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Expo ‘74

Forty years ago, the World’s Fair came to town and changed the face of Spokane

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.

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) USSR Pavilion

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.

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.”

Making memories

We asked print and online readers for their Expo ’74 memories and photos, and reprint a selection here. View the photos at www.spokesman.com/ reader-photos/expo-74. Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Mark Conlin, Spokane: My wife Kathy and I have one of the largest souvenirs from Expo ’74. After the Worlds Fair, we purchased the Expo ’74 post office building at an auction the following spring.  They were removing the buildings to make way for the park.  We disassembled the building and transported it to Lake Pend Oreille and made it into a lake cabin.  We built an addition to the cabin along with several improvements over the years.  Five generations of our family have enjoyed the lake at the Expo ’74 post office building.