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Thursday, February 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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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

The USSR Pavilion at Expo ’74 was the first time the Soviet Union participated in a World’s Fair inside the United States since World War II. Does anyone know what happened to that enormous bust of Lenin? (Thanks to Benita Papadakis for the photo.)

Lois Stratton : Maybe it went away with all the missing Soviet flags in the circle of flags. We got all the anger from the Soviet pavilion folks who were very unhappy with the souvenir hunters. They angrily called King Cole’s office, and we must have had to replace at least six Soviet flags. Typically King, he told them they should be flattered that their flag was the only one ever taken.

Shady taverns disappear

The Buck and Doe. The Tijuana. The Eldorado, the Surf N Turf. Kaley’s and the Falls View Tavern. And of course, Barbary Coast. These are all taverns with scurrilous reputations that were located in downtown Spokane before the central city was cleaned out in preparation for Expo ’74 (ht Tony Bamonte).

Paul Shields:   Ha ha! … Remember buying beer as a high schooler at the Buck and Doe!!

Margie Montague Gannon: Falls View changed to Judges Chambers and was fun in the ‘70s.

Steve Thom : Wow, I’m old! I remember that part of town. Our favorite was the Skylark. Is it still open?

Mike Reno: Strip joints, bars, payday lenders, pawn shops, liquor stores only happen because citizens allow it or want it. We don’t need a world’s fair to do the right thing. But it sure helped.

Gregg Creighton: What an amazing transformation! For certain, Spokane’s biggest achievement.

Nick Thomas : It’s high time for a new big achievement, IMO.

Building blocks

Lee Stone said he was working as a janitor in Spokane in the YWCA building when it was the Expo ’74 headquarters. He said he often found slides of construction scenes of the Expo site in the trash and, as a curious 18-year-old, he thought they might be worth saving.

Carrie Coyle-Balow: I cannot imagine how ugly Spokane must have been prior to the Expo. Best thing to happen ever!

Margaret Maggie Crabtree: Wonderful! I remember touring the site before they started construction with my 7th grade class.

Environmental theme

Expo ’74 was the first world’s fair with environmentalism as a theme. It was an eye-opener for fairgoers as well as fair organizers, one of whom spoke of the “Sahara Club” during the planning phase, when referring to the Sierra Club.

Kirsten Schierman:  My grandpa Frank Simonson Sr. helped build that! We see it every day and think of him. 

Pete Wilke:  loved this fair and it did wonders for the riverfront!

Ricco DiStefano:  I went almost every day that summer. To this day, I would never even consider littering. The theme really sunk into me as a boy.

Lois Stratton:  Lets not forget that Vicki McNeil, long before she was mayor, organized and almost single-handedly is responsible for the seats in our new Opera House, through an agreement with a very generous business community. Remember, the name of the business responsible for that seat was on it!! Luke Williams must also never be forgotten as he was the hero who got a Democratic governor, Dixie Lee Ray, to sell the Opera House to the city for $1, when his governor friend, Republican Dan Evans, would not. To me, these are the lasting memories of Expo ’74 and we should have them recorded in our history for all time. My biggest fear during this 40th anniversary bash is that someone is bound to be left out of the glory of ’74 reunion!

Robert Christerson:  My dad made the expo cookies.

Keith Goehner:  I was the housing coordinator for the Folklife Festival. North side of river by big steam engine. Best job ever!

Favorite attractions

Sister Paula Turnbull is seen here installing the garbage-eating goat on the grounds of Expo ’74. It’s still there, still inhaling garbage. What was your favorite thing at Expo?

Donald Stanfield Walls:  The smell of the food court in the evening!

Cathy Durkin Tapken:  The German Beer Garden

Les Sample:  you know, I lived on Monroe Street near the bridge, watched it being made and went in the Army March 1973 and never got to go to it while it was running.

Deanna M Bramhall:  My dad did the payroll for the Expo. He enjoyed it!

Jan Muzatko Sanders:  Oh yes I remember the goat. Expo was such fun. We still have an Expo ’74 license plate holder on our car!

Dan Hansen:  That massive locomotive on display north of the river.

Jil Scollard:  Losing my shoe over the falls on the gondola ride. I was six years old and my grandparents laughed.

Vicki Denz:  I was the one-millionth person to enter the Chinese pavilion at Expo ’74. I was 12 and when the lights and alarms went off, I thought I had won the lottery. All I got was a poster. I was 12. And very disappointed!

Ride in the sky

The SkyRide chairlift was a real hit at Expo ’74. Some people have said it was installed after Expo at Schweitzer Mountain Resort - any truth to that?

Schweitzer Mountain Resort:  Truth. It was known as Chair 7.

ChazBetz Bowman:  I remember it well. I had two friends leap off it, into the Spokane River! They thought it was hilarious. Expo security didn’t think so. Kicked them out of the fair for the day.

Tammy Carlson Tokas:  I hated that ride and cried the whole trip. I was only 4.

Dan Nelson:  Met one of my longest, dearest friends riding this. Still brings back fond memories thinking about that ride.

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