiece.

Loving the high life

For local business people and government officials, Expo ’74 was more than just the activities taking place at the fairgrounds in the city center. “There were lots of black-tie parties,” recalled Norma Lindsay, wife of Expo ’74 Chairman Roderick Lindsay. “The dinners and all those things were fabulous.”

Facebook flashbacks

We asked readers to share their Expo ’74 memories on The Spokesman-Review’s Facebook page. Following are the original Facebook posts (in italics) and their responses. (Edited for clarity and length)

Expo archives: Reader photos

Readers uploaded their photos from Expo 74 here. We’ll also share them with the Spokane Parks Foundation for possible use in a slide show during a gala celebration — and be used in a reader slide show during a special anniversary gala that same weekend.

Fair aimed to entertain

“It has long been a tradition that the best performers on the international and national scenes appear at world fairs. Expo ’74 is no exception,” The Spokesman-Review reported in a special edition on May 5, 1974. It wasn’t an exaggeration – Expo drew top talent in pop, rock, country, jazz and classical music, plus comedians, performing troupes, dancers and athletes.