The 1955 photo shows a city in transition. By some measures, the post-World War II economy was still slowing following the expansion of early Spokane, from about 1890 to 1910. Although the city was the economic and industrial center of the region, its proud skyline, with the Paulsen Medical and Dental Building and the Old National Bank building at left, seemed sculpted in another era. Trains still trundled in and out of the area around Spokane Falls, but transportation was changing as the automobile offered new freedom. In just a few years, the idea for a world’s fair to revitalize downtown would take hold and the rails and train depots of old Spokane would be swept away for Expo ’74. Many structures from Expo are still in use, such as the Washington State Pavilion, a gleaming modern theater which would become the INB Performing Arts Center.
– Jesse Tinsley
1955: Railroad tracks lined the shore of the Spokane River in downtown Spokane.
Present day: The INB Performing Arts Center and the Riverfront Park Clocktower stand out in the same view.
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