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Expo ’74 forever changed Spokane’s landscape

October 1972: The Great Northern train depotwas razed during preparations for Expo '74, but its tower was left standing.
October 1972: The Great Northern train depotwas razed during preparations for Expo '74, but its tower was left standing.

As preparations for the Expo ’74 World’s Fair shifted into high gear, this area facing Trent Avenue (now Spokane Falls Boulevard) was ready for the wrecking ball in 1972. The Great Northern train depot, which surrounded the iconic Clocktower, was still standing, as was Union Station (at right in the top photo). The Clocktower and depot were built in 1902. The depot was the most modern building in Spokane at the time, boasting nearly 100 electric lights. To create Expo ’74, the area would transition from a busy railroad yard – an emblem of Spokane’s history as a railroad link to the west – to the glitzy stage of a world’s fair with an emphasis on environmentalism, and, eventually, a peaceful urban park.

Jesse Tinsley

On the Web: Compare historic and present-day photography of Spokane in special galleries at spokesman.com/then-and-now.



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