From the Archives: Expo ‘74

May 2, 2014 12:00 a.m.  •  9 comments

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Expo ‘74, when Spokane hosted the World’s Fair, drawing 5.6 million visitors. It was the first environment-themed World’s Fair and was generally considered a resounding success. Take a look back at that one glorious summer of exhibitions, concerts, rides, famous faces and international visitors. President Richard Nixon, Gov. Dan Evans and Congressman Tom Foley opened the fair with speeches and 50,000 helium balloons on May 4, 1974.

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Expo grounds under construction.

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President Nixon speaks at the opening ceremonies of Expo ‘74.

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T.J. the Clown, resident merrymaker at Expo‘74, jokes with Kim Perier of Spokane, at the entrance to Canada Island. Joining in the fun are three hostesses representing the Canadian participation in Expo ‘74. From left, Hazel Love of Edmonton, who works for the Alberta Amphitheater, Pat Neil of Nanaimo, who works at the Bristish Columbia Pavilion and Mary Quigley of Calgary who works for the federal participation.

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These Expo ‘74 visitors probably won’t strike it rich panning for gold in the Folklife Festival area near the north bank off the Spokane River. But at least they have the Western tunes of Expo host Utah Phillips, center, of Ogden, to sooth their souls if their pans turn up gold flakes instead of giant nuggets in one of the most popular of the daily Expo attractions.

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Havermal Island and its festive environs are filled with exhibits for fairgoers. This photo shows Spokane Falls Boulevard.

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Sounding off during their recent appearance at Expo ‘74 were members of the colorful American Fork, Utah, Marching Band, on the steps of the Bavarian Garden during a morning river-side performance. Adding to the spirit of the musical spectacle was majorette Jill Whaley.

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A Chinese junk with unfurled red sails, Northwest Orient Airlines’ exhibit at Expo ‘74, is moored in calm waters of the south channel of the Spokane River. Once plying the fishing waters around Hong Kong, the junk also served time as a pleasure craft before its appearane at the world’s fair.

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A continuing popular feature of Expo ‘74 was the A&W Sky Ride, which crossed a good portion of the site. Riders cross over pathways, landscaping and the Spokane River and even a major arterial carrying heavy city traffic.

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Crowd files past exhibits in the U.S. Pavilion at Expo ‘74 after watching the film in the IMAX theater recently. The theater under the the huge canopy, is one of three parts of the pavilion, with examples of how Americans pollute their environment, and explanation of how environmental damage is being combatted compromising the other two parts.

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Expo’s litter-consuming goat.

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The Bitterroot Valley Band from Hamilton, Montana.

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A relaxing evening of entertainment by the Washington State Pavilion.

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Hellgate High School Band from Missoula playing in the Amphitheater.

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Totem poles depict Canadian folklore.

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The bright lights of the world’s fair create a riot of color in the heart of Spokane against a backdrop of nighttime sky. This view, looking northeast, focuses on Havermale Island, with the shimmering canopy of the United States Pavilion rising like the glowing cone of a live volcano from the center of the 100-acre fairgrounds.

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Spokane’s sparkling world’s fair, was a special nighttime attraction for the six months. The fairgrounds are shown while the water ran high in the Spokane River bed.

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Enthusiastic Folklife visitors join a Scandinavian dance group around the festooned pole which is a tradition of Midsommerfest.

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Iran Pavilion at Expo prepares to honor Iran’s Ambassador. From left, Mrs. Faribandeh, Deputy Commissioner General K. Sheikh and Miss Fereshteh Malekzadeh.

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There was always a long line for the show at the Soviet Pavilion.

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Kept as a landmark in the downtown park will be the Theme Stream which restates the origin of Havermale as an island, not a peninsula. Basalt rocks keep indigenous flavor in the stream bed.

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The fan-shaped showplace of the Republic of China.

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The exterior of Korea’s Pavilion.

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The Spokanes were a featured tribe recently at Expo’s Native American Earth, and Tribal members staged a mock wedding in the tribal tradition. The medicine man was Gibson Ely, left rear. The bride, center was Carol Sterns and the groom, right, was Mike Sayler. Several children took part in the ceremony that drew capacity crowds both times it was presented.

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The many flowerbeds at Expo add splashes of color and beauty in every part of the grounds. Colors of the flowers are coordinated with the butterflies and directional guideposts to helpvisitors find their way around the fairgrounds. These yellow marigolds greet visitors at the nearby U.S. Pavilion and riders on the overhead Sky Float.

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Expo grounds are seen from the 8th floor of the future Sheraton Spokane.

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The flags in the photo include Republic of China (Taiwan), Canada, Washington State, Republic of South Korea, Montana, Republic of Philippines, Alberta, Federal Republic of Germany and Expo flags.

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Folk dancing.

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Ferris wheel.

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People wait for the bus at the entrance of Expo.

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Kids climb the bone sculpture at Expo.

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Log rolling.

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Children play in a designated play area at Expo.

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And the site also offers tranquil perspectives—the Great Northern Tower and the Mormon Pavilion. July 19, 1974.

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The Austrailian Pavilion’s special orchid display is in its final day today at the Expo ‘74 site. The flowers have been flown in to Spokane each day to keep the show fresh during the past several weeks. Shown admiring the blooms is Noel J. Flanagan, deputy commissioner general for Australia participation in Expo.

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Mr. and Mrs. King Cole stand in front of flags at Expo ‘74.

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Another of the many delights for Riverfront Park visitors will be this pedestrian bridge connecting Canada Island to the south bank of the Spokane River. During Expo ‘74, the footbridges on site gave fair visitors an unprecedented chance to look down on the water cascading over the rocks.

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Mrs. Elsa Bryan points out flags on Primitive Art piece to Jack Geraghty, Expo official. Aug. 4, 1974.

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Riders on the Sky Float enjoy a panoramic vista of the site. July 19, 1974.

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A roller coaster at Expo ‘74.

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As Expo workers frantically finish last-minute details prior to the Saturday opening, a preview shows towering totems adorning a section of the U.S. Pavilion. Apr. 30, 1974.

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The clocktower at night with the U.S. Pavilion in the background.

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